One of Union's most popular Fine Arts offerings is visual art. This discipline is taught to all elementary students and remains a strong favorite at the secondary level with more than 1,300 students enrolled in art, ceramics, painting or photography. Union offers one of the few AP (Advanced Placement) Visual Art programs in the state. Many of our students turn their ability in art into scholarships at major art institutes and universities. Recently, a large number of students from Union High School were honored at the National Scholastic Art Exhibition.
The Vocal Music program includes all elementary students and is a strong elective at the secondary level. Union has a long record of excellence in concerts, performances by show groups, Broadway musicals and competitions at the local and regional level. Our singers, utilizing Orff and Kodaly methods from grade one, have achieved an enviable record in performance and sight reading competitions. Many of our students have received major university scholarships and have become successful teachers and performers. Broadway musicals such as a recent production of Annie and performances of major works as part of Union’s “Masterworks” series are part of our vocal music program.
Union Public School is well represented in arts events such as TulsaFest, Tulsa Summerarts, the Oklahoma Summerarts Institute; and many of our students are featured in community theater musicals. Choruses comprised of younger students have been sought to accompany major performing artists when they perform in Tulsa.
Christian Jones, Director of Forensics
Members of the Speech/Debate squads compete almost every weekend throughout the school year. With individual honors at every meet, including national qualifiers and many ‘Meet Sweepstakes Trophies,’ these young people are representative of the wonderful program in place for debate and competitive speech.
Students at Union High School have exceptional opportunities in the area of Music Theory and Music Technology. Union boasts one of the best AP Music Theory courses in the state. Many AP Music Theory students are able to skip one or even two years of college music theory because of their excellent preparation.
Another exciting addition to our curriculum is the piano lab. It accommodates 24 students and permits individually paced instruction as well as allowing full-class instruction and performance through the headphone system. Using this lab, students can explore composition, orchestration, arranging, ear training, sight singing, improvisation and self-paced study of music history.
Drama classes are another popular elective at the secondary level. Students can work to perfect their speaking and acting skills in this program which offers numerous public presentations each year. For many years, the High School Repertoire Theater has received state-wide recognition for their superb performances in the One-Act Play category. Presentations by drama groups at all levels are know for their excellence.
The Mass Media program at Union is growing more popular every year. With support through the district's focus on technology, we anticipate a continued great future in this area. Students learn about yearbook, newspaper and broadcasting, as well as digital imaging and web design, combining art and technology. Some of the classes – such as web design – also incorporate business class elements with them and are even taught by business teachers.
Most people know about the multi-talented High School marching band, the Renegade Regiment, with more than 10 Oklahoma Bandmasters Association state championships since 1985, two Fiesta Bowl Grand Masters Championships, a national championship in the 1996 WinterGuard International competition, two national percussion championships and three national colorguard championships. However, the Regiment is only part of the district's band program.
The Union band program begins at the sixth grade level with an annual enrollment of approximately 400 students. Band offerings include the marching band, concert bands, pep bands, jazz bands, membership in full orchestras. After a successful season in the fall of 2018, it was announced in the spring of 2019 that the Renegade Regiment had been selected to participate in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, representing the state of Oklahoma.
The Orchestra program has a reputation for excellence in the state, region and nation with numerous awards at each of these levels. Our students are well-represented in All-District and All-State orchestras, and students from Union Schools traditionally make up more than ten percent of the Tulsa Youth Symphony. Many students from the orchestra program have received scholarships at major universities throughout the nation as a result of their playing skills.
Union was one of two Oklahoma districts recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation as Best Communities in Music Education for their outstanding music education programs.
All elementary schools participated in the Carnegie Hall Link Up program in 2019, culminating in a joint performance between third and fourth grade students and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.
Union's Fine Arts Department proudly presents YouthArts!, an annual fine arts festival showcasing the creative works and talents of elementary and secondary students. The festival celebrated its 40th anniversary in the spring of 2019.