Join Dowell Orchestra!

We want 5th graders to join us in Dowell Orchestra next year! Please follow the steps below to start

Step 1: Mark Orchestra as your #1 elective on your 6th grade registration card.

Step 2: Go to our Virtual Orchestra Instrument Selection to sign up for an instrument or try out instruments in person by signing up for a time below! All violin, viola, cello, and bass spots are currently open!

Virtual Orchestra Instrument Selection:

Not sure which instrument is right for you? No problem! Sign up for a time below to try all of our Orchestra instruments in person!

Signup for Instrument Tryout:

Step 3: We’ll be in contact with final information about securing an instrument and you’re all set for orchestra next year!

Learn more about orchestra by watching our video below:

Questions: Contact Mr. Graber at

Week of 2/15-2/19: No School

Good afternoon,

All school activities, including asynchronous learning, have been cancelled. Access to Canvas and email is spotty at best, so I’ll be sending out information as soon as possible. Please note that as of today, we are still planning to have a concert on Tuesday, Feb. 23rd for Honors and Sinfonietta Orchestras beginning at 6:30pm.

Please stay warm and safe out there, and I can’t wait to see you when we get back in warmer weather!

Mr. Graber

Join Dowell ORchestra!

If you are an incoming 6th grader to Dowell MS, are interested in joining the orchestra, and know which instrument you would like to play, please fill out the Virtual Orchestra Instrument Selection Google forms below. All orchestra instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass) are available!

If you do not know which instrument you would like, no worries! You can check out all the instruments on the virtually on the google form. We will be holding an Instrument Selection Night which you can try out all the instruments to see which one is right for you! More info to come.

Virtual Orchestra Instrument Selection – English:

Virtual Orchestra Instrument Selection – Spanish:

Thank you for your interest and we are so excited to have you! Please email me (Mr. Graber) if you have any questions!

Pre UIL and UIL Info

Please read the following very carefully, as it contains important information regarding the UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Evaluation.

UIL will be virtual this year, meaning that we are professionally video recording the orchestras playing their concert and sight-reading portions and sending them to judges for evaluation. This recording will occur on two days:

Wednesday, March 3rd at McKinney Boyd Auditorium (concert portion only) – Parents are encouraged to watch!

            7:30pm for Sinfonietta Orchestra

            8:00pm for Honors Orchestra

Wednesday, March 24th at Dowell Middle School during the school day. (Concert and Sight-Reading portions)

We will also be holding this event in preparation:

Pre UIL Concert: Tuesday, February 23rd at the Dowell Middle School Gymnasium (CHANGED DATE)

            -Sinfonietta Orchestra: 6:30pm

            -Honors Orchestra: 7:15pm

The Pre-UIL Concert is an important preparatory concert in which students will first perform their 3 concert pieces and then a sight reading in front of parents. Due to social distancing guidelines, each group and attendees will be present at separate times (like the winter concert).

Virtual Learners – Please attend these concerts virtually or in person. More information on attending these concerts to follow as we get closer to the concerts.

Attendance at each of these events is mandatory, as this is our most important event of the year (analogous to the STAAR test for core classes).

Dress for all above events:

            2020-2021 Dowell Orchestra T-Shirt, Nice Jeans (No Holes), Closed Toed Shoes.

                        *Please note: This is in line with the dress of other McKinney ISD Fine Arts programs.

Dowell Middle School String Fling Concert Important Details


This is info about our Outdoor Beginner String Fling Concert on Thursday, October 8th at 6:00pm outside Dowell Middle School!

Information for the Outdoor String Fling Concert:

WHEN:           Concert – Thursday October 8th at 6:00pm

Students arrive at 5:40pm – Uncase in the orchestra room

NOTE: Virtual Learners who are joining us in person may uncase outside at a predesignated area near the performance spot and not in the orchestra room

WHO:              Performance Features Beginners and a special guest performance!

WHERE:        South Side of School—Lawn between the building and football field

  • Parents/family should plan to bring lawn chairs/picnic blankets to sit on. This are will be close to the parking lot, but visibility may be limited.

DRESS:       Orchestra T-Shirt and long, nice jeans (no holes). Shoes -Toes covered. Jacket/Sweatshirt optional

 Notes for Concert:

  • As required by Dowell MS/McKinney ISD/State of Texas – mask are required by all participants and patrons.
  • Parents and family drop off students at the front entrance of school. Virtual learners joining us in person may go straight to the performance area and uncase outside.
  • This concert will be live streamed using a secure site AnywhereSeat for Parents/Family!  I’ll send out the link via email and canvas. Streaming starts at 5:50pm

*Note – In the event that the live stream does not work, the concert will be recorded and I’ll send out the link in the following days.

  • Concert will be about a half hour long.
  • Virtual Learners: Please let me know if you plan to attend the concert in person by responding to this email by Monday, October 5th.
  • Students will be practicing for this concert on Tuesday, October 6th during 1st Period. Virtual Learners will need to participate using Zoom, regardless of if they’ll be in person or not. Students missing 1st P classes may go make up any working during their regular scheduled orchestra classes.

The beginners are doing great and everyone is looking forward to this event! Keep your fingers crossed that the weather remains beautiful!

Instrument Selection Night – Postponed



Due to the school closures from COVID-19, the Orchestra Instrument Selection Night has been postponed until further notice.


We will be getting in touch with parents personally via email about information regarding instrument selection. Right now, we are currently considering different options, including meeting our future orchestra students online for selecting and sizing.


Please be patient with us during this time. Rest assured, we’ll get instruments selected!

Thank you,


Michael Graber

Dowell MS Orchestra Director


UIL Congratulations!

Congratulations to all of our upper level groups for their outstanding work at UIL earlier in March! We are so proud of all of you!


If you would like to hear the recordings of their concert, please contact Mr. Graber at

Mark Wood On Youtube

Click the following link to see snippets from the McKinney ISD Middle School Orchestra’s ‘Electrify Your Strings’ program lead by Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Mark Wood.