Want to join orchestra? Here’s how!

Hello and Welcome to Cockrill!

We have 4 instruments for you to choose from: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Each year we have 2 events where we meet you, help your child select an instrument, and then size them. All of the instruments come in sizes to fit any child!

Our sizing events for students are Friday April 17th and Saturday April 18th. To join orchestra, you need to do the following:

On your course selection sheet put a 1 next to orchestra as your first elective choice.

Next, click on the links below to choose a night to select your instrument.

Friday 4/17 – times available from 4:15PM-7:30PM

Saturday 4/18 – times available from 9:00AM-1:00PM

Finally, you will want to set up your instrument rental with a local rental company. Please do not purchase an instrument online. There are a myriad of reasons not to buy online; the main reason being your student will grow significantly during middle school! You can read more here about online instrument purchasing.

We recommend Dallas Strings for your instrument rental needs. They have the best service and an on-site repair technician (luthier) who can fix any repairs needed.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Powelson with any questions! jpowelson@mckinneyisd.net

Orchestra updates 1/17/2020

Happy Friday, Orchestra Family! Lots of news! 


Due to the Hotmail/Live/MSN email blocking issue we are going to continue putting our weekly updates on Facebook, our website and also emailing through Canvas in addition to HAC.  This means that anyone who emails us through those domains will not receive a reply from us because the problem is apparently on Microsoft’s end. We reply, but the message bounces back to us as undeliverable.  MISD is still working to resolve the problem, but we have no idea when it will be fixed.  


Information about the Play-A-Thon came home this week.  This is our annual fundraiser that benefits our Booster Club scholarship fund.  This fund is used by several of our CMS students, and also MNHS as well. You can find the flyer HERE or ask your student to give your their hard copy from their binder.  Older students are performing in their ensembles, and those performance times were given in class this week.  Beginners are playing their solo material as large groups as well, and those performance times were given in class.  This is a summative grade and all students are required to attend.  


The beginner solo and upper level ensemble contest is on Saturday, February 1st at Faubion Middle School.  A schedule should hopefully be done by late next week, as this is a district-wide event.  


Earlier this week information regarding the Mark Wood DVD went home.  All orders are due 1/31 there will be no late orders accepted. The beginner winter concert information is available HERE.  The beginner videos are only available through next week, so if you want to buy one don’t wait!  

That’s all for now.  Have a great 3 day weekend!

Ms. Brown and Mr. Powelson

Orchestra updates 1/15/2020

Hello Orchestra Family! Lots of important information for you today- please read carefully and let us know if you have questions.

  1. HOTMAIL email: right now McKinney ISD is unable to send any mail to Hotmail accounts (and we’ve had the problem in the past with Yahoo as well). We can receive email from you, you just won’t see a response from us. Our district techies have done all they can, and the problem is on Hotmail’s side. Please add an alternate email into your HAC and CHARMS accounts so that you can continue receiving communication from us and all of your child’s teachers. We are crossing fingers that those of you with Hotmail accounts will get the message to check our website for this information because we do not have time to look you all up and call you individually! J
  • PANCAKE PLAY-A-THON performance at the MOBC fundraiser breakfast is next Saturday 9-12. This performance is a summative grade. Details on THIS SHEET are coming home today and individual time slots will be ready by next week. This is an event where students may leave after their individual performance, but we encourage you to buy some pancakes and stay to enjoy others’ music!
  • SOLO & ENSEMBLE CONTEST is the following Saturday Feb. 1 at Faubion between 8-3. This is also a summative grade. Tons of details are coming home next week, but the short story is that everyone will receive a specific 5 minute time slot to play for a judge, and will leave once they’re done. If you have another obligation that day, we can request a time slot that will not conflict. If you need to request a particular time to avoid another mandatory activity, please submit the following to Ms. Brown nbrown@mckinneyisd.net no later than this Friday Jan. 17 at noon:
  • Name of student
  • Type and location of conflicting activity
  • TIME of conflicting activity 
  • (For example: Suzy Smith has a church Confirmation Class in Frisco starting at 2:00 PM.)

Ms. Brown will submit this information to the contest organizers and they will do their best to accommodate your request.

  • EYS CONCERT VIDEO– Order forms are now available! This is a one-time offer so if you want a DVD of our awesome concert with Mark Wood back in December, now is your ONLY chance to get one! We are sending the hard copy order forms home today, and it is HERE for your convenience. Note that Evans Orchestra is the one collecting payment since they are the ones coordinating the DVD printing. Any proceeds will come back to CMS. J Send all order forms and money to school with your child or drop at the CMS front office.

Join our Remind text list

REMIND TEXTS: If you haven’t already joined the remind group for your child’s class, here’s how to join:

Send a text message to the number 81010
In the body of the text, type the following for the class you need to join:

@CMSO6th (Beginner Orchestra)
@CMSOPHIL (Philharmonic Orchestra)
@CMSOSINF (SInfonietta Orchestra)
@CMSOHONORS (Honors Orchestra)

Once you’ve joined, it will prompt you to put in your name. First name last initial is fine. Next it will prompt you to indicate if you are a student, parent, or teacher. If a student signs up, they are asked to tell their age. Follow the format and it will most likely notify the parent their child is signing up for Remind. We have disabled all internal messaging so please don’t try to message us from within Remind!

Once you’re signed up, it may prompt you to download the app. It’s free, and easy to use if you are on multiple Remind lists.

We will use Remind for reminders about rehearsals, social events, special events, and we also use them for traffic updates when we are travelling. It’s especially useful when we take our NRH2O trip!

Let us know if you have any questions!

Welcome Back To School!

We are super excited to see you all in a few weeks! In the meantime, we wanted to share some information for our new and returning CMS orchestra members:

  • Please visit the calendar page to see the events we currently have scheduled for the year. The NRH2O event dates may change, and we will make those changes known as soon as the calendar is finalized.
  • Each student in Philharmonic, Sinfonietta, and Honors will need a method book for use in class. Dallas Strings has these in stock, and Amazon may have them as well, but be careful when ordering online – be sure to read the description and order for the correct instrument.
  • Philharmonic: Essential Elements Book 2 for your instrument.
  • Sinfonietta: String Basics Book 2 for your instrument.
  • Honors: Muller-Rusch Book 3 for your instrument.

Also, be sure that your student has their next level Suzuki book for their instrument (EXCEPT BASS!)

Students in BEGINNER ORCHESTRA need to be sure their instrument rental is secured through Dallas Strings as soon as possible. Dallas Strings is able to deliver both the instrument and supply kit to Cockrill, provided you order it soon. Please click this link to visit their website to set up your rental. If you did not come to our instrument selection nights and did not get sized, go ahead and order a 3/4 size violin and we will have the correct size swapped out if it turns out that 3/4 is incorrect.

See you soon! Please email either of us if you have any questions!

Incoming 6th graders joining orchestra? Come see us!

We are so excited to meet all of our future orchestra students! Here are the steps to join us!

  • Be sure that you put orchestra as choice number “1” on your course selection sheet.
  • Sign up for one of our two instrument sizing and selection dates:

Saturday April 13th 9AM-1PM: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0e4ea9ac2ca7fc1-instrument4

Tuesday April 16th 4:15-7:30:

Taking orchestra will not only help you learn a new instrument, but you will also learn many college preparation skills! You will learn commitment, grit, rigor, organization, high personal standards, and most of all you will be setting yourself up for future success in anything you do. There are other ways to learn these skills, however our way helps you develop a love of music and most of all can lead to a college scholarship!

Snap Raise Fundraiser Coming Soon

Our fundraiser this year will be through Snap Raise.  Snap has been very successful with many local organizations and music programs, and we’re excited to work with them this year.  Our fundraiser will start on December 4th, and will run through Christmas.  Below is the letter parents will receive today in preparation for our kickoff next week.


We will be kicking off our Snap! Raise campaign next week with Brandon, our local rep. Snap is an online donation campaign that allows our program to receive donations from our networks and supporters. Snap uses the power of email, text, and social media with a safe, fun and interactive approach. All we ask is that each parent/guardian help their student gather 20 or more email addresses of their biggest fans. Please review the info below to see just how impactful this campaign can be for us.

*Your contacts are strictly private and protected, and never sold or shared.*

Snap Fact Overview:

  1. Safe and Protected – Snap! Raise is the safest online donation campaign available. All data is private and neverredistributed.
  2. Online donation platform– Reach donors via email, social media, and text so they can visit our page and seamlessly donate.
  3. Email Strategy –All supporters will receive a receipt for their gift that may be tax deductible, included with a personalized thank you from the student. There are three reminder emails sent to donors, with an option to unsubscribe.
  4. Network – Snap’s platform and process is what makes their campaigns so successful. It allows an extensive reach across communities by providing options to connect with multiple donors and their social networks, maximizing our raising efforts.

The Story behind Snap Raise: https://snap-raise.com/about

Snap Raise Coach Testimonial: https://vimeo.com/219162374/da22630c21