Finding Passion and Self-Confidence

For many GPS students, the crowning achievement of their performing arts experience occurs on stage. But the magic begins when the students first enter in the sixth grade. The girls are ripe to try new things, setting aside self-consciousness in exchange for new abilities and newfound passions.
“When students come in, there is permission to play and to investigate, and we stress improvisation. In fact, that’s probably why our program has historically been so successful: we teach technique alongside improvisation.” —Cathie Kasch '72, Performing Arts Coordinator


Because of its comprehensiveness, GPS has been a model program for dance education throughout the country. Beginning and advanced dancers can find appropriate outlets for discovery and mastery of skill among the three beautiful dance studios. The girls learn dances from around the world, enhancing their global studies and cultural awareness. Classes in modern dance and choreography count toward graduation requirements.

Both Middle and Upper Schools may join dance ensembles, giving extra performance experience and training beyond the classroom. These groups perform annually for the student body. Upper School students may audition for Terpsichord, the first high school contemporary dance company in Tennessee.

Middle School

  • Dance—6th Grade
  • Dance—7th Grade
  • Dance—8th Grade
  • Motion Makers—Motion Makers is an after-school class for Middle School students interested in pursuing dance beyond the in-school curriculum. 

Upper School

  • Modern Dance I
  • Choreography
  • Advanced Choreography
  • Upper School Dance Ensemble—A group of Upper School students who want more opportunity to study modern dance technique.
  • Terpsichord—Terpsichord is the performing contemporary dance company of GPS and the first high school contemporary dance company in Tennessee. Open to girls in grades 10-12 by audition only, the company creates and performs three major concerts a year and studies with professional dancers and choreographers who come to GPS as part of the Guest Artist program. Student choreography is a strong emphasis in this company. In addition to the after-school component of this ensemble group, members can take Terpsichord I, II, and III as part of their curriculum. 


Boasting one of the largest theaters in Chattanooga, GPS is fortunate to be able to offer a comprehensive theater program with excellent facilities and outstanding faculty. The Middle School theatre arts program seeks to be highly inclusive, giving every student who wants to perform or work backstage an opportunity to try. The Upper School program brings more conservatory-based training, exploring scripts and monologues. Students experiment with acting techniques from the New York schools of HB Studios, Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Workshop, Uta Hagen, Hiram Taylor, Stella Adler, and Viola Spolin, as well as some developed by the GPS faculty.

There are
numerous opportunities for girls to appear on the GPS stage. A middle school performance is staged each fall and is a coordinate activity with McCallie School students. At the upper school level, McCallie students are welcomed into each endeavor and are part of two upper school productions each year: a mainstage drama in the fall and the musical in the spring.

Middle School

  • Middle School Drama—7th Grade
  • Middle School Theater Arts—8th Grade
  • GPS/McCallie Fall Middle School Production—In the fall, Middle School students from GPS and McCallie combine their talents and put on fabulous productions. Past productions include Annie, Jr., The Lion King, Jr., and The Little Mermaid, Jr.
  • Additionally, GPS Middle School students are invited to participate in McCallie's Spring Middle School Production.

Upper School

  • Drama I, II, III
  • Public Speaking
  • Upper School Fall Play—Upper School students from GPS and McCallie join forces for the annual fall play. Past productions have included Uncommon Women and Others and The Grapes of Wrath. 
  • Upper School Spring Musical—Upper School GPS girls and McCallie boys audition to be part of the always-impressive cast for the Spring Musical. Past musical productions have included GreaseA Chorus LineFootlooseDreamgirlsAnnieLes Misérables, Mary Poppins, and Fiddler on the Roof.

Instrumental Music

Celebrating its 30th year in 2016, the GPS instrumental music curriculum boasts one of the largest performance-aimed programs in the area. In addition to several levels of orchestral groups, the school also offers a wind ensemble.

Students can pursue their instrumental interest through classes and a variety of music activities. GPS participates in Junior and Senior Clinics each year. Soloists and small groups give joint recitals with McCallie School students twice a year to provide more performing experience for the musicians in the program. The Tango Strings quartet is known and sought after widely for their talents.

Distinguished local musicians teach private, individual lessons at GPS with Cadek Conversatory of Music at Girls Preparatory School.

Middle School

  • Exploring Music—6th Grade
  • Strings—6th Grade
  • Beginning Winds and Percussion
  • Strings—7th Grade
  • Wind Ensemble—7th Grade
  • Wind Ensemble—8th Grade
  • Middle School Advanced Orchestra—Middle School students who have played the violin, viola, cello, or string bass for several years and can read music well can participate in the Middle School Advanced Orchestra. Repertoire is more advanced, and more performing opportunities are given through the year.

Upper School

  • Senior Orchestra—The Senior Orchestra is the premiere instrumental performing class at GPS and is open to all music students playing symphonic instruments. Though the emphasis is on performance, the Senior Orchestra will also drill 3- octave scales and rhythmic exercises in preparation for Junior and Senior Clinic Auditions. Repertoire is based on the great classical and modern literature. Senior Orchestra performs several times each year, including Commencement.
  • Advanced Senior Orchestra—Advanced Senior Orchestra is a more experienced level of Senior Orchestra. All enrolled students are expected to audition for ETSBOA Senior Clinic in Knoxville in January. Curriculum will include All-State Audition preparation, Sight reading, Etudes, GPS Concert repertoire, Chamber music repertoire, memorized solos, music theory and ear training, and writing program notes.
  • Tango—A selective string ensemble devoted to exploring traditional and not-so-traditional string quartet music. 
  • GPS/McCallie Honors OrchestraThe coordinate GPS/McCallie Honors Orchestra is a group of Upper School GPS girls and McCallie boys who hold their own concerts as well as perform in Candlelight and other opportunities as they arise. Honors Orchestra is conducted by GPS and McCallie instrumental music directors. Selection is by audition.
  • McCallie Tornado Winds Pep Band—GPS students are invited to participate in Tornado Winds, the Pep Band for McCallie, which plays during McCallie football games and other sporting events, as well as performs during halftime of games and other performances.

Vocal Music

Vocal music is another exciting program at GPS, with Middle School Choir often singing with their counterparts from McCallie. At the Upper School level, advanced singers have many opportunities to perform, from GPS Singers, our elite Upper School women's choir, to coordinate Candlelight Choir and Chamber Singers.

Middle School

  • Middle School Girls Choir—A group of Middle School students in grades 7-8 interested in vocal music. 
  • Middle School GPS/McCallie Coordinate Choir—A coordinate choir comprised of Middle School students from GPS and McCallie. 

Upper School

  • GPS Singers—The GPS Singers are an elite Upper School Choir of girls in grades 9-12. Students will explore exciting and varied choral music (repertoire): classical, jazz, bluegrass, soul, and popular. The GPS Singers perform for both major Upper School music concerts and other events taking place in the community. Members complete courses GPS Singers I, II, III, and IV. 
  • Candlelight Choir—A vocal performing group composed of McCallie boys and GPS girls in grades 9-12 selected by audition. Candlelight is McCallie's holiday musical.

Browse the Performing Arts Curriculum