Christ Presbyterian Academy
Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts Students Visit New York City

On February 15-19, 2024, music, theater, and visual arts students traveled to New York City. This engaging, hands-on learning experience featured various opportunities for students to "engage and influence culture through authentic creativity, artistic excellence, and relationship with Christ" in the dynamic City. When curating the trip itinerary, Artistic Director Jake Speck shared, "It was important to us [faculty planning trip] for students to have time together as well as genre-specific experiences." Through these shared and individual experiences, students became more well-rounded, self-assured, and knowledgeable learners. 

After arriving in the Big Apple, students made their way to the pinnacle of the American theater industry—Broadway. That night, students saw the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Kimberly Akimbo. On Saturday, theater and music students had the opportunity to perform and learn from one of the show's lead stars, Alli Mauzey. Students received individualized, one-on-one instruction from Mauzey during the masterclass after performing a musical theater piece. Speck noted it was a "surreal experience for students spending time with Mauzey after watching her perform on a world-class stage." 

At the end of the class, Mauzey hosted a Q&A for students, answering questions about faith and life in the industry. She encouraged aspiring actors and actresses to "examine the message the performances you're a part of are sending" and how, although it may seem cliche, "actions truly speak louder than words" when sharing the Good News with those around you. 

On the morning of their first full day, the group visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Through its exhibits and artifacts, the museum offered an opportunity for students to foster reflection, empathy, and a deeper understanding of its impact on America and the world. Artistic Coordinator Emily Speck noted, “Many students said it was the most impactful, moving experience they had the entire trip.” 

Music students visited Carnegie Hall on Friday afternoon for an in-depth, guided tour. Instructor of Arts Max Fulwider shared, "One of our favorite parts of the Carnegie Hall tour was the tour guide, Dan. He knew so many of the performers personally and shared stories about them." Students enjoyed learning about the space's rich history, stunning acoustics, and world-famous performers. Meanwhile, theater students visited the Museum of Broadway, taking in the views of original costumes and stories about the creation of musicals in the City. 

For dinner, the group visited Ellen's Stardust Diner, and then music students were off to see Jazz at Lincoln Center while theater and visual art students watched a Broadway Play titled Doubt. At Lincoln Center, Dianne Reeves and her band performed a show called Lovestruck, which spoke to the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself. While not an outwardly Christian piece, students gleaned Christ-centered messages from Reeve's extraordinary arrangements. 

After seeing the Broadway play Doubt, students attended a talk-back, a half-hour debrief session with thea teaching artist from the company that produced the show they just attended. Students articulated and expressed their opinions and questions surrounding the show, honing their critical thinking, comprehension, and public speaking skills with a world-class professional. 

Throughout the trip, visual art students visited The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum, among others. Upper School Arts Instructor Mimi Stricker shared that viewing world-renowned art pieces in a larger magnitude than ever before transformed the student perspective. "It was an invaluable opportunity for students to grasp these famous artists' innovative and progressive nature." Stricker noted that for visual Arts students, "the energy of the city ignited a new creativity of the mind." 

Exploring both the sights and flavors of New York added an exciting dimension to their adventure. Students tried out New York-style pizza at John's Pizzeria and stepped back in time at 54 Below, where they enjoyed drinks and desserts while listening to live musical theater performers. Students also visited well-known sights like the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Times Square, and more. Other activities included exploring a The Drama Bookshop, Soho, Chelsea Market, Backstage Tour of the Metropolitan Opera, and another Broadway Musical titled The Notebook. 

While in the City, students cultivated friendships, forging new connections and strengthening existing bonds. Whether sharing laughter on the subway, engaging in conversations over dinner, or cherishing the small moments in between, the trip was an invaluable catalyst for fostering deeper relationships and a sense of community for students.

For more information about Arts at the Academy, visit