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2020-Returning to Class Status

A Letter from Mr. Prado:

Good day Orchestra Fam-LEE.
As of today, Monday, October 5, 2020, NEISD has begun ‘Phase 3’ of returning students back to class. I am sure that most of you have read the rules/regulations of this phase as far as the district is concerned. However, I am not certain if you are aware of these rules as it pertains to Orchestra.
As of today, organizations can hold before or after school rehearsals and even performances. However, there is a lot of ‘red tape’ in place, in my opinion, to do what we need to. For example, we are encouraged to have outdoor rehearsals and performances. With a program like orchestra that would be difficult. With the sun setting earlier and temperatures changing, outdoors is not a venue I wish to pursue with stringed instruments.
If we were to move indoors, we would only be allowed a certain number of students in class at a time, and those who were allowed would again need to be 6 feet apart. It would not be fair to only allow certain students in at a time and not others. Orchestra is about a group performance, and until we can do that, our program will remain ‘virtual’.
Also, although we are allowed performances, again, I would not be allowed to have all parents /families to attend. Only a certain percentage with be allowed in doors. I have no intentions of turning supportive families away. And regarding being on stage, not all students would be allowed to perform at the same time. Again, if you are in Orchestra, you are a part of the team, and when concerning matters such as these, we will include everyone.
At this time, about 5% of the Orchestra students have returned to in person learning. I know that some have said that they are not returning to campus for class but would consider if we did have after-school rehearsals. I am currently considering how many students would travel to campus if we had rehearsal, considering that we are a magnet school and many travel great distances
to get here.
We all know and agree that these rules/regulations are in place for our safety and we thank NEISD for everything it is doing. However, it does not seem practical/beneficial currently to resume rehearsals and performances. As of now, we will continue 100% online learning. Unfortunately, this does mean that our concerts/rehearsals/fundraisers are on hold until further notice.
I do want you to know though that we are viewing this year as a big success so far. We have 4 students auditioning for Region Mariachi this weekend and we have had Zoom rehearsals each week since school has begun. In two weeks, we have 3 more students auditioning for All Region Symphony Orchestra, and in November we have another 12 students auditioning for All Region Philharmonic Orchestra which again, we have been Zoom rehearsing since the start of school. Seniors, Class of 2021, will have an Orchestra Movie night gathering on Zoom very soon.
Also, our Orchestra has had a lot more time to focus on Music Theory, Scales, History and technique more than we have done so in past years. I know we all enjoy the performance aspect, but in years past all we focused on was preparing for concerts. This year, since performances are on hold, we have learned other aspects of music, which in my opinion are extremely important.
As you can see, our program has remained very active since school started. I sincerely thank you for being a part of the LEE Orchestra and ask you to be patient. I assure you that when more rules get lifted, I will jump on the opportunity to rehearse and perform. Until then stay safe and practice.
Mario Joshua Prado
LEE Orchestra Director



Attention parents/guardians –  the LEE Orchestra Booster Organization (LOBO) has the following positions available for the 2020-2021 school year – if you are interested in helping out with LOBO this year, please contact Mr. Prado (





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