Record number of orchestra students make All-Region


Orchestra students competed in All-Region at Independence High School in Frisco on Saturday, October 15th. A record number of students made it through the audition process.

“All-Region orchestra is sponsored by TMEA, the Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas is divided up into regions,” orchestra director Mr. Smith explained. “Our region is comprised of McKinney, and Frisco, and Prosper ISD, and students from those districts have the opportunity to learn really challenging music… then play for judges in blind auditions.” Scores are assigned, and the top auditions are selected for an “all-star orchestra.”

Many orchestra students audition for All-Region, and making it is difficult. Only the very best players are chosen to take part.

“My goal is, first of all, for my students to learn something from it, to improve regardless of if they made it or not,” Mr. Smith shared, “but also to have the most students make All-Region from North ever.” This goal was met. “All of my students improved, and we had nine students make All-Region, which is the most ever” in McKinney North history, breaking last year’s record of eight students.

There are three possible orchestras students can make: String, Philharmonic, and Symphony. Cello Emily Schwichow made the 5th chair of the String Orchestra. Isaiah Alvarez (3rd chair 1st violin), Ujjwala Morum (8th chair 2nd violin), and Alyssia Simmons (5th chair bass) made the Philharmonic Orchestra. Leo Yamauchi (6th chair 1st violin), Serena Oh (2nd chair viola), David Walker (6th chair cello), Jackson Reeder (4th chair bass), and Preston Quintero (5th chair bass) made the Symphony Orchestra.

These orchestras will perform in December, conducted by a guest clinician. Students from McKinney North will get to perform with other elite players from the rest of the region.

The process doesn’t end there, though. “Four students will be going on to Area orchestra, which means they get to record for All-State orchestra,” said Mr. Smith, “and if they make All-State orchestra they get to perform in San Antonio in February.”

McKinney North had one student, current junior Leo Yamauchi, make this orchestra last year. “Having a student that made All-State orchestra last year is exciting,” said Mr. Smith. “We hope that person makes it again, but then also maybe more to go into it, because All-State is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”