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The secondary music program at MHS is designed to provide opportunities for each student to develop his/her creative talents in a number of ways. The program consists of four areas—band, choir, orchestra, and music theory.
The band program begins in the sixth grade where members of the program are enrolled in classes of similar instruments. These classes meet daily and focus on establishing and developing basic musical and performance skills. The classes combine on two or more occasions during the year to present concerts for the parents and public, usually during February and May.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students are provided their first opportunity to be a member of a full band. The bands perform from three to five concerts each year, including performances for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) concert and sight-reading events. Students may elect to participate in the PISD solo-ensemble contest or the TMEA all region band audition process, to further develop their individual musicianship. Rehearsal time outside the school day is usually limited to one forty-five minute sectional each week.
The ninth and tenth grade, or high school, bands provide the students with their introduction to the marching program. The high school bands rehearse outside the school day during the fall and perform at all home football games. In addition to the UIL and TMEA events in which the middle schools compete, the high school bands also enter UIL marching contest. In addition to the local performance opportunities, the high school bands take an in-state, overnight trip to a performance festival on alternate years.
The McKinney High School Orchestra program began in 2006 with only a handful of students, and has grown to have six performing ensembles, including five string orchestras and a varsity full symphonic orchestra.
In addition to our orchestra classes, we also have opportunities for students to meet and perform in groups outside of class such as our cello choir ensemble, various string quartets, and volunteer groups that meet up and play for community events.
Although the MHS Orchestra program is relatively new to McKinney, it has established a tradition of excellence and quality of musical performance. All students perform a minimum of four concerts a year – fall, winter, pre-UIL, and spring – and participate in various contest performances throughout the year. Our varsity string orchestra often participates in TMEA Honor Orchestra competition, and all of the orchestras compete in the State UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest. All students also perform in our Solo and Ensemble competition, with advancement opportunities to the district Honors Recital. Students have the opportunity to attend an out-of-town or out-of-state festival annually every spring. Past spring trips have included Colorado, Houston, and Corpus Christi.
Our Orchestra Officer Council also helps plan our social events throughout the year. Contact directors Jeff Harvick or Meara O’Neill for more information about MHS Orchestra or to schedule an audition.
Visit our website at www.mhsorch.com
The McKinney High School Choir Department is comprised of five performing ensembles ranging from entry-level singers to pre-collegiate performers. Choirs are “co-curricular” offerings meaning that they have a TEKS based, state-approved curriculum but have portions of their activities that are classified as “extra-curricular.” Membership requires an audition/interview with the directors. Students are placed in skill appropriate groups. In addition to its normal concert season, the McKinney High School Choirs are notable because of their annual “Feast of Carols” Madrigal Dinner and “THE PORCH” concert. Interested students should contact Ms. Johnston or Mr. Lessmann for more information regarding choir.
The Marquettes promote school spirit and teach students the art of dance/drill. The Marquettes perform all Varsity football games, pep rallies, competitions, and at a variety of community events. Auditions for Marquettes are held every year in the spring.
MHS has long had a reputation for quality Theatre Arts Programs. The teachers and staff are dedicated to providing a variety of programming which will challenge, improve, and strengthen what the child learns in the Theatre classroom. Though entry into the theatre program may occur at any point in the secondary school years, students may begin their study of theatre at the middle school level in 7th or 8th grade.