UIL & Competitions

Austin High Orchestras and individual students excel in UIL and other competitions, at the varsity and non-varsity level.

☆ 2023-24 UIL Achievements ☆

☆ 10 students advanced to state in Solo & Ensemble UIL

☆ Non-Varsity: 1 / Superior for Concert and Sight Reading at both Full Orchestra and String Orchestra UIL, winning a Sweepstakes (top score from all judges) at String UIL

☆ Varsity: 1 / Superior for Concert and Sight Reading at both Full Orchestra and String Orchestra UIL, winning a Sweepstakes at both

UIL and Other Competitions

The UIL season for orchestra falls in the spring semester and typically looks like this:

  • Solo & Ensemble UIL Competition: AHSO students are generally required to perform solos. It’s an opportunity to master and perform a solo for judges, which can boost student’s skill level, especially when they choose a more challenging piece of music. Those students that perform a solo from the most advanced category of music, play it from memory, and earn the highest rating on their performance (a 1) advance to the state-level competition, which is traditionally held during Memorial Day weekend.
  • Full Orchestra UIL: AHS orchestra and band students come together to form full varsity and non-varsity orchestras. They compete on both their performance (called Concert) and also in a separate Sight Reading test. About 2-3 weeks before the competition, the UIL hosts a “festival,” which we also call pre-UIL. The students perform their UIL music and get feedback from judges on how to improve before UIL.
  • String Orchestra UIL Competition: AHS sends a varsity and a non-varsity orchestra to compete on both performance (Concert) and Sight Reading. Again, UIL hosts a festival (pre-UIL) 2-3 weeks before the competition so orchestras can get feedback from judges.

Other competitions and local or regional opportunities include:

  • AISD All-City Orchestra: Students from across Austin are selected by their directors to participate in this concert at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.
  • AISD Solo & Ensemble: Students who advance to state in UIL solo & ensemble typically perform in the AISD Solo & Ensemble competition, held in April. It’s another opportunity to practice for the UIL competition. Each student will receive their judge’s comments and rating, with a “Best in Class” selection of students available for later taping. Students may have to pay for a piano accompanist.
  • Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-Region Orchestra: Students may audition to participate in the TMEA Region 18 Orchestra. More information is available at https://region18orchestra.com/.
  • TMEA All-State Orchestra: Students who place at the highest levels in the region competition are eligible to audition for All-State Orchestra.

Austin High Hosts the Middle School UIL

Austin High Orchestra also “hosts” the Middle School UIL competitions, and always needs student and parent volunteers to help make them a success by organizing and communicating at the event, arranging for lunches for the judges, recording results in the UIL system, and more.

In February / March, we “host” the orchestra competition, although it’s held at AISD Performing Arts Center.

In April / May, we host the solo & ensemble event at Austin High.

UIL Scoring / Ratings

Orchestras are given a rating by each judge of 1-5, with 1 being the best. For Concert performance, the scores are based on their tone, technique, and musicianship. The judges scores are averaged and the average is our official score. When we earn 1s from all judges, it’s called a sweepstakes.

About UIL

UIL (University Interscholastic League) organizes inter-school competitions across the state in athletics, academics, and music. It was created by the University of Texas at Austin and “exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests,” according to its site.

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