Southwest Middle School Fine and Performing Arts Page

  • Welcome to the Southwest Middle School Fine and Performing Arts Page!  Below, you will find a list of our course offerings, descriptions of our programs, links to program websites, as well as brief bio and contact information for our instructors.  Thank your for visiting our page.  See you in class!

Southwest Middle School Orchestra

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    The Southwest Middle School Orchestra program SW Orchestra has worked hard to maintain as one of the best Orchestra programs in the state, earning Superior ratings and 1st Place Orchestra at almost every single state, local, and national adjudication or contest performance for a decade.  The Orchestra had the honor and privilege of being invited to perform at the 2017 North Carolina Music Educators Association Annual In-Service Conference--the highest honor any program in North Carolina can receive.

    Orchestra is a cumulative course at Southwest, meaning, students must start in 6th grade in order to participate in future grades.  Curriculum and instruction is all crafted towards getting students prepared to continue instrumental music in high school and beyond, whether that means playing in college or university, or continuing to perform through community performance.  6th Grade is focused on learning the basics of music-making, from reading music to actually holding, caring for, and playing the instrument.  7th and 8th Grade provides more opportunity for competition, community performances, and group field trips.  Orchestra takes hard work and dedication, but it is also a LOT of fun!  We have Southwest Orchestra alumni who have gone on to study music in college, as well as students who continue to play in community groups just because music becomes such a big part of their lives-we’re super proud of that!

    Southwest Orchestra is taught by Ms. Kristen Wright.  Ms. Wright earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Carolina University, her Master’s in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a National Board Certified Teacher.  She is an active bassoonist, both performing in local groups and maintains a private studio for bassoon students.  Aside from her music activities, she loves traveling the world (so far, South Korea, Japan, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, Spain, France, and Austria), reading (The Lord of the Rings is the BEST BOOK EVER!), playing video games (mostly console gaming), and her kitties Butters and Remington.

    You may contact Ms. Wright at or check out the SWMS Orchestra website at  See you in the Orchestra Room!

Southwest Middle School Chorus

  • Currently, chorus will be offered on a semester basis, but students are encouraged to stay in chorus throughout their tenure at Southwest Middle School. Choirs from Southwest Middle School will regularly participate in school-based concerts and events.  District-wide, choirs will participate in CMS Honors Chorus and MPA (Music Performance Adjudication—a chance for the students and director to receive feedback on performance and musicality). Statewide, students will be encouraged to audition for NC Honors Chorus, where selected students will be able to perform with other students from all around the state of North Carolina.  These are the standard events that happen most often, but other events will be sprinkled throughout the year as well. 

    Though students are free to join chorus in any semester and/or any year, it is recommended that students start in 6th grade and stay in the program for the duration of their time at Southwest Middle School.  This will provide students with the opportunity to learn cumulatively.  Some of the foundations students will learn about in 6th grade include: proper vocal/singing posture and technique, music theory (how to read, write, and compose music), music history, performance etiquette, and appropriate rehearsal behavior. As students move through the choral program in 7th and 8th grade, these skills will be deepened and refined. By the time students graduate from 8th grade, they will be ready to participate in chorus at the high school level. 


Southwest Middle School Dance

  • Southwest Middle School Dance

    The Southwest Middle School Dance program SW is designed to cover the NC State Standards while connecting each student to the importance of Arts and the study of Humanities for our children. Dance is a studied technique which requires devotion in practice and dedication to the learning of techniques to achieve a performance level. Those students who are passionate about learning the discipline of Dance are encouraged to speak with me regarding auditioning for our Dance Team. Dance Team is a separate before and after school club which meets to perfect and then perform throughout the Charlotte for many different groups and community organizations.

    Dance class is a cumulative course at Southwest with the idea that students will start in 6th grade in order to participate in future grades.  Curriculum and instruction is designed in a way to connect dance to their lives. The student does not need to know how to dance to be involved in this class. Each student will eventually physically involve themself in basic movement to understand basic coordination and how the skeletal and muscular systems operate our bodies. They discover how basic human movement evolved into the known techniques of dance and is manipulated through the creativity of the choreographer and dancer. The students also connect to the diversity of culture through dance, discovering their own through the research of their family and witnessing the conversations from their classmates' discoveries. As they progress through the 3 years, the students will dive deeper into the history of dance and how it is connected to social needs, human contact and interactions through the study of social dance. Lastly the student will connect to the power of communication through the movement of dance and how feelings, thoughts and ideas can be expressed through the body. The success of the class is based on the willingness of the students to achieve, create and grow.

    Southwest Dance classes are taught by Ms. Corinne Chiusano.  Ms. C’ earned her Associates of Art in Theater from Bergen Community College; Bachelor of Art in Dance from Saint Leo University, Education Degree from UNCC. Her early training credits teachers, such as Luigi, Phil Black, Diane Diana, Edward Vilella and Iren Folkine and performed with a traveling children's Dance Company until the end of High School. She has taught dance publicly for 45 years to children and adults. Her secret passion was to be Mickey Mouse but she did have creative opportunities to perform with Nickelodeon as many of their characters in shows and parades. She has also choreographed for many theater groups throughout her career including Rock Hill Community Theater.

    You may contact Ms. C’ at