About us

Our Mission

Orchestra is a class focused on musical excellence where all members are focused on musical growth as part of a dynamic balanced curriculum that nurtures individual personal growth in a rapidly changing world of the 21st Century.

Orchestra Directors

Brett Nelsen

Mr. Nelsen has been Orchestra Director at Cinco Ranch High School since the school opened in the fall of 1999. He conducted the String Ensemble for the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra from 1998-2004.  CRHS Orchestras have consistently earned Sweepstakes awards from UIL contests and have earned Outstanding Orchestra Awards in Festivals across Texas and in Orlando, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana.  His Orchestras made their Carnegie Hall Debut with the National Band and Orchestra Festival in 2006 where they performed to rave reviews by Craig Kirchoff, David Battisti, and H. Robert Reynolds.  

Cinco Ranch is considered one of the top orchestra programs in the state based on the frequency in which they have earned Honor Orchestra Finalists:  2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and a string orchestra finalist in 2003.  In 2008, the Cinco Ranch High School Symphony Orchestra won the National Music Honors Outstanding Full Orchestra Competition. Mr. Nelsen made his Midwest Clinic Debut at the 64th Annual Conference in 2010 to rave reviews from the 1000 members in the audience including Larry Livingston and Soo Han.  Most recently, Mr. Nelsen led the Sinfonia Orchestra to the 2020 American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival National Grand Champions in Orlando, Florida.  

Outside of the classroom, Mr. Nelsen was associated with the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra with Lawrence Wheeler from 1998-2004.  He has also served as a Texas Music Educators Association Region Chair for the Houston Area from 2002-2012 and again since 2019.  

Mr. Nelsen has lived in the Houston area practically all his life. He graduated with a degree in Music and Managerial Studies from Rice University, where he studied cello with Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. He also studied orchestral conducting with Dr. Carol Smith at Sam Houston State University, and Franz Anton Krager at the University of Houston. He completed his Master’s in Music Education at the University of Houston in 2010. He is proud of all his students past and present who have contributed so much to the vitality of the Cinco Ranch High School Orchestra Program.  He is proud to have so many former students as colleagues and friends in Music Education.  When not engaged as a popular clinician, he spends his free time with his family; Barbara, his wife, and his two children, Ethan and Elliott. 

Oscar Vera has been the assistant orchestra director at Cinco Ranch High School since 2009.  In that time he has been lucky to share many successes in UIL competitions, and festival performances, including a Midwest performance in 2010, and the American String Teachers Association Grand Champion performance in 2020.  

Mr. Vera started group music study in 6th grade and has loved it ever since.  He is a graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati’s Music Education program.  He is dedicated to provide the same experiences and opportunities he had through public school music. 

Oscar Vera

Oscar Vera is an active performer in the state of Texas, most notably with the Brazos Valley Symphony in the Bryan-College Station area.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and cat. 

2020-2021 Orchestra Officers

President: Desheng Liu

Executive Vice President: Kimberly Chen

Administrative Vice President: Allison Wong

Vice President: Amanda Chen

Social Officer: Chantelle D’Mello

Historian: Janette Phan and Claire Shenoi

Librarian: Christine Wu, Angelica Sharma, Alice Zheng

Representative: Evelyn Hung and Vineeta Pasala