Honor Orchestra Mission Statement: The Honor Orchestra selection process seeks to recognize and honor quality musicianship in the performance of advanced literature at the highest level. Showcasing the quality teaching these exemplars represent promotes the growth and development of orchestra programs throughout Texas.
In 1960, Austin High School (El Paso), under the leadership of George Webber, became the first "Honor Orchestra" selected through competitive process. The purpose of Honor Band/Honor Orchestra was two-fold. Many educators believed that through the process of hearing and observing the results of quality teaching, directors could develop their own instructional skills to a higher level. In addition, selection of an honor orchestra recognized communities and school systems that successfully supported music in education through their instrumental music programs.
Through the years participation has been active and the recognition of exemplary programs through the honor orchestra selection process has become a highly sought after goal by many directors. As a result, the quality of honor groups has remained high and the original purpose of growth and development through observation of superior teaching and performance has been addressed annually and maintains its validity. Teachers throughout the state have had the opportunity to learn from master teachers by attending honor orchestra adjudication, performances, and director clinics.
While the original rules and regulations for the selection of honor orchestras have been refined on several occasions, the intent of those policies has remained intact. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the participating director and administration of the school involved to maintain the integrity of the honor orchestra process. In order for the selection system to accomplish its purpose, all involved must honestly adhere to the established procedures and share responsibility for maintaining high ethical standards. Furthermore, to remain educationally sound, preparation and participation must be consistent with worthwhile educational goals that do not exploit students or the system.
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