Performing Arts

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Welcome to the Ballard Performing Arts Overview  

5 photos of band, marching band, orchestra and choir

The Ballard Performing Art (BPA) Music and Theatre Department is lauded throughout the Northwest and beyond for its high level of musical and performance excellence and supported by the parent run Booster Club . Ballard HS provides one of the most complete high school music programs in Seattle – offering instruction in voice, wind and string instruments spanning jazz to classical. The Theatre Program consistently presents best-in-class and now virtual plays and musicals.

The Ballard HS Music Program has gained regional and national acclaim for its outstanding ensembles and inspired performances . The Music Program includes over 400 students who participate in three concert bands, three concert orchestras, one concert choir, two treble choirs, percussion ensemble, two jazz bands, one jazz choir, fiddle ensemble and multiple chamber ensembles. Performances are held in the Earl Kelly Performing Arts Center. Learn more about Earl Kelly.

We are fortunate at Ballard to have three top-rate musicians/coaches/teachers who work to provide the highest level of music making opportunities for our students .

Performing Arts Directors: Ms Rowley, Ms Fortune, Mr Gillespie, Mr Riley
BPA Directors: Twin Spirit Day!

Ms. Elizabeth Fortune (Director of Orchestras), Jay Gillespie (Director of Bands), and Ms. Courtney Rowley (Director of Choirs) are caring individuals who have high standards for the music department and high expectations for every student involved in the program. Read more and hear from the BPA Directors below.

The top music ensembles have typically traveled to festivals and performances across the country and have won multiple awards and recognitions for their high level of music-making . Highlights include Concert Choir and Advanced Chorale’s performance at Carnegie Hall for the Nationals for Top Choirs Festival, Chamber Orchestra’s performance at the National Orchestra Festival in Tampa, Jazz Band’s participation in Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Competition, and the Wind Ensemble’s performance at the 2017 International Music festival at Carnegie Hall.

Typically each year, Ballard’s Music and Theatre programs combine to produce a full-scale musical theatre production . In recent years, Ballard’s musicals with Director of Theatre Shawn Riley, have been nominated for over 20 awards from the 5th Avenue High School Musical Theater Awards, including Best Overall Musical, Best Chorus, and Best Vocal Direction, and winning in the categories of Best Costumes (Urinetown, 2014 and Bye Bye Birdie, 2012) and Best Orchestra (Cabaret, 2011). For the school year 20-21 and with students remote the Playmakers presented “Greater Tuna” their first virtual production in history! Directed by Shawn Riley with editing by Gustavo Gutierrez.

Ballard Music Alumni have attended many of the nation’s most prestigious performing arts schools and universities , including Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music, The University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, The New School (NYC), The University of North Texas, Stanford University, The University of Oregon, The University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Westminster Choir College, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Ballard High School Performing Arts Directors

Performing Arts Directors: Ms Rowley, Ms Fortune, Mr Gillespie, Mr Riley on Zoom

Director of Orchestras | Elizabeth Fortune

Director of Bands – Band Director  | Jay Gillespie

Director of Choirs | Courtney Rowley | Learn More

Director of Theatre | Shawn Riley

Performance Highlights – Enjoy!

Refer to the BHS Course Catalog for more information on courses offered as part of the Ballard Performing Arts. 

Get Connected! 

  • If you are not receiving the school  PTSA Weekly Newsletter sign up and select your Graduation Class and BPA Group to receive up-to-date information on programs, special events, meeting dates, fundraisers, and general information throughout the year. 

BPA Booster Board 2021-22

Ballard Performing Arts Co-Presidents

BPA Booster Presidents listed below. Rachel, Jeannette Shelley

Jeannette Chen

Rachel Hart Rios

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