The Allen ISD Orchestra program began in 1997 at the 6th-grade level with approximately 50 students. By 2002, the 30 member Allen High School orchestra began performing in their first concerts and festivals and earned their first “sweepstakes” UIL award. Since 2002, the HS orchestra program grew to 400+ students, placed in the finals of the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition in multiple years and was accepted to the Midwest Clinic in 2006 and 2022. Today, there are over 1,550 orchestra students in Allen ISD: eighteen elementary orchestras, three middle school orchestra programs with four or five orchestras each, a freshman center orchestra program with a full orchestra and four string orchestras, and the high school orchestra program with two full orchestras and six string orchestras. Students in the AISD orchestra program participate in UIL Region XXV Solo & Concert Contests and the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Orchestras and Bands.
Performing Arts in Allen ISD begins at the elementary level – where students participate in band, orchestra or choir in 6th grade. Beginning in middle school, students have the opportunity to continue their involvement in the performing arts – three middle schools offering leveled musical groups, extending through the freshman center and high school. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in various activities such as athletics, dance, and theatre. Many students are able to participate in multiple activities and are not limited to one choice. A district-wide philosophy of participation and inclusiveness with cooperation from all directors, teachers, coaches, and administrators is the hallmark of Allen ISD. Holistic learning is the main objective for our music programs throughout the district. The Allen community, which supports a professional symphony orchestra & chorus, as well as our school music programs, has an appreciation and commitment to the arts. Team teaching and vertical alignment in all performing arts programs promotes consistency and excellence in the education of our students. The success of the music program has proven this philosophy at the community, state, and national level. In 2011, 2015, and 2016, Allen HS received Grammy Signature School Awards for music excellence and in 2014, the Allen HS Orchestra received the American Prize in Orchestral Performance (High School).
Student Volunteers and Service is a large part of what makes Allen Orchestras successful. Many students dedicate their time inside and outside the orchestra to improve the community. Student volunteers help in a variety of manners, such as staffing Pre-UIL and UIL competitions, helping set-up for concerts, helping directors prepare and select music, and much more. However, of the hours’ students put into the program, much is independent groups of students forming and completing events outside of orchestra class. Allen Orchestra is proud to see the number of students who volunteer has significantly increased and has helped to improve Allen Orchestra, as well as the Allen community. Some notable examples are below:
Epoch Arts 4 Hope – Founded by students from Allen Orchestra, Epoch has grown to an organization with over 150 members in the DFW area. Epoch members help create a positive role and impact on their communities through visual arts, performing arts, martial arts, and academics.
The 25th Caprice – Founded by two students from Allen Orchestra, The 25th Caprice has grown to many members who hope to spread joy and impact their community. Members often join together to perform for different events and raise money for different organizations.
New Website Design – Cooper Christenson, a student from Allen Orchestra, helped the directors update the website to ensure its future stability. He worked closely with the directors in order to make a site that was clean, modern, and easily navigatable.