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ORCHESTRA PROGRAM

The McCallum Fine Arts Academy Orchestra program was started in 1953 with the opening of the school and has had a history of highly qualified and dynamic orchestra directors.  Today the program has grown to over 200 students participating in three performing orchestras, a double bass ensemble, a violin ensemble, a viola ensemble, a cello ensemble and, with the support of the Austin Chamber Music Center educational outreach, numerous other quartets and ensembles.

Directors Ricky Pringle and Erika Elder’s students have consistently received top scores at UIL concert and sight-reading competitions. String orchestras also add wind players to compete in the UIL Full Orchestra competitions each year, where they have also been very successful over the years. The orchestras and string ensembles also collaborate with other Academy students/directors in other strands such as dance, theatre, and vocal music.  For example, Chamber Orchestra and McCallum’s combined choirs have performed masterworks. The orchestras and string ensembles also perform for community events.

Over the years, McCallum orchestras have frequently provided live classical music for Academy dance performances, and as an outgrowth of that, some McCallum orchestra members have studied dance and appeared on stage in both musical theatre and dance productions (as dancers) and others have joined the choir as singers for special performances.  Students in our programs have also had opportunities to perform in some of the most prestigious performance venues, such as Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln Center, The National Cathedral, just to name a few.

Director Ricky Pringle performs regularly with various orchestras in Texas and has also been invited to conduct Region Orchestras in Texas. Mr. Pringle has also been featured in Strad Magazine.


Assistant Director Erika Elder is in her 2nd year of teaching and is a former alum of McCallum.

 

ORCHESTRA MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

LARGE ORCHESTRA CLASS/ENSEMBLE

To be taken every year.

MUSIC THEORY I/ PIANO I

Required in 11th grade.  Both theory and piano performance are part of the curriculum.  (Option to test out prior to spring break in 10th grade.)

AP MUSIC THEORY

Required in 12th grade.  Can be taken pass/fail.

PARTICIPATION IN UIL OR AISD SOLO CONTEST

Must be completed every year.

EARN A MINIMUM GRADE OF 70 IN EVERY CLASS

Evaluated every six weeks grading period.

EARN A MINIMUM GRADE OF 80 IN ALL FINE ARTS CLASSES LISTED ABOVE

Evaluated every six weeks grading period.

MAINTAIN A 90% OR ABOVE IN-CLASS ATTENDANCE RATE & HAVE NO SERIOUS BEHAVIOR INFRACTIONS

Evaluated every six weeks grading period and as needed.

ACADEMY ENRICHMENT PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENT

To be completed in 9th, 10th and 11th grade.

GRADUATE ON THE DISTINGUISHED PLAN

(4 core academic courses all 4 years)

 

ORCHESTRA COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

(Faculty assigned placement.)

This course consists of students in grades 10 through 12. Students audition for that group every year in May. The Orchestra serves as our varsity orchestra, performs at school functions, collaborates with other organizations, and performs for community events.

CONCERT ORCHESTRA

This course consists of students in grades 10 through 12. Students in this orchestra also work in an orchestra setting, get the chamber music experience and serve as one of our non-varsity competing orchestras. The students in this organization also have the opportunity to join with other orchestra students for community events.

NINTH GRADE ORCHESTRA

This course consists of students in grade 9. These students work in an orchestra setting, get the chamber music experience and also serve as on of our non-varsity competing orchestras. The students in this organization also have the opportunity to join with other orchestra students for community events.

INSTRUMENT ENSEMBLE

These courses are instrument specific (i.e. violin, viola, cello, bass). In these classes we focus on techniques unique to each instrument, region practice and performance for critiques, solo practice and performance for critiques, master classes with professors, and ensemble practice within each specific instrument.

MUSIC THEORY I/ PIANO I

(Taken in 11th grade.)

This course is designed to provide students an understanding of keyboarding skills. An emphasis is placed on developing technique and music reading. These skills will be demonstrated in both informal (class) and formal (recital) performance settings throughout the school year. An ability to read music in both bass and treble clef is suggested, but NOT required. Piano I is a great class for beginner pianists as well as pianists with previous experience but who have not had rigorous lessons recently. All students will work out of the same textbook, however, solo pieces will range in difficulty contingent on previous piano experience. Students will not only learn beginner to intermediate piano repertoire, but an extensive understanding of basic to intermediate music theory concepts as well.

AP MUSIC THEORY

(Taken in 12th grade.)

This course is designed to prepare you for the freshmen experience in music theory at the university level.  Strong emphasis is given to listening skills, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small-scale forms, and compositional techniques.  Fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology and analysis is required.  Throughout the course, you are encouraged to listen to musical works attentively and analytically, developing your “musical memory” and your ability to articulate responses to formal, stylistic, and other aesthetic qualities of the works.  Study both in and outside of the classroom is expected.  You will need to have a basic command of the piano keyboard and be able to play simple scales, chords and two, three and four-part harmonization.  Though not required, it is highly recommended that students take the AP Music Theory exam during the spring semester.

 

Fall 2020 MACOrchestra Virtual Highlights