Austin High School
Stephen F. Austin High School opened its doors to students in August 1995. This outstanding school is part of the Fort Bend Independent School District in the state of Texas. The school has been recognized by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the top 10 high schools in the state of Texas. FBISD has similarly been named one of the top 100 School Districts in the nation for its Fine Arts Education. With FBISD enrolling over 60,000 students each year, Austin High School's enrollment exceeds 2,500 students.
Stephen F. Austin, the man, is known as the Father of Texas and founder of Anglo-American Texas. It is after him that the high school is named.
Austin High School supports six outstanding orchestras - Camerata, Symphony, Philharmonic, Chamber and Sinfonia Orchestras and a special group of students comprised of musicians with no previous training in strings - our Beginning Orchestra. These groups are composed of more than one two hundred of the school's best and most accomplished students. Many of the members of this orchestra have been recognized as outstanding musicians, having been members of various TMEA Orchestras. A majority of the students have also auditioned and have been selected to participate in several organizations which draw from the best youth musicians in the greater Houston area: Houston Youth Symphony, American Festival of the Arts, and Virtuosi of Houston. This orchestra program is under the experienced leadership of Mrs. Carolyn Vandiver.
THe 2012-2013 school year marks the debut of the Camerata Orchestra. This top level orchestra will be comprised of the premier musicians of Stephen F. Austin High School and will make the upcoming school year the time to make its mark in the records of Stephen F. Austin High School, Fort Bend ISD, the state of Texas and even the United States. Comprised of strings (violin, viola, cello, bass, and harp) and the piano - we are pleased and excited to watch this orchestra excel as does all of AHS Orchestras.
The Symphony Orchestra
Full Symphony Orchestra - comprised of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion - has received the honor of performing at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois in December of 2003 and again in 2008. This orchestra was also invited to play in Washington D.C. to represent the state of Texas at the dedication of the World War II memorial.
Symphony String Orchestra - comprised of strings (violin, viola, cello, bass, and harp) and the piano - repeatedly ranks among the top ten orchestras in the state of Texas and has won Sweepstakes every year in the UIL String competition. They also had the great honor of performing at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York in April of 2005 and performing on a tour of Austria and the Czech Republic in the spring of 2007 and spring of 2012.
The Philharmonic Orchestra
The Philharmonic Orchestra is a non-varsity organization which performs with wind instruments as a full orchestra or as a stand alone string orchestra. The Philharmonic Full Orchestra has performed with band members in the UIL Full Orchestra competition where they have received all "ones" or Sweepstakes - the highest score an orchestra can receive. These students have the opportunity to perform in TMEA and UIL competitions and also travel with the Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra program is also under the experienced leadership of Mrs. Carolyn Vandiver.
The Chamber Orchestra
The Chamber Orchestra is a non-varsity group which performs as a string ensemble. They made their first performance in UIL competitions in the 2009 school year and have grown into a much larger group for this current school year. In Chamber Orchestra the student will receive introduction to 3 octave scales and arpeggios and various bowing techniques. Also introduction of new clefs, rhythms and positions.
The newest addition to Austin High School's family of orchestras beginning with the 2010/2011 academic year. In Sinfonia, performers will drill on basic playing positions, 2 octave scales and arpeggios. They will also drill on bow placement and distribution.
This orchestra is for students that have never played a string instrument. In Beginning orchestra students are taught note reading and introduction to actually playing either violin, viola, cello or string bass. (Typically, high school students learn twice as much as a beginner in middle school). By the end of the school year, the student will be able to play numerous pieces. Give it a try! No musical experience is required.