Choir/Piano Picnic, Graduation, and Our Last Concert for 2017-2018

Good afternoon!

It's almost the end of the year, but we still have a ton of things to accomplish! Below I've outlined everything you need to know from now until 5/31 (Graduation day!)

  • Monday, 5/21: After-school rehearsal for 2nd/6th periods for Someone to Watch Over Me and I Have Had Singing. Mandatory for all 2nd/6th period students, casual dress. 4:30-6:00 PM. Parent pick up no later than 6:15 PM, please.
  • Tuesday, 5/22: All students stay after school for their joint Spring Concert. The concert starts at 7:00 PM, and will last a little longer than usual since it's a joint concert and we also honor our seniors on this evening. Attendance is mandatory for all choir students in 1st, 2nd, and 6th-period classes. Tuxes/gowns, please bring your own sack dinner. Students may not leave campus after school. We've had a lot of issues with incorrect shoes at performances lately. Please make sure your student has the right footwear for their uniform! Attendance will be taken, before, during, and after the concert as usual. Students/parents may not leave once the choir is done, we will all stay and support our band colleagues.
  • Thursday, 5/24: 5th/6th Period exams during the school day. Please bring all uniforms, binders, and choir 'stuff' to school so we can inventory it and make sure everything is accounted for. School releases at 1:10 PM. Our spring picnic is this day, and we will begin setup at 5 PM. I could use 5-10 students to help with setup and a few parents. We are also in need of some grills to cook the hotdogs and hamburgers on, and a parent or two to volunteer to cook them. If you have one you would be willing to loan, or are interested in grilling, please let me know! The picnic starts at 6 PM, and students need to be picked up by 8 PM (we have to completely vacate the park before dark, as it is illegal to be there once the sun goes down). Attendance at this event is optional, you just need to sign up at this link, and bring whatever you signed up for. Casual dress. We will be watching the slideshow at this event as well, so if you or your student have any pictures you'd like me to include, please let me know by emailing me at!
  • Friday, 5/25: 1st/2nd Period exams during the school day. School releases at 1:10 PM. Please bring all uniforms, binders, and choir 'stuff' to school so we can inventory it and make sure everything is accounted for. After school, students going to TSSEC will be rehearsing with their accompanist between 1:20 PM and 2:00 PM. Students need to bring the $40 for the accompanist on this date.
  • Monday, 5/28: State TSSEC. Skyler Melder and Aleisha Smith are the only two students participating in this event. The event is on UT's campus. I will drive the students there, but parents will need to pick them up. Both students will need to fill out this form so I can drive them, and I'll need your addresses so I can pick you up. Their performance times are:
  • Tuesday, 5/29: 7th/8th-period exams. School releases at 1:10 PM.
  • Wednesday, 5/30: 3rd/4th-period exams. School releases at 1:10 PM. Last day of school!
  • Thursday, 5/31: Graduation day for all seniors. Since we sing at graduation, we will need to rehearse. All 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 6th-period choir members (except for seniors) need to be at school at 3:30 to start rehearsal. Between 2:30 and 7:00 PM, we will rehearse, eat, load buses, travel to the Frank Erwin Center, etc. Please be flexible - I'm still waiting on a few specifics to be able to tell you concrete times. The only real times I know right now are that the buses for graduation will be leaving at 4, and that graduation will start at 7. I expect graduation to be over around 8:15-8:30, and for us to be back at Akins around 9:00 PM. Please be ready to pick your students up no later than 9:15 PM.
  • SUMMER! Thank you so much for everything that students, parents, guardians, etc. have done for me and the choir this year and in years past. I will sincerely miss every single one of my students and look forward to seeing where everyone goes in the future!

End of the Year Events and Mrs. Ballard Moving On

Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and students!

As we close the year out, there are a few things I would like to go over that will be happening in the remaining weeks. First up though, is to announce that this will be my last year with Akins. I've decided that being a stay-at-home mother is the right decision for my family right now, but I will miss Akins and choir/piano dearly. See below for my official announcement.

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 2.14.42 PM.png

There are a few events coming up that you need to know about:

Wednesday, 5/2 - Jazz Band/Choir rehearsal 4:30-5:30 (select 6th period members only, casual dress)

Tuesday, 5/8 - Thursday, 5/10 - STAAR testing during the regular school day

Monday, 5/14 - AP Music Theory Exam (AP Music Theory students only, casual dress)

Monday, 5/21 - Senior finals begin

Tuesday, 5/22 - Joint Choir/Piano Spring Concert (ALL CHOIR STUDENTS REQUIRED TO ATTEND, Tuxes/Gowns, 7 PM start time at Akins HS, all parents/guardians invited. Students need to stay after school for rehearsal and set up. They will need to bring a sack dinner, as no food will be provided)

Thursday, 5/24 - 5th/6th Period Finals, Choir/Piano/Theory Picnic. This is not mandatory, but I would love everyone to come. It is a potluck style event, but there is no ticket price. There will be a slideshow, games, decorations, and awards. Start time is 6 PM, students need to be picked up by 8 PM. Please sign up at to tell me what you'll be bringing.

Friday, 5/25 - 1st/2nd Period Finals

Monday, 5/28 - TSSEC. The two students that made State Solo and Ensemble will perform for the judges at the State level on this date. Specific times have been communicated to those students, but I need to know what day of the week works best for you in terms of rehearsals before school. $45 for accompanist fees due to me ASAP.

Tuesday, 5/29 - 7th/8th Period Finals

Wednesday, 5/30 - 3rd/4th Period Finals

Thursday, 5/31 - Graduation (All current and future top choir members are REQUIRED to sing at Graduation. I don't have specifics on times yet from our administration, but when I do, you will be the first to know! Tuxes/Gowns)

Just a few more reminders:

  • ALL DUES ARE NOW VERY OVERDUE. UNPAID FEES WILL RESULT IN STUDENTS BEING PLACED ON THE AKINS OBLIGATION LIST. THIS MEANS NO PROM, NO DIPLOMA, ETC. Please pay your fees as soon as possible. If you aren't sure what you owe, check Charms, or email me and I will give you an account balance.
  • Every student is responsible for their tux/gown. If it has gone missing this year, that student is responsible for replacing the item. Tuxes/Gowns will be counted and checked in 5/23 after our Spring Concert.
  • Every student is responsible for returning their black binder in GOOD condition after the spring concert. If the binder is in bad condition, or is missing, the cost of the binder will be assessed to the student's account.

UIL Specifics

Parents and Guardians,

Transportation, AISD Fine Arts, and I have finally settled on a schedule for UIL next week. Please look over your student’s schedule and let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, April 17th

Men’s and Women’s Choirs (1st and 2nd Period) will report to the choir room at the beginning of 6th period. Students MAY NOT eat lunch in the cafeteria, since we have to board the buses at 11:30 AM. Students will need to bring a sack lunch.

11:10 AM - Students report to choir room

11:10 AM-11:25 AM - Students change into tuxes and gowns. They may eat their sack lunches during this time or on the bus.

11:30 AM - Board buses and travel to the Hays PAC

12:30 PM - Buses drop off at Hays PAC

12:40 PM - Women’s Choir Warm Up

1:00 PM - Women’s Concert Performance

1:20 PM - Women’s Sight Reading Performance

1:20 PM - Men’s Choir Warm Up

1:40 PM - Men’s Concert Performance

2:00 PM - Men’s Sight Reading Performance

3:00 PM - Buses pickup from Hays PAC

3:30 PM - Buses drop off at Akins HS

3:30-4:00 PM - Students change into regular clothes

4:00 PM - Students back to 8th period

Wednesday, April 18th

Madrigal Choir (6th Period) will report to the choir room at the beginning of 1st period. They do not need to check in with their 1st period teachers, but DO need to bring a sack lunch. 

9:00 AM - Arrive at Akins HS

9:00-9:30 AM - Change into concert dress

9:30 AM-10:15 AM - Dress Rehearsal

10:15 AM - Board buses and travel to Hays PAC

11:15 AM - Buses drop off at Hays PAC

11:20 AM - Madrigals Warm Up

11:40 AM - Madrigals Concert Performance

12:00 PM - Madrigals Sight Reading Performance

12:45 PM - Board AISD Bus and travel back to Akins HS (eat lunches on the bus)

1:15 PM - Arrive back at Akins HS

1:15-1:30 - Students change into regular clothes

1:30 PM - Students back to 3rd period

Please remember that all students performing need to have their entire uniform. Shoes have been an issue this year - dress shoes are the only ones permitted. No jewelry, please.

Thank you for your continued support! I can’t wait to show off all the hard work your students have done!