• The Orchestra Program:
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    Class Description:
    In this performance ensemble, we refine and perfect all of the music in all musical aspects such as, but not limited to reading music, rhythms, pitches, intonation, balance, dynamics, articulations, phrasing, styles, and making connections between the music, the conceptual idea of the piece, life lessons, and about our and the piece’s role within society. The orchestra will participate in seasonal concerts, festivals, UIL events, and other various events.
    Ensembles Offered and Prerequisites –
    Ensembles - 4th Grade Beginner Orchestra, 5th Grade Intermediate Orchestra, MS Beginner Orchestra, MS Intermediate Orchestra, MS UIL Competitive Orchestra 
    4th grade Beginning Orchestra students will enter without any current experience.
    5th grade Advanced Orchestra students should have one year of prior experience.
    MS Orchestra students should have 0-3 years of experience and may be audition based.
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    2016-2020 Accomplishments & Recognition:
    Joint concerts with Booker T. Washington H.S. Sinfonia Strings
    5th Grade Advanced Orchestra Black Violin Performance
    Performances at SMU, Perot Museum, Sylvan Thirty Grand Opening, Greiner M.S., Meyerson Symphony Center
    Recorded a news segment for the DSO Young Strings Program
    Accepted into the Disney World Performing Arts Series (Fl.)
    Cliniced by Nicola Benedetti
    Pride of Texas Music Festival First Division Ratings (2017 -2019)
    Cliniced by Carlos Simon    
    Cliniced by Gina Chavez
    2020 UIL Division II Ratings     
    Class Objectives:
    4th Grade Beginning Orchestra Students will be able to….
    Count Rhythmic Patterns
    Clap Rhythmic Patterns
    Recite Note Values
    Define Basic Music Terminology
    Understand Basic Music Theory
    Demonstrate Correct Holding Position w/h Instrument
    Demonstrate Correct Sitting Position
    Demonstrate Correct Playing Position
    Read Music for Primary Instrument
    Text: Essential Elements 2000 Book I, Sheet Music
    5th Grade Advance Orchestra Students will be able to…
    Demonstrate Correct Holding Position w/h Instrument
    Demonstrate Correct Sitting Position
    Demonstrate Correct Playing Position
    Recognize Various Clefs for each Instruments
    Manipulate Bow while Playing Instrument
    Demonstrate Correct Bow Placement
    Hold Bow Correctly
    Sight-Read Level 1/2 - 1 Music
    Performance Level 1-1 1/2 Music
    Text: Essential Elements Book I/II, Sheet Music
    M.S. Orchestra Students will be able to….                                  
    Play 5 major Scales & Arpeggios
    Play 2 Octave Scale
    Shift & Use Vibrato
    Sight-read Level 1 & 2 Music
    Tune Primary Instrument
    Performance Level 2 Music
    Text: Sheet Music, Essential Elements 2000 Book I/II 
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    Private Lessons: They are highly recommended outside of normal class instruction. If interested, please contact Mr. Hillegass at MHillegassjr@Dallasisd.org.
    Dallas Orchestra: https://www.mydso.com/
    Dallas Youth Symphony: http://www.gdyo.org/
    Mark Hillegass Jr. (Director of Orchestras/General Music):

    Mr. Hillegass is in his 10th year teaching and 5th year as the Director of Orchestras at Sidney Lanier. A graduate of the College of Wooster(Wooster, OH), he is certified in Music Education, Saxophone Performance, and Theatre. He has performed with the Unlimited Jazz Big Band, Edge of Texas Concert Band, El Paso Wind Symphony, Waco Community Band, and Arlington Community Band. In 2019, he was recognized and awarded as a Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Teacher of the Year Finalist and in 2020, was named Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Teacher of the Year.  Lastly, outside of teaching, he is a published composer.