Donna Bessette, Director of the Arts, has been at Rectory since 2007. Having grown up in a house full of people who enjoy plays, music, and community theater, taking a role teaching chorus and drama made absolute sense.
Music at Rectory is woven into every grade. In fifth grade, students are required to be part of the chorus. Participating beyond that is up to them but more often than not they continue right through to graduation. Mrs. Bessette told me, "Music makes students well-rounded, builds confidence, and adds another form of expression. We don't turn anyone away from the school play, which this May will be Aladdin."
During our MELP (March Experiential Learning Program), which took place the week of March 19-23, Mrs. Bessette accompanied students to Nashville, TN along with LisaHart and Ryan Finnegan. The trip encompassed a haunted downtown tour, a visit to the Belle Meade Plantation, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Andrew Jackson Hermitage. Students also did community service at the Nashville Rescue Mission whose missions is, "Hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity, to the hungry, homeless, and hurting." The students served lunch to over 100 people and by all accounts it was a great experience.
"One of the best things about going to Nashville this year for MELP was spending time with the students as they learned about the city and its rich musical history," said Mrs. Bessette. " I'm personally not a big country music fan, but seeing the excitement on their faces as they took in all the sites and sounds of the city almost made me a convert! Almost all of the students in our group were interested in country music, and to watch them so engaged in learning outside of the classroom was a real joy! I have a newfound appreciation for this genre of music and the role it plays in American pop music and culture."
In her limited free time, Mrs. Bessette and her husband, Andre, live near campus. She is the mother of three children. Henri is a 6th grader at Rectory, Yvie graduated last year and now attends The Woodstock Academy, and Nathalie is at college in Philadelphia. Along with Patrick McCarthy, Mrs. Bessette is in a band called 9-16. They've been together for about ten years and play at local venues such as The Crossings and The Vanilla Bean and play mostly covers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as well as a few originals.