Happy Spring Break - Trip/UIL/Grading Updates

Happy almost Spring Break! A few reminders and updates going forward:

Trip Money

Our trip is now very close - April 20th will be here before we know it! Many students still owe fees for the trip, and I am out of options on how to cover those costs. The last payment was due 3/2/2018, but many students still have balances. We have exhausted our fundraisers for this year, and our GoFundMe has come to a close, but there is still a little over $20,000 in outstanding fees.



I understand obligations come up, but these have been due for months and I cannot cover them any longer. I try to be as understanding as I can, but I’m out of options. Please get the fees in as soon as possible.

If fees are not paid on time, there is a late fee of $250 assessed. If the final payment is more than 7 days past due, 10% of the balance owed is due on top of the original amount due. These costs WILL NOT be covered by Akins, and will be passed on to you those that have not paid on time. These fees will continue to follow your student during his/her time here at Akins, and they will not be allowed to unenroll or graduate without paying the balance in full.


Mandatory Trip Parent Meeting

At least one parent/guardian representative of each student attending the trip will need to come to a mandatory meeting between 6:30-7:30, April 5th. At this meeting we will discuss:

  • Behavioral expectations and consequences

  • Times for drop off/pick up at airport

  • Itinerary for trip

  • Parent contact information in case of emergencies

  • Medication information

  • General trip information

  • Final amounts due

Choir Pre-UIL and UIL

I just got information today about Pre-UIL, but I am still waiting for the actual UIL performance information. This is usually given out about 2 weeks before the actual performance. Your students will perform their UIL music three times, which I’ve outlined below:

  1. Pre-UIL at AISD PAC

    1. March 26th

    2. You may attend if you’d like, but it’s during the workday. I need 3-4 chaperones, so please let me know if you are available!

    3. Student needs to arrive at Akins at their normal arrival times. Pickup is normal after school.

    4. Tuxedos/Gowns

    5. Mandatory grade for all students

  2. Pre-UIL at Akins

    1. April 9th

    2. This is our Spring Concert, and we’d love if you could attend!

    3. Students will stay after school and will not be allowed to leave between the final bell of the day and the performance. This is just like a regular concert day, and students will need to be picked up after the concert (usually around 8 PM)

    4. Tuxedos/Gowns

    5. Mandatory grade for all students

  3. UIL at Hays PAC

    1. April 17th/18th

    2. You may attend if you’d like, but it’s during the work day

    3. Students arrival and pickup times are TBA.

    4. Tuxedos/Gowns

    5. Students must pass the 5th 6 Weeks grading period in order to be eligible to attend. If your student is not eligible, they will complete a makeup assignment in their own time. Instructions are given during class.

Choir Sight Reading, Practice Tracks, and Makeup Work

Many of my choir students have neglected their musical responsibilities outside of class. Since January, students have been given weekly sight reading assignments to complete to develop their skills outside of the classroom. We’ve talked at length about this during every class period, but students are still not turning them in on time (or even late). If your student has a low grade in my class, it is likely because they have not turned these sight reading tracks in. Please encourage your student to complete these over Spring Break. It should not take them more than 2 minutes per exercise - please let me know if you would like me to video or audio conference with your student to help them complete their assignments. Further instructions can be found at http://akinschoir.com/sightreading-levels/ .

I sincerely hope everyone has a lovely and restful Spring Break! Can’t wait to see everyone back soon.

-Mrs. Ballard

Madrigal Dinner!

Greetings Choir Parents and Guardians!

We are almost to Madrigal Dinner week, which is one of the busiest weeks of the year. I just wanted to send a quick reminder about rehearsals and performance dates, as well as a reminder about where to buy tickets.


Be sure to buy your tickets soon (just click the link at the top that says Madrigal Dinner Tickets). Since we order dinner for the performances, I have to close ticket sales 48 hours in advance of the performances, so you will not be able to buy tickets at the door.

Paying with Credit Card: Just go through the normal steps in the online portal to reserve your seats.

Paying with Cash/Check: If you would like to pay at the door with cash or a check, you will need to email me a few things so I can manually enter your reservation.

  • Which evening you would like to attend

  • Which seats you would like (Table # and seat # for each seat)

  • First and Last Name of parent/guardian

  • Parent/Guardian Email

  • Parent/Guardian Phone Number

  • Street Address with City, State, and Zip

  • Dinner Selection: Vegetarian, Vegan, or Regular

  • Which student you would like to support with your purchase


Not all rehearsals require all students, so double check which rehearsals your student has to be at. St. John’s is at 12420 Hewitt Ln, Austin TX 78748

  • Friday, 12/8/2017 - All speaking roles at Akins High School 7:45-8:45 AM (Rescheduled due to cancelled rehearsal last week when I was out of school very ill)

  • Friday, 12/8/2017 - 6th Period Choir at Akins High School clinic with Dr. Detweiler, 4:30-8:00 PM. Potluck dinner.

  • Friday, 12/9/2017 - 6th Period Choir at Akins High School clinic with Dr. Detweiler, 9:30-5:30 PM. Bring a lunch.

  • Monday, 12/11/2017 - All speaking roles and 6th Period Choir Rehearsal at St. John’s Presbyterian 5:30-9:00 PM (Bus provided)

  • Wednesday, 12/13/2017 - ALL CHOIR STUDENTS at St. John’s Presbyterian 5:30-9:00 PM (Bus provided)

  • Performance Day! Friday, 12/15/2017 - ALL CHOIR STUDENTS at St. John’s Presbyterian 5:30-9:30 PM (Parent transportation required)

  • Performance Day! Saturday, 12/16/2017 - ALL CHOIR STUDENTS at St. John’s Presbyterian 5:30-10:00 PM (Parent transportation required)


Because this is a ticketed event, per UIL rules, students have to be eligible to participate. This means that they have to be passing all their classes with at least a 70 for regular classes and at least a 60 for Pre-AP/AP/Honors/OnRamps, etc. I’ve already spoken with those students that are not eligible, but if you aren’t sure if your student is, just send me a quick message and I can let you know. If your student is indeed not eligible, they need to complete the make up assignment (described below) in order to earn their grade for the semester.

  • 1 page per piece sung for the concert

  • 12 point font, Times New Roman, Single Spaced, 1” Margins

  • Describe the history of the piece, interesting facts you’ve found, your opinion about the piece, what you think about the text or the lyrics, etc.

  • If students need help on this at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am always happy to help them.

  • DUE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 2017 AT 11:59 PM. Please email the papers to me at catherine.ballard@austinisd.org.

Chipotle Night!

We had a great time last night at Blue and Gold night, and the fundraising never stops!

Tomorrow night, Friday, October 27th, we have our first Chipotle fundraiser night at the Chipotle in Southpark Meadows. Between 5:00-9:00 PM, please consider coming out to support Akins Choir and Piano before the game! We'd love to see you there. All you have to do is show the below flyer to a cashier! Hope to see everyone there!