AVAPA LogoAVAPA Disciplines


The Garland High School Band program offers students a chance to excel on their individual instrument and in different ensemble settings.  Teachers, clinicians, and performers are brought in routinely to work side-by-side with students.

AVAPA band offers numerous ensembles for students to participate in: Mighty Owl Marching Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Concert Band, and numerous smaller Chamber Ensembles.  Each ensemble has its own curriculum--studio recording sessions, live performances synced with digital media, editing/mixing recordings, performances of standard repertoire and new music, and all elements of a production form paper to performance.

Band Faculty: Bob Beshears, Jacob Ramirez, and Javier Rivera


The Choral Studies Division of The Academy of Visual and Performing Arts offers a comprehensive choir program spanning all levels of musical knowledge.  High performance levels, music literacy, and musical artistry are top priorities for the choral department.  The department prides itself on its successes in the choral field exemplified by the Acappella Choir being selected as a state honor choir at the state convention, TMEA, four times.  This is the highest honor a choir in the State of Texas can receive. 

The Choir Department offers international travel and performance.  Past trips have included Scotland, England, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, and France with performances at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, England, Prague Castle, Prague, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, La Madeleine Church, Paris, and the American Cemetery in Normandy.

AVAPA Choir opens up opportunities for individual growth through voice lessons, Region Auditions, solo and ensemble contests bring tremendous success.

We also collaborate with well-known University programs for performance and work with prestigious conductors, among them are: UNT Acappella Choir and Allen Hightower, TCY Chorale and Christopher Aspaas, Oklahoma State University and Z. Randall Stroope, Southern Methodist University and Pamely Elrod Huffman, Texas Tech University and Rick Bjella, Texas A&M Commerce and Randall Hooper, TWU and Joni Jenson, and the University of Missouri and Cameron Labarr.

In addition, collaboration with well-known composers and Professional Chamber Choirs, as well as area high schools for enrichment concerts are quite common.

We offer an array of ensembles for all levels: Acappella Choir, Acappella Women’s Choir, Acappella Men’s Choir, Celebration Singers, Chamber Choir, Pop Group, Mixed Choir, Concert Women, Treble Select and Men’s Ensemble.

There are many performance opportunities with choir throughout the year: Fall Concert, Winter Concert, Dinner Show, Pop Show, Madrigal Dinner and UIL performances.  Professional choral concerts in the DFW area are encouraged to expand students’ knowledge of choral performance.

Choir Faculty: Cheryl Wilson and Katie Webb


Film is both a powerful communication medium and an art form.  The AVAPA film course aims to develop students’ skills so that they become adept in both interpreting and making film texts.

Through the study of analysis of film texts and exercise in film making, the course explores film history, theory and socio-economic background.  The course develops students’ critical abilities, enabling them to appreciate the multiplicity of cultural and historical perspectives in film.

To achieve an international understanding within the world of film, students are taught to consider film texts, theories and ideas from the points of view of different individuals, nations and cultures.

Film Faculty: Thomas Schubert


AVAPA Guitar offers a course of study in instrumental classical guitar performance.  The Guitar I class is designed not only to introduce the student to basic musical concepts and performance techniques, but to prepare the player for participation in the advanced section offerings.

While Guitar I is a slow-paced introduction to the instrument that serves as a state approved fine arts credit, the Guitar II, III, and IV levels focus on the performance of works from the standard repertoire.

Aspects of the curriculum are designed around college entrance requirements.  Course participants and graduates have been awarded scholarships, performance contest medals, and major university guitar department assistantships.

Guitar Faculty: Steven Howell and Jesse Ramirez


AVAPA Orchestras provide the student an opportunity to explore and experience the wide range of music found within the standard orchestral repertory. Music of many diverse styles are studied in order to introduce the student to all the possibilities available to them as performing musicians. The instruments taught are violin, viola, cello, bass and harp. 

The Honors Orchestra, composed of a select group of student musicians, has been recognized by professional musicians, university music professors and other music educators form across the country as one of the finest orchestral training programs in North Texas.  Our students learn the same ensemble skills and procedural protocols used in professional symphony orchestras.  An emphasis is placed on learning and performing actual orchestral repertory rather than educational arrangements or abridgements of musical selections.

The Grand Philharmonic Orchestra is the preparatory ensemble for the Honors Orchestra and is open to any orchestral string instrument player with at least 2-3 years of experience.  Basic playing techniques are emphasized and reinforced, allowing the student to gain skill and confidence in their performance.

All AVAPA Orchestra members participate in Region/All-Stage auditions and UIL events.  There are various social activities and opportunities to travel during the year.

Orchestra Faculty: Brian Peacock


Garland’s AVAPA Program has a unique opportunity of offering Piano Lab classes.  Any student may take advantage of this opportunity, no matter musical background experience.  The class is a wonderful addition of practice time for the student studying with a private instructor, or the opportunity to provide our other fine arts students to add piano to their musical experience.

In addition to classroom experience, students are provided the opportunity to perform recitals for their parents, family, friends and peers.  The recitals consist of solos, duets, trios and quartets, and playing in an ensemble is exciting, fun and entertaining.

Students may also participate in the state’s Piano Solo Contest, and depending on the rating earned, a student may advance to state.  We have several qualify for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest yearly.

Piano Faculty: Carolyn Butterworth


Theatre is a dynamic, collaborative and live art form.  It is a practical subject that encourages discovery through experimentation, the taking of risks and the presentation of ideas to others.  It results in the development of both theatre and life skills; the building of confidence, creativity and working collaboratively.

In the AVAPA theatre department, our desire is not simply to make young actors.  It is not simply to teach lighting and sound and set building.  Our desire, first and foremost, is to train up a generation of communicators, young artists who are thoughtful about who they are and how they fit into the fabric of the world around them.

Theatre is a multifaceted theatre-making course of study.  It gives students the opportunity to make theatre both individually and collaboratively as part of an ensemble.  It offers the opportunity to engage actively in the creative process, transforming ideas into action as inquisitive and productive artists.

Students experience the course from contrasting artistic perspectives.  They learn to apply research and theory to inform and to conceptualize their work.  The course encourages students to appreciate that through the processes of researching, creating, preparing, presenting, and critically reflecting on theatre—as participants and audience members—they gain a richer understanding of themselves, their community and the world.

Theatre Faculty: Brittany Claar De Gonzalez and Michael Cleveland

Visual Arts

Garland High School offers students the choice of two tracks to earn their AVAPA Diploma in Visual Arts: AP Art and IB Art.

Students in AP focus on developing technical skills while investigating personal concepts. Students learn art history and develop skills to critique artwork, but the main focus is on creating art. Students test for college credit their junior and/or senior year by submitting 24 pieces of art. 12 of these works will show their range of skill, 12 will be a body of work exploring a theme. Students may test in 2D Design, 2D drawing or 3D. (Students may test in one area, or choose to test in two.)

In IB art, students create art, develop techniques, explore and develop personal concepts, study art history and learn to critique and compare art. Their senior year, , they will test for college credit. Their exam consists of curating an exhibition of their own work (7-11 pieces) exploring a theme or evolution of ideas, creating a Comparative Study, and a Process Portfolio. The Comparative Study, consisting of 25 slides, in which the students critique and compare a minimum of 3 pieces of art from varying cultures, and then compare those pieces with their own work. For the Process Portfolio, students will choose images from their sketchbooks to produce a slide presentation that traces the process of the creation of their Exhibition and Comparative Study.

We offer our AP and IB students the opportunity to visit a minimum of 2 museums each year. Juniors visit 3 or 4 a year and seniors 4 or 5.

Each year we have several college recruiters visit our classes to share information about the programs they offer.

We have professional artists talk to our classes about their education, artwork and careers.

All AP and IB students attend National Portfolio Day, where colleges across the nation share information about their programs and review student work.

Each year our seniors hold afterschool workshops, where they teach a medium or technique to other art students.

We organize “share teams” that visit middle schools to let them know about what we offer in art at Garland High School.

Garland High School averages 150 entries in the VASE competition, with an average of 10-15 students advancing to state. Students also participate in the GISD Art shows, Scholastic, TVAA, Photographer’s Forum, Reflections, Google Doodle, Art for Dart, Sargent Art Contest, and many others.

We have an active National Art Honor Society that provides community service involving art. Examples are creating the Homecoming banner, chalkboards for display year round at Veritex bank, painting benches on the square in downtown Garland, face painting on game days and at community events such as Day of the Dead and Cinco de Mayo.

Art Faculty: Paula Lawson, Karen Hatten, and Ben Brown

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