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MS Orchestra: Preparing for Fall 2020

A picture of our orchestra instructorsA welcome message from your Orchestra directors:

"Hello there! We are so excited that you have chosen to be a part of a unique and rewarding program offered within our district. All of our directors are thrilled to meet you and your family!

Being a part of the orchestra is like being a member of any team. Each person is important in determining the overall quality of the group. You have the opportunity to take part in a continued tradition of excellence by having opportunities to achieve - musically, academically and socially.

Not only will you learn to be proficient on an instrument, but you'll also learn how you can become a confident and contributing members of your school and community. Our students improve their skills by cooperating with others at school, by developing coordination and dexterity, and by accepting increasing responsibilities. Most of all, the discipline you learned as a member of the Orchestra will benefit you in all academic areas.

Being a part of Orchestra makes school so much more fun and rewarding! We cannot wait for this next step in your life to begin!"

About our program

Beginning Orchestra

These classes start in either grades 4 or 6 and are "like-instrument" classes where students learn the basics of tone, rhythm, instrument care and more.

Continue reading about our Beginning Orchestra on our music page.

Concert Orchestra

Concert Orchestra classes are divided into three performing classes that work together as a full Orchestra. These classes focus on collaborative work and ensemble skills.

Continue reading about our Concert Orchestra on our music page.

Mariachi

Our Mariachi performance groups consist of band and orchestra students. Students who participate learn to play and perform this traditional Mexican genre of music. Mariachi groups can compete in festivals, perform for community events and more.

 Continue reading about our Mariachi program on our music page.

Instruments

Orchestras are typically made up of string instruments. We use the following in our classes:

Violin

A little girl playing the violinThe violin is the soprano voice of the orchestra family and often carries the melody in the orchestra. It is divided into two sections in the orchestra: first violin and second violin.

 Watch a musician play a song on the Violin.

Cello

A girl playing the celloThe cello is the tenor voice in the orchestra family. It can go from very low to very high in its register allowing it to cover both melody and harmony parts throughout a piece. The cello is played seated.

 Watch a musician play a song on the Cello.

Double Bass

A picture of a musician playing a double bass at a concert

The double bass is the lowest voice in the orchestral family. Arguably the most important part within the orchestra, the bass gives the orchestra its foundation and keeps the beat throughout the piece.

 Watch a musician play a song on the Double Bass.

Viola

A boy playing the violaThe viola is the alto voice in the orchestra family. It often has the harmony part but will carry the melody from time to time. The viola, plays a fifth lower than the violin, allowing it to get a darker tone.

 Watch a musician play a song on the Viola.

Harp

Woman playing the harpThe harp is a complex string instrument. Students begin on lever harps and then transfer to pedal harps as they approach high school. Students are required to take private lessons because of their difficulty. Harps offer a beautiful sound to solo, ensemble and orchestra music.

 Watch a musician play a song on the Harp.

Note: The Harp is only available at Austin Academy of Excellence, Kimberlin Academy of Excellence, Hillside Academy of Excellence and Walnut Glen Academy.

The Double Bass, Cello, Viola and Violin side-by-side:

A picture showing the violin family of instruments

Joining our programs

Orchestra programs are available at four of our elementary schools and three of our middle school campuses. To sign up, please contact your child's school orchestra director to begin the process.

Middle schools

Below are the three middle schools with Orchestra in Garland. All three middle school programs are the only schools in our region to have received Division 1 ratings in UIL assessments for all their groups two years in a row! These directors are dedicated to making beautiful music and making sure you have an amazing experience along the way.

Austin Academy

A photo of the two Austin Academy directors holding awardsJane Samford
jsamford@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-600-1145

Sara Howell
sehowell@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-502-0582

 

About the directors

A photo Jane SamfordJane Samford
Head Director
University of Tulsa- Bachelor of Music Education (1986)
Texas A&M University of Commerce- Master of Education (1994)
Worked in Garland for 16 years

 

A picture of Sara HowellSara Howell
Assistance Director 
Southern Methodist University- Bachelors (1995)
Southern Methodist University- Masters (1999)
Worked in Garland for 13 years

 

Jackson Technology Center

A picture of the two directors for Jackson Technology CenterRoy Enriquez
raenriqu@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-502-4010

Rebecca De Luna
rdeluna@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-502-0883

Apps

Twitter for orchestra:@JTCOrch
Twitter for Mariachi: @CieloMariachi
Remind: https://www.remind.com/join/ee98gh

About the directors

A picture of Roy EnriquezRoy Enriquez
Head Director 
University of North Texas (2006)
Teacher of the Year 2015
Campus Fine Arts Teacher of the Year 2017
Worked in Garland for 14 years

 

A picture of Rebecca De LunaRebecca De Luna
Assistant Director- Orchestra
Director of Mariachi Estrellas de North Garland and Mariachi Cielo Azul de Jackson
Texas State University (2016)
Worked in Garland for four years

Webb MS

A picture of the two directors for Webb Middle SchoolEricka Pack
erpack@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-600-0457

Maria Figueroa 
mfigueroa@garlandisd.net
Google Voice: 903-502-0963

Apps

Twitter: @webborchestra
Remind: @webborches

About the directors

A picture of Ericka PackEricka Pack
Head Director 
Sam Houston State University (2008)
Teacher of the Year 2019
Worked in Garland for 6 years

 

A picture of Maria FigueroaMaria Figueroa
Assistant Director
University of North Texas (2017)
Worked in Garland for two years

Elementary

Garland is proud to have four elementary schools that offer orchestra on their campus. Group lessons are provided twice per week. Orchestra students have opportunities to perform winter and spring concerts as well as Stringfest in the fall for 2nd-year students. Second-year students also participate in GISD Solo/Ensemble Festival and a spring orchestra competition festival. 

Hillside and Kimberlin Academy
A picture of Judith PruittJudith Pruitt

972-926-2560

About the director

Miami University -Bachelor of Arts
KAE Teacher of the Year 2019
Working in Garland for 30 years

Walnut Glen Academy
A picture of Jacquelyn JohnsonJaquelyn Johnson

972-494-8330

About the director

Louisiana State University -Bachelors
DMA-ABD Georgia State University (MM)
Worked in Garland for three years

Spring Creek Elementary
A picture of Ericka PackEricka Pack

Google Voice: 903-600-0457

About the director

Sam Houston State University (2008)
Teacher of the Year 2019
Has worked in Garland for six years

Choosing an instrument

After signing up, the next step will be selecting an instrument for your student. All students must go through an instrument selection process with the school directors, which will determine their instrument class.

Once your student knows their instrument, students can rent or buy instruments from the following recommended music stores:

  • Brook Mays
    6921 Independence PKWY STE 120
    Plano, TX 75023-8339
    972-618-3222
    www.brookmays.com
  • Caraway Strings

    209A West Main Street
    Richardson, TX 75081
    469-329-1040

  • Dallas Strings
    20 East McDermott Rd.
    Allen, Texas
    469-675-0085

  • Music and Arts
    5435 North Garland Avenue Suite 150 
    Garland, TX 75040-2787
    972-530-9083

  • The Music Store
    1311 Marketplace Dr #110
    Garland, TX 75041
    972-686-2263

  •  Williamson Music
    1301 K Avenue
    Plano, TX 75074
    972-516-1331
    Plano.Store@wm1st