Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA)

The Visual and Performing Arts program denotes quality, rigor, and choice, with opportunities for creative expression and continuous growth. The curriculum and assessment is mainly performance based, which allows for students of all backgrounds to develop a variety of learning modes and success in a safe environment. Our goal is to have students develop self-confidence and self-expression.

art by a Downey high school student
There's Hope artwork by student

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts department at Downey High School offers students a variety of beginning level art courses, with no prior experience required.

Students have the opportunity to grow as an artist by taking intermediate and advanced level courses, allowing them to develop a portfolio of work that can be applied toward college entry. Representatives from multiple art colleges visit our classes throughout the year, providing information on current majors and career pathways that they offer. 

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instagram logo   @dhs_art_nikaj

Drama Program

The program covers multiple facets of theatre, from acting onstage to assisting backstage, from technical design to economic theory. Upon leaving our program, students will have the skills essential for their transition into professional, university or community theatre as a performer, creator, or viewer.

Classes Offered

Drama – A survey of theatrical production and performance.
Drama Production – Students are involved in a major stage production.
Musical Theatre Performance – Areas of instruction will encompass dance, musical score, and acting. Students are involved in a major stage production.

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students performing in a theater production

Music Program

High School Marching Band
The music program at Downey High School consists of eleven different classes:

  • Marching Band
  • Color Guard
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Advanced Band
  • Band 1/2
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Jazz Band (1)
  • Jazz Band (2)
  • Jazz Choir
  • Chorus 1/2
  • Chorus 3/4
  • Mariachi

Individuals must audition to be a part of any performing group. Most auditions take place prior to the beginning of the school year.

Marching Band & Color Guard

As one of the largest organizations on campus, this ensemble performs at campus pep rallies, football games, basketball games, volleyball games, and performs at various events around the Downey community.

During the fall they compete in numerous field show competitions and parades. Students enrolled in Marching Band/Color guard during the fall semester receive PE credit because of the physical demands of the course.

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jazz band formal photo

Beginning & Intermediate Choir

Basic instruction on signing and reading music is provided in beginning choir. Students develop techniques in order to learn how to sing properly. They will also perform at least once per semester at a music program concert or a district festival.

Jazz Band & Jazz Choir

In addition to the music aspects learned in the concert band, jazz groups will have the opportunity to focus on creativity, both as individuals and in small groups. Students enjoy the liberty to express themselves as individuals through improvisational skills covered in the class.

The Jazz groups gain experience performing at community competitions, festivals, and regular music program concerts. Highlights include the annual Reno and Folsom Jazz Festivals. Top groups have even performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York’s Apollo Theater, the Hollywood Bowl, and Disney Concert Hall.

Both Jazz Choir and Jazz Band have won multiple awards during the past 20 years of Mr. Olariu’s tenure. Recently, they were finalists at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey. Jazz Choir won the 2018 Reno Jazz Festival. In 2019, the top Jazz Band won the Monterey and Boston competitions, and were named in the Best Jazz Ensemble category in Downbeat national magazine.

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