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U-Prep Arts

The Fine Arts department of University Preparatory School exemplifies the school’s vision of excellence in all aspects of a child’s education. Our programs are a source of pride for the entire school population. Both competitive and student friendly, the U-Prep Fine Arts programs provide opportunities by which our students become culturally literate and aware of artistic influences in their world.

Dance Program

Marrissa Kinneavy

Director, U-Prep Dance Program
Dance Program Website

In Recognition of Mrs. Kinneavy

University Preparatory School Dance Department ~ Giving students the tools and opportunities to become lifelong physical, healthy individuals through daily training in multiple dance and physical disciplines.

U-Prep offers seven dance classes a day. These classes focus on the study of multiple dance forms including ballet, modern, jazz, and musical theatre. Students gain the ability to perform in all disciplines with an improving understanding of style and expression. Students also explore the art of choreography and learn about dance history.

The Dance Department puts on a large production in early Spring, allowing all the dance students to be in at least two numbers. At the end of the year, the dance department has a spring showcase where the students show the audience technique and class skills. This Spring Showcase also allows certain dancers to demonstrate their choreography skills. Students from the dance department may audition to be a part of the dance chorus for the fall musical each year, as well as audition to be a part of the U-Prep Dance Team.

The Dance Department currently consists of seven classes, all varying in age and skill. Listed below are the dance classes offered this year:

  • Dance I – Grades 6th – 8th;
  • Dance II – Grades 6th – 8th;
  • Dance III – Grades 8th – 10th;
  • Dance IVA – Grades 7th – 8th;
  • Dance IVB – Grades 9th – 12th;
  • Dance V – Grades 9th – 12th;
  • Dance VI – Grades 9th – 12th

The University Preparatory School Dance Team is an elite group of dancers chosen by audition to promote school spirit, provide entertainment at various campus and community events, and to represent our school at dance competitions. The mission of this team is to provide dancers with a successful and meaningful educational dance experience. Team members will have personal goals of high academic achievement, improving their dance skills and abilities, learning effective time management, gaining leadership qualities, and developing life-long social skills of team members.

This year the team consists of 18 dancers, ranging from 7th-12th grade. The dance team started learning choreography in late September, and has been rehearsing ever since. A couple of the 6 pieces the team will be performing this year have been set by guest choreographers. One guest choreographer, James Santos, traveled all the way from Las Vegas to work with the team. The team will be traveling to numerous conventions and competitions around the bay area, with its first competition occurring in March.

Last year a small group of seven dancers competed in 2 different competitions and took home a handful of awards. Those awards included a High Gold, 2 Platinums, a Double Platinum, and a special Judge’s Choice Award.

Choral & Instrumental Music

Brad Fowers

Department Chair, VAPA Program
Music Program Website

Brad Fowers has been the band and choir teacher at University Preparatory School for the last ten years and has watched both programs within the department grow steadily year by year. Along with his musical colleague, Elizabeth Johnson, the music department includes more than half of the school population in thirteen different performance ensembles consisting of multiple levels of band, strings, and choir. Instrumentally, Mr. Fowers has extensive experience on the piano as well as multiple years of training and performance on a variety of school band instruments through various honor bands and advanced ensembles in school and in the community. Vocally, Mr. Fowers has similar experience as a singer starting in high school and continuing through college where he has performed in concert halls, stadiums, and on the musical theater stage. Academically, Mr. Fowers holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University as well as a Master of Music degree from Boston University and is always looking for ways to increase his knowledge and skills as a musician, director, and teacher.

With the national and state music education standards in mind, students of Mr. Fowers are given numerous solo and ensemble opportunities. In preparation for these performances, students focus on proper sound production techniques, sight reading, basic piano skills, music theory, music history, and musical creativity.

Mr. Fowers teaches the following courses in Music:

  • Prep Band - a band for students with little to no experience;
  • Concert Band - a band for students at an intermediate to advanced level;
  • Wind Symphony (Symphonic Orchestra) - a highly advanced wind ensemble that combines with Mrs. Johnson's String Symphony to create a full orchestra experience;
  • Jazz Band - a band for students at the highest level of musicianship and creativity;
  • Mixed Choir - a choir for young men and women with little to no experience;
  • Choraliers - a choir for young ladies at an intermediate to advanced level;
  • Concert Choir - a choir for young men and women at the highest vocal level;

Elizabeth Johnson

Music Teacher
Music Program Website

Regarding the strings program, Mrs. Johnson’s aim is to keep students engaged and enrolled in strings for their entire career at U-Prep while building in them a strong technical, theoretical and historical appreciation for all music. Four levels of orchestra support this student growth.

With the national and state music education standards in mind, students of Mr. Fowers are given numerous solo and ensemble opportunities. In preparation for these performances, students focus on proper sound production techniques, sight reading, basic piano skills, music theory, music history, and musical creativity.

In addition to refining playing technique and exposing students to a wide variety of repertoire, students participate in “Theory Thursday”—a once-a-week class in which all music students do not play and instead explore theory topics in depth like musical texture, history of musical periods and chord theory. It also includes a “100 facts” quiz component.

U-Prep’s stand-alone Drum Corps is also a class that students can enroll in for their entire U-Prep career. Beyond technical and theoretical work in the classroom, Drum Corps supports U-Prep’s school spirit by playing at outside school activities.

Guitar I is designed to springboard students into any variety of musical endeavors. No experience is necessary. It is a one-time enrollment class. Learning to read notation is a fundamental component to this class. Strong emphasis is placed on folk and Blues and their historical place in American music. Incidental singing is also incorporated into this class.

Theater Arts

Romney Clements

Musical and Play Director
Theatre Productions Website

M. Romney Clements brings an extensive performing background to her role as director of the U-Prep musical. Romney has been directing the musicals at U Prep since its inception . Romney started performing right here in Redding at Shasta High School in the 1980’s in their musical department. She then went on to her studies as a vocal performance major at CSU, Chico. While living in Chico Romney and a group of friends founded the Chico City Light Opera group at the Eaton Road Opera House. As a company member in CCLO Romney performed roles such as: Rizzo in “Grease”, the Witch in “Into the Woods”, Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Truvy in “Steel Magnolias” and countless others. Romney even found herself “playing” across town (Chico) at the Blue Room Theatre a few times. Romney eventually graduated from Simpson College, here in Redding, with a BA in Liberal Studies and a music supplement. Under the original direction of James Santos, Romney spent a few years as a “Cascade Cutie” in “A Cascade Christmas” singing and ringing in the holiday spirit! Although Romney no longer performs, she loves introducing her students to the joys of performing and hopes to be directing at U-Prep for many, many years.

Brigid Dempsey

Musical and Play Director
Theatre Productions Website

Mrs. Dempsey has had a love for the theater since a young age. Her first role was in kindergarten as the sacrificial lamb in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" and her love for performance has grown ever since. She has performed in leading roles such as Edwina in "Dear Edwina," the Wicked Witch of the West in the "Wizard of Oz," Penny Sycamore in "You Can't Take it with You, and Lorraine Sheldon in "The Man Who Came to Dinner.' Since returning to her alma matter, UPrep, she has been the assistant director for the musicals and the sole director of the spring play. She made her directorial debut with the play "Clue" which was a smash success with sold out shows every night. Although she hasn't performed in a few years, her love for the theater remains intact with her involvement in the UPrep theater program and frequent trips to the Golden Gate theater in San Francisco!

Visual Arts

Lura Wilhelm

Visual Art Teacher
U-Prep Art Website

Ms. Wilhelm prides herself as a practicing artist and over the last four years at University Preparatory School (U-Prep) has built the Visual Art curriculum upon her artistic foundations. As an artist and a teacher Ms. Wilhelm considers herself an Artist Teacher. As an Artist Teacher Ms. Wilhelm encourages her students to be creative problem solving, progressive skill building and encourages her students to seek life-longer learning in Visual Arts after high school no matter what the degree path or career may take them.

  • Masters Degree in Art Education, Boston University
  • Bachelors Degree in Art Education and Studio Practice, San Jose State University
  • Single Subject Teaching Credential in Art Education, San Jose State University
Philosophy, Mission and Goals of the Visual Art Program:

It is Ms. Wilhelm’s philosophy that Art is a subject which can allow a student to innovatively explore artistic perception, creative expression, historical/cultural content, aesthetic valuing as well as connections, relations and application. I believe with art education students will be able to use the creative tools learned in the exploration of arts and use these tools to develop better understanding and knowledge in other curriculum. Art is creation, innovation and knowledge which may allow an individual to explore the world.

It is Ms. Wilhelm’s mission within the guidelines of State and National Arts Education Standards to create a safe learning environment for creative student learning while promoting self expression, self confidence and lifelong learning through the exploration of arts. It is Ms. Wilhelm’s goal to pursue higher education to increase my knowledge and comprehension for arts education and the positive effects it has on students. It is my goal to create art curriculum which is based upon lifelong learning while using the arts as a tool to cross over to other subjects taught in Junior High and High School.


Over the last 4 years Ms. Wilhelm has challenged her students with a progressive curriculum both age group and skill level appropriate. Detailed descriptions on courses [ROTA Art (6th), Art I (7th-8th), ART II (8th-12th), ART III (10 th-12th), ART IV (10th-12th), HONORS ART V (10th-12th), AP ART (11th-12th)] offered by Ms. Wilhelm can be found in U-Prep Course Guide.