McAllen ISD led the way with 11 groups earning the highest award at the UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest for Middle School String Orchestras and High School Full Orchestras recently at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Seven middle school orchestras and four high school orchestras earned Sweepstakes (highest musical score).

“The groups from McAllen ISD were outstanding,” McAllen ISD Fine Arts Director Jim Egger said. “Congratulations to all of these very talented orchestra students and their hard working teachers. This year, five of our seven middle schools sent two orchestras to contest. This is the most Non-Varsity Middle School String Orchestras that McAllen ISD has ever sent to UIL.”

History was also made with the Full Orchestras. For the past three years, McAllen High has sent three Full Orchestras to UIL. This year, all three received the UIL Sweepstakes Award.

“They were all so strong, that every judge gave all three groups a Superior Rating,” Egger said. “That means that McAllen High received 18 Division Ones.”

McAllen ISD sent 17 groups to UIL, of which, 11 earned a Sweepstakes Award. Fourteen of the groups came home with at least a Sweepstakes trophy or a Superior plaque. McAllen ISD produced 35 percent of the total groups performing and won 44 percent of the Sweepstakes Awards. Both of these numbers were higher than any other school district in the region.

The McAllen ISD String Orchestras and Middle School Full Orchestras will compete at UIL in April.

Schools that received awards at the UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest include:

Sweepstakes: Cathey MS Varsity String Orchestra, Cathey MS Non-Varsity String Orchestra, De Leon MS Varsity String Orchestra, Fossum MS Non-Varsity String Orchestra, Morris MS Varsity String Orchestra, Morris MS Non-Varsity String Orchestra, Travis MS Varsity String Orchestra, McAllen HS Varsity Full Orchestra, McAllen HS Non- Varsity Full Orchestra, McAllen HS Sub Non-Varsity Full Orchestra and Memorial HS Varsity Full Orchestra.

Superior in Sight-Reading: Brown MS Varsity String Orchestra.