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December, 19, 2022
10:45 AM - 11:30 AM


W 196


Middle School Jazz Ensemble


Conductor Thumb
Margaret Wis

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

In 1963, The Garland Independent School District (GISD) opened Austin Junior High School as a traditional neighborhood school, transforming it into the Austin Academy for Excellence (AAE) magnet school in 1986. While continuing to serve the Austin neighborhood, AAE now houses the GISD middle school gifted and talented program. Serving over 975 neighborhood and GT students district wide in grades 6 through 8, AAE is recognized for academic excellence. The Arts have a central role in the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to participate in visual art, band, orchestra, piano lab, choir, and theater. GISD has been repeatedly been recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in America in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014., 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 by NAMM. Directed by Margaret Wis since its inception as a magnet program, Austin’s band program has over 200 students participating in daily band classes ranging in ability from beginning to advanced. The band performs regularly at concerts, festivals and community events. In 2019 the band was named a divisional winner and one of five national finalists of the William P. Foster Award. Austin’s two jazz ensembles, Jazz I and II, were founded as an extra-curricular enrichment activity by Margaret Wis in 1988. Each band meets weekly outside of the school day. Participation is by audition and is open to any student enrolled in a music class. Both Jazz I and II perform regularly at concerts and festivals, garnering numerous first division and “Best in Class” awards. Jazz I, the program’s premier ensemble has performed at numerous prestigious venues including the 33rd Annual International Association of Jazz Educator’s Conference in New York, the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences in St. Louis, Atlanta, San Diego, Dallas and Reno and now here at the Midwest Clinic. An inordinate number of Austin alumni go on to careers in music performance and music education.

Austin Academy Jazz Ensemble

Conductor's Bio

MARGARET WIS earned a bachelor of music education degree with honors from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University in 1981 and a master of music education degree from East Texas State University in 1988. Mrs. Wis began her teaching career of 41 years at W.H. Gaston Middle School in Dallas. She is currently in her 35th year as the director of bands at Austin Academy in Garland, Texas. Under her direction the Austin Band has earned consistent UIL Sweepstakes and “Best in Class” awards at various festivals. The Austin Honors Band has twice been named a finalist in the Class CC Middle School State Honor Band Competition. Mrs. Wis founded the Austin Jazz program in 1988, garnering numerous first division and “Best in Class” awards since. Jazz I, the program’s premier ensemble has performed at the 33rd Annual IAJE Conference in New York as well as Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences in St. Louis, Atlanta, San Diego, Dallas, and Reno. Her professional affiliations include JEN, Texas Jazz Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Adjudicator’s Association, Phi Beta Mu, and Texas Music Educators Association where she has served as Region III Vice President for over 20 years. Wis has been honored as “Teacher of the Year” by her peers three times and is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers. Margaret and Bud Wis were married in 1980 and will celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary in December. Mr. Wis is a retired band director, but remains active teaching woodwind pedagogy at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Mr. Wis has played an active role in the development of the Austin Jazz program by sharing creativity, knowledge and passion for jazz with her and her students.

Additional Directors

Additional Conductor Image

Alex Harrison