FRCS Arts Program
It’s not unusual to hear voices harmonizing in the hallway between classes, ukulele music coming from a classroom after school, students practicing musical dance moves from the in the gym, and occasionally a breakout of guitar in the cafeteria if the moment is right. In addition, student musicians and vocalists participate weekly in the Chapel services.
Lights! Music! Action! Every year the Drama Department at Front Royal Christian School presents a musical that results in annual standing ovations and celebrations of student talents. More often than not students who are least likely to speak out in class find their voice on the FRCS stage.
The art department is blessed to have Mrs. Tamara Coffman, professional artist, as its lead teacher.
With more than 25 years professional experience, including owning her own pottery workshop where she taught classes in painting, Coffman works with students from preschool through the high school in various mediums.
High school student curricula include an art history course that coincides with Coffman’s participatory art course.
Coffman also utilizes her creative gifts to direct the annual FRCS musical.
Mr. Johnny Lamirande supports the art department as a professional illustrator. Students deemed to have a gift in illustration are giving the opportunity to work directly with Lamirande in a one-on-one mentoring environment.
Art students are given the opportunity to display their work at an annual coffeehouse/art show as well as throughout the school and at special FRCS events.
Elementary students have music weekly under the direction of Mrs. Carly Hotek who holds two degrees, one in Piano Performance and one in Music Education with a minor in Business, from Florida Gulf Coast University. She performs regularly in her church’s praise band and assists the drama team with vocals for the annual musicals and school programs.
Elementary students learn beginning music theory, voice, rhythm, and presentation skills. Third grade begins instrumental performance with learning to play the recorder.
Hotek oversees the elementary and middle school choirs as well, which are included in the FRCS music program and a part of the student’s weekly schedule. In addition, she offers private lessons in piano.
Middle and High School students are also afforded the opportunity to learn a myriad of other instruments and come together to participate in a school band under the leadership of Mr. John Lamirande, who retired from the U.S. Army after 31 years. During his enlistment, he served as an audio engineer for the U.S. Army Field Band and was a performing member of the world renowned Six String Soldiers. He also graduated from the Little Creek Naval School of Music in 1987.
Lamirande works with the individual student’s interests to identify the instrument best suited for the student and then begins training and teaching the student how to play. He oversees a band of more than 12 ukeleles that performs at various school programs and events.
Lamirande also uses his gifts to work with students through a therapeutic music program that he is developing, addressing physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of vulnerable learners.
This includes creating, singing, moving, and/or listening to music. Music can provide avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.
Chapel Band allows students interested in vocal and/or instrument to grow their experience on stage performing for the weekly Chapel services. Currently students sing, play keyboards, bass, and drums. The band is always looking for new participants!
Students showcase their musical talents by performing throughout the year at special events and school concerts.
Middle school students are introduced to the art of photography through the instruction of professional photographer, Deanna Sackett.
They learn the details about cameras, history of photography, and what makes a great picture while at the same time awakening the creativity that some students have for the art of taking photos.
Students’ work may be used in FRCS materials, highlighted in the hallways, and showcased at the annual Coffeehouse/Art Show and other FRCS events.
Mrs. Sackett also offers a dark room course for the more curious student of photography. She also serves as the official school photographer.
Her gifted talents in photography and videography can be seen on the school’s website, social media outlets, and throughout the school.
Illustrator and Published Author
Lamirande is a published author and illustrator of children’s books. His talent can be found in My Nephew Is an Alien, The Lost Island, and his latest book, Once Upon a Bedtime. Lamirande explains his work in one word, “busy.” He goes on to explain, “I love to pack my illustrations with detail and I try to ensure there is always something new to discover in them.”
Lamirande typically works with ink and colored pencil, but occasionally delves into using acrylic paint. Some of the artists who have inspired his work include Polish painter Jacek Yerka and Japanese author and illustrator Eiichiro Oda.
Lamirande works with several students onsite who have been recognized as gifted in illustration. The advanced illustration course provides students with one-on-one training and mentoring from a published illustrator!
Students are excited to have Lamirande as a secondary science instructor. He uses his artistic talents to daily support his lectures with illustrations of systems and processes that support the focus of the lesson. Imagine learning about the pulmonary system while having an artist depict the flow of blood through the heart while illustrating each detail of the process and explaining it at the same time!
Front Royal Christian School is honored to have on staff retired Army Master Sgt. John Lamirande, and previous member of the U. S. Army Field Band’s Six String Solders. After 31 years with the U.S. Army, where he served as an audio engineer for the U.S. Army Field Band, Lamirande has joined FRCS to mentor young musicians from preschool to high school.
Lamirande, who plays the electric bass, guitar, piano, and drums, joined the Army as a musician in 1986, following his high school graduation. The following year he graduated from the Little Creek Naval School of Music.
Through his involvement with Six String Soldiers, Lamirande and the band had songs performed on Facebook and YouTube with more than 8.5 million hits. The four-member group specialized in Americana, folk, bluegrass, and Irish music. Dan Fogerty invited the group to open for him at one of his shows in Las Vegas. They also performed on Good Morning America.
For Lamirande, his music is about sharing his talents to make people happy. One day Lamirande stopped by a music store to pick up some equipment for a student musician and was playing a ukulele while waiting. A young girl with Down syndrome started singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with him. “It was a very emotional moment for all of us.”
This gift continues to give at FRCS not just with teaching music to classes but with developing a therapeutic music program here to work with students with learning challenges, Downs, Cerebral Palsy, and other vulnerabilities. FRCS is blessed to have Lamirande sharing his talents with FRCS. He is definitely fulfilling his goal of making people happy.