The recent formation of the School of the Arts brings together existing programs with a long tradition of success. Our school is growing, the quality of student and faculty work continues to rise and the future of Samford arts is bright. The new School of the Arts offers majors in aspects of art, graphic design, theatre, church music and music education. Record enrollments and outstanding talent characterize the progress of our programs, but the success of Samford arts students is defined by the personal experience afforded each individual and the mentorship invested by our faculty in the lives of every student.
The new School of the Arts gathers majors in aspects of art, graphic design, theatre, church music, music education, music theatre, instrumental music (band and orchestra), theory, music history, vocal/choral music, piano, pedagogy, organ and composition. Minors include art, theatre, music, dance, film and the arts. The school offers graduate degrees in church music, music education, and a new degree in piano performance and pedagogy. The preparatory music department offers applied lessons and theory courses for the community and provides a valuable labratory for students considering careers in teaching.
Since the earliest years of Samford’s history, music and the dramatic arts have been a vital part of campus life. The college Glee Club sang at commencements, and seniors and dramatic arts students performed in campus productions during the year. The Masquers Club, organized in 1933, invited all students to be a part of their dramatic productions. Within five years, the popularity of the Masquers Club increased to such a degree that their productions were limited to drama students only.
In 1948, the board of trustees unanimously approved the establishment of the Department of Music to offer the bachelor of music degree. Prior to that time, music was taught on campus by professional musicians from a local music school through a cooperative agreement, but a bachelor’s degree was not offered. By 1952, the music curriculum was so successful that more teaching space was required to accommodate the demand for music courses. In 1970, the department was elevated to school status.
In 2001, dramatic arts, known as the theatre department, moved to the School of Music, and the school was renamed the School of Performing Arts with a Division of Music and a Department of Theatre. A new major, musical theatre, was introduced in both the music division and the theatre department, and a dance curriculum was added. The Department of Art joined the School of Performing Arts in June 2007. The School of the Arts was officially announced on April 30, 2008.