Meet Michael Hughes
Having been involved in the arts in Fauquier County for the better part of 35 years, Michael Hughes was the natural choice to come to Highland in 2003 and run the Center for the Arts. “It was an opportunity I could not pass up,” said Mr. Hughes.
Prior to what he considers his second career in the arts, Mr. Hughes spent nearly 30 years in the horse business. He is an accredited steward for the National Steeplechase Association and has announced steeplechase races throughout the region for more than 30 years. He’s also an avid sailor.
But the arts are where his true passion lies. Since high school, Mr. Hughes has been involved in theater production of some kind. He was the founder and first conductor of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, co-founder (with his wife Diane) of the Fauquier Community Theatre, founder of the University of Virginia Brass Choir and a member of the original University of Virginia pep band. He has been the Director of over 20 secondary school theatrical productions, and was involved as an actor, director or musician in more than 75 amateur and semi-professional productions.
“I hope my students recognize the passion I have for the arts and try to take some for themselves,” said Michael. “I want them to keep growing and reaching for more. I continually push them to do more and do better.” He says his students teach him every day as well. “Their new ideas, new approaches and enthusiasm are contagious.”
He credits the Rice Family’s strong vision for the arts program at Highland for making his career what it is today. “Without the Rice Family, I cannot imagine what would have happened to either Highland School or me,” he said. “In the era in which we live, the arts are often given the short shrift. It takes someone with vision, drive, determination and a willingness to do things correctly that make an asset like the Center for the Arts come to fruition. What a gift the Rice Family is not only to Highland School, but to the community at large.”
Michael earned a B.A. in Music and Drama from the University of Virginia and an M.M. in Conducting from Shenandoah University. Currently at Highland he is the Artistic Director, Fine Arts Chair, Director of Theatrical Productions and he teaches choral music, drama and AP music theory.