Fine Arts Support Team (F.A.S.T.)

The Mission of the Fine Arts Support Team is to provide assistance for and promotion of the various fine arts curricula and programs at The Oakwood School.



FAST Leadership

This year, FAST is being led by:

            Cassie Mehlhop, President     (252)717-7820  

            Brandyn Sorie, Vice Pres.      (252)883-4253  

            Mary Jon Pabst, Treasurer     (252)714-4774  

            Tamira Tate, Secretary          (252)347-3333  

            Lorri Kessler, Ex-Officio         (252)341-9992   

Amira Ali, Volunteer Coordinator

Dora Beamon, Promotions

Tamara Shusterman, Musical Producer

Chris Harker, Asst. Musical Producer

Sue Morgan & TBA, Musical Concessions

Mary Jon & TBA, Musical Ticket Sales

TBA, Musical Flowers

TBA, Musical Programs

Elizabeth Surkin, Hospitality

Melissa Duncan, Seniors

Renee Howard, Decorating

Brandyn Sorie, Teacher Liason Coordinator

TBA, Liason for Ms. Scully

Sue Morgan, Liason for Ms. Sauls

Cassie Mehlhop, Liason for Mr. Nunnally

Tamira Tate, Liason for Ms. Mossey

Mary Jon Pabst, Liason for Ms. Lytle

Wendy Price, Liason for Ms. Kepner

Brandyn Sorie, Liason for Ms. Winn

Please feel free to contact any of us with questions or ideas.

Important Art Dates

Mark your calendars! Here is an initial schedule of Oakwood Arts & SRAPAS events for 2016-17:

         April 21-22 MS All-State Honors Choir

         May 5-6     High School Honors Chorus

         May 6        Junior Eastern Region Orchestra clinic

         May 11       MS Spring Concert

         May 17       US Spring Concert

         May 19      King’s Dominion field trip (grades 6-7)

         May 23       LS Spring Concert

         June 2       Oakwood Class of 2017 Graduation

ECU Arts & SRAPAS Collaboration
The Fine Arts Support Team (F.A.S.T.) is excited to bring the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival to Oakwood! This festival brings amazing musicians together from around the world to Greenville (yes, Greenville) several times a year. 

They will be coming to Oakwood to perform for the whole school on Friday, November 18 at 10:15am. This will be a shortened concert and conversation. Parents are welcome to attend.

S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series (SRAPAS):
Click here to see flyer, which describes how to buy tickets to SRAPAS performances at a discount, and is open to all Oakwood families. Also, Upper School should watch for an e-mail from your child's fine arts teacher inviting them to attend a performance. Please contact Cassie Mehlhop (252-717-7820) if you have any questions.

This year, FAST is focusing on enriching our students’ exposure to the arts. We are partnering with ECU College of Fine Arts & Communication and the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series (SRAPAS) to bring new artistic experiences to Oakwood, and to bring students to ECU to get involved in events there. Oakwood families will be offered a discount on tickets to any SRAPAS performances they would like to attend, and FAST will be sending some students in arts classes to some of the performances. You can visit for more information about the series, and please see the PDF below for Oakwood discount information. We are working on getting some extracurricular experience for the visual art students as well. Some highlights of this year’s series are:

  • The Other Mozart: This is a one-woman play about Mozart’s sister, who was also a composer, as talented as her brother Wolfgang, or possibly more so. Her talent is largely unknown, however, because their father did not wish to promote a girl’s compositions. 
  • Parsons Dance Company: This is a contemporary dance company that uses interesting technical lighting. 
  • Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir: This group is widely regarded as one the best chamber choirs in the world. 
  • The Nile Project: This is the big event! It is a collaboration of musicians from 11 countries bordering the Nile River, who travel all over the world (including five universities in North Carolina) to start a conversation about cultural, social and political issues through the arts. 

NILE PROJECT: Do you know which 11 countries border the Nile? Did you know that we have students from some of these countries at Oakwood? The Nile Project is a great way to learn about and celebrate other cultures. It fits beautifully with the school’s theme for the year of “community building and global citizenship”. This event can facilitate a conversation within our school about diversity, and give us an opportunity to learn about issues that exist in another part of the world. We are planning a multidisciplinary way for the school to participate in this, across all three divisions, and hope to incorporate a service project as well. We will integrate lessons about the music, dance, visual art, history/geography/geopolitics, literature, theology, mythology, and environmental science of these diverse cultures into the curriculum in the spring. Upper school students will be invited to participate in related lectures given by ECU faculty. This event is a tremendous opportunity for our school to grow and learn together, and we hope to supplement the academic piece with anything from a community meal to younger students making instruments from the region. Visit or watch the TED Global presentation at on You Tube for more information.

Does The Nile Project sound exciting to you? Please contact Cassie Mehlhop ( if you’re interested in working on this exciting event. We will be forming a Nile Project committee soon.

Student Spotlights





Oakwood Senior, Jessica Pabst, attended The Rockette Summer Intensive in New York in August. In July, she also attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Commercial Dance Intensive.




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Oakwood Senior, Jack Heins, attended Duke Tip Filmmaking camp this summer at Duke University. Students attended intensive classes focusing on all aspects of film making including screenwriting, filming, editing, producing. Their studies culminated with each student making a documentary short film. 






In June and July, Oakwood Senior, Emma Mehlhop (top right), attended North Carolina Governor’s School West at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC, where she concentrated in Contemporary Dance. Governor’s School is a 5.5 week summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students from across North Carolina which integrates the study of academic disciplines and the arts.



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In June and July, Oakwood Junior, Hayley Allen, attended North Carolina Governor’s School East at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, where she concentrated in Choral Music. Here, Hayley is pictured performing a solo, “In Rivers of Light”. Governor’s School East is one of the two campuses of the North Carolina Governor’s School.









The Nile Project

Oakwood families,

        This year, FAST is trying to expand our students’ artistic horizons in a whole new way. We have partnered with ECU Arts to provide exposure to different types of performances. Instead of spending a large part of our budget on bringing in one type of performer for the students, we have been sending upper school students to various performances at ECU, which are part of their S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series (SRAPAS).

What is The Nile Project?

  • its main event is a world music concert, which will be at Wright Auditorium on Friday, April 7th at 8:00pm
  • it’s a residency, which means that there are various workshops, discussions, and other gatherings associated with this group coming to the university
  • it’s an example of how the arts can be used to solve problems, by creating a common language and building relationships, which can lead to productive discussions and problem solving
  • it’s a vehicle to learn about the Nile River Basin countries - their history, politics, culture, art, literature, folklore, environment, and sustainability
  • it’s a chance to recognize that we have students at Oakwood from around the country and around the world, including the Nile region, which is one thing that makes our school so special

Here’s the big question: 

How do 11 different countries, which have different cultures and languages, figure out how to share one body of water?

          We have an opportunity for Oakwood familes to not only experience The Nile Project events at ECU, but to do a sort of residency of our own, in which the students, faculty and parents can explore this question and even think about how it pertains to our own issues here in Eastern North Carolina. More details will be coming, but in the meantime, please feel free to take a look at these links (more can be found on our FAST page - scroll to the bottom of the Oakwood Home Page for the FAST link). You may also contact me if you have any questions, or if you would like to get involved!

The Nile Project by Meklit Hadero - Mina and Meklit:

Nile Project: Musicians Rise Above Conflict:

Nile Project conversations:

Thank you,

Cassie Mehlhop