Research has proven that students benefit from the study of music. Test scores and concentration greatly increase through music. Orchestra allows individuals of any skill level to improve and find balance in life through music. The pieces played vary from classical to modern and even themes such as Star Wars! There is an opportunity to compete in a safe setting against students with similar skill sets, to obtain greatness by practicing and performing at home and at school. Our goal is to ensure that every student lives up to their full, musical ability.
ahso BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
When AHS opened its doors, there were few students enrolled in the orchestra program. Since that time, the program has grown into a huge success. In UIL competitions, we generally receive Sweepstakes, we sometimes send as many as 50 students to Region competition, and they progress to Area and then onto State. We have a wall of student portraits that have participated in State competitions in previous years. We have more students qualified for State this year than any other in our Region. We set high expectations and our qualified, driven but nurturing directors help our players achieve their dreams.
In past years, we've played Carnegie Hall, the DC Festival in San Antonio and Dallas, the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and have even traveled abroad. We play at graduation in the Smart Financial Center, the Home Coming Game at Mercer Stadium, Houston Food Bank Souper Bowl of Caring at local HEB's, and of course, the AHS Auditorium for seasonal concerts.
But don't think all we do is play music! Orchestra is also about developing friendships that last for years to come. We have some fun filled annual traditions that all are invited to participate in: Fish Camp (mini party for the new players at the beginning of the year), Big Brother/Sister Program, Secret Santa Gift Exchange, Progressive Holiday Dinner at Student Homes, End of the Year Banquet, Senior Leap Pool Party, etc.
MS. ANN VICTOR
DIRECTOR OF ORCHESTRAS
Ann Victor is currently the Orchestra Director at Stephen F. Austin High School (AHS) in the Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD). She has served in this capacity since 2016. Prior to this position, Ms. Victor was Orchestra Director at Sartartia Middle School (SMS) since the school opened in 2001. While at Sartartia, Ms. Victor’s orchestra has regularly ranked among the top six middle school orchestras in the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition, including finalist rankings in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012; has continuously received “Sweepstakes Awards” at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions; and has averaged 29 students each year performing in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region XIII orchestras. Under Ms. Victor’s musical leadership, the SMS orchestra has performed three times at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago; received first place in the Middle School Orchestra Division of the 2005 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) with National School Orchestra Association National Conference in Reno, Nevada in 2006; has performed as the featured middle school orchestra at the 2009 ASTA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia; has performed in Tianjin, China and on the Great Wall in Beijing, China in June 2006. The SMS String Orchestra has received multiple “Mark of Excellence” awards from The Foundation for Music Education, including recognition as a National Winner in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014, and as a Commended Winner in 2015. In 2009 and 2011, SMS Orchestra was featured on the website for the “Live from Lincoln Center – Outstanding Student Performances.” Before joining the SMS faculty, Ms. Victor was the Orchestra Director for four years at Macario Garcia Middle School (MGMS), also in Fort Bend ISD, during which time, the MGMS Symphony Orchestra won many awards and accolades, including the orchestra’s 1998 performance at The Midwest Clinic; a performance at The International String Workshop in Graz, Austria in 2000, numerous successive U.I.L. “Sweepstakes Awards,” and three consecutive rankings in the top five orchestras in the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition.
Ms. Victor previously served as Orchestra Director at Albright Middle School, in Alief, Texas; at Baytown Junior High School, in Baytown, Texas; and, at Bowie Junior High School, in Odessa, Texas. She was also a Cello/ Bass Instructor at Lamar University, in Beaumont, Texas. Ms. Victor graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, in Interlochen, Michigan, earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Performance from Kent State University in Ohio, and completed coursework towards the DMA in Cello Performance from The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, Texas, studying under Phyllis Young. While at UT, Ms. Victor served as Administrative Coordinator in the “University of Texas String Project” under the direction of Ms. Young. Other previous cello teachers include Alan Collins, Stephen Stalker, and Moshe Amitay. Among Ms. Victor’s numerous honors and awards are 2008 Campus Teach of the Year for SMS and District Finalist (FBISD) for Secondary Teacher of the Year; 2010 HEB Excellence in Education finalist; and, in 2015, the Houston Symphony and Spec’s Award for Excellence in Music Education. Ms. Victor has presented clinics at TMEA, in 2006 a clinic titled “Fun In Thumb Position” on the cello along with Dr. Peter Kempter and Courtenay Vandiver; and in 2010 a clinic with James Drew and Carolyn Vandiver for the Three M’s for Managing a Successful Program.