National Winners: Mark of Excellence, National Orchestra Honors

winners-orchestra-lgWe are pleased to share that Plano West Orchestras have been named National Winners in two Mark of Excellence competitions!

The Chamber Orchestra was named a National Winner in the string orchestra category, submitting last year’s performances of Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht and Mozart’s Divertimento in D.

The Symphony Orchestra was named a National Winner in the full orchestra category, submitting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Movement 1, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, Movement 3.

All-State Results

Congrats to the following Plano West Orchestra students for their outstanding achievement in selection as All-State Orchestra members!  16 is a Plano West record!


Kevin Bai – 18 (Symphony)

Alan Bouda – 21 (Symphony)

Cedric Hu – 26 (Symphony)

Raymond Chen – 40 (Symphony)

Tim Wang – 52 (Philharmonic)

Matthew Zhao – 78 (Philharmonic)


Kevin Lin – 2 (Symphony)

Navin Ahire – 4 (Symphony)

Luke Fullington – 13 (Symphony)

Annette Tsong – 14 (Symphony)

Serena Cheng – 21 (Philharmonic)


Gahwon Lee – 2 (Symphony)


Alice Zhao – 9 (Symphony)

Blake Aldridge – 28 (String)

Mikey McNamara – 39 (Band)


Daniel Che – 4

Carmina Burana

Home hear Carl Orff’s epic Carmina Burana, performed by the Plano West Orchestra and Chorus.  The performance will be on December 2, 7pm, at St. Andrew United Methodist Church on Plano Parkway.

The church will not allow ticket sales at the door, so all tickets must be pre-purchased.  You will then claim your ticket at the church at the “Will Call” table.  To order your ticket, click here.

3rd Place: Honor Full Orchestra

I’m happy to share that the Plano West Symphony made 3rd place in today’s Honor Full Orchestra finals.  This is an amazing result regardless, but one even more so amazing since the full orchestra recorded only 2 weeks after our TMEA string orchestra performance.  This is the first time in Plano West history that the full orchestra made finals, and  I’m beyond proud of the hard work that the orchestra members invested to achieve this result.

Congratulations go out to our friends at Martin HS in Arlington ISD for their win.  I had the privilege to hear their recording at the contest, and it was an outstanding performance without qualification.  Bravi tutti!

TMEA Honor Full Orchestra Finalists

TMEA_Logo_BlueI’m pleased to announce that the Plano West Symphony Orchestra (full orchestra), has been named a finalist in the TMEA Honor Orchestra competition!  Although our orchestra program has been named the TMEA Honor Orchestra winner six times in string orchestra, this is the first time in school history that we have been named a finalist in the full orchestra category.  Congratulations to everyone who was involved, especially graduated Seniors!  The final round will be judged on July 21 in San Antonio, Texas.

2016-2017 Orchestra Placements

Dear Students,

Below, you will find a link to find your orchestra placement for next school year.  Students are listed by student ID number in a randomized order that does not reflect your placement within your ensemble.

The nature of auditions is that some people are happy with their placements, but others feel some disappointment.  Please understand that Mrs. Gross and I spent a great deal of time working through the audition results to guarantee that everyone is in the group that will allow them to succeed, but also to become better musicians.  Most importantly, please don’t let the results define you as a musician or as a person.  In the end, none of this matters that much.  But the work that you will do (or not do) means everything about who you will become as a person.

If you’re disappointed, please consider a few points:

  1. The level of competition at West is high.  Really high.  The upside of this is that all of our orchestras really play beyond their apparent level.   For example, the third orchestra at West is playing at a level much higher than the top orchestra at most schools in Texas.  Regardless of the group you’re in, it is going to be good.

2.  It is totally normal to be in a “lower” group at West than you were in at Shepton or Jasper.  Juniors, remember that you were auditioning against seniors with more experience and against talented players from the other high school.  Believe me, though, that the level of music we will be playing in the groups will not in any way be a step back from what you are accustomed to.

I’m so excited for our orchestra next year!  This will be the largest Plano West Orchestra in history.  Let’s make it a great year!


Senior Orchestra Officers

We are so pleased to announce our Senior Orchestra Leadership team for next school year.  This was an incredibly difficult selection process, and we are so pleased there was so much interest in being a part of making the Plano West Orchestra the very best!

Officers, please plan on a work day this summer.  Most likely it will be on August 19, so put that on your calendar.  If things change, we’ll let you know.  Be sure to get connected on the Office Facebook page.


Zoe M

Alice Z

Members at Large

Krystal L

Sharon S

Raymond C

Serena C

Dominique M

Samantha C

Paolo A

Emily S

Katherine M

Roger D

Eddie W

Ramya P

Shivani K

Mason S

Jacqueline C

Essence R

Amanda W

Alexis R

Ana S.

Tiffany K.

Ian H.

Emily C.

Uma K.

Hana H.

Sri B.

Amit S.

Senior/Alumni Performance (May 25)


Are you a Plano West Orchestra alumni?  Then join us on our last concert of the year for a new orchestra tradition.  We are going to end the May 25 concert with a special senior performance (Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera).  Mid-performance, orchestra alumni will join the seniors on stage to finish out the piece.  Help transition the seniors to “alumni-hood” if you’re available!

This tradition will continue every year, so keep an eye out in the future as well.

There will be an optional rehearsal on May 24 from 6:00 to 6:30pm. Come to the PWSH Orchestra Room.  Within the next week, we’re also going to try to post some practice videos to help out.

The concert will be on May 25 at 7:00pm.  The senior performance will be the last piece on the program, so it will happen at some point after 8:30pm.  You will need to be backstage as Chamber Orchestra is performing their final piece.  Attire is casual…. if you have an old orchestra t-shirt, wear that!

If you want to participate, print out the music posted at  (All piano and percussion parts will be covered by PWSH students.  Do not print these parts)  You will need to provide your own instruments.  If you’re a cello or bass player, we MIGHT have a limited number of instruments to lend.  Please email PWSH Orchestra Director Ryan Ross at to inquire on a possible instrument-borrow.

As marked in the music, the piece will begin with only seniors playing on stage.  When they reach measure 14, alumni will begin to take their place on stage while seniors continue to play.  At measure 31, we will repeat back to 14, and on the repeat alumni will join.  From there, the entire group will play to the end.

Our email database only goes back to 2011 or so.  Please help spread the word to our alumni going all the way back to 2001!

Please RSVP to Ryan Ross if you plan to join.