Youth Programs

Youth Orchestras 2017-18

San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestras Registration Form 2017-18

The Mission of the San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestras (SJSYO) is to provide an inspiring orchestral experience for the youth of Durango, Bayfield, Farmington, Pagosa Springs, Cortez and surrounding areas, while further enriching the arts communities of the Four Corners. SJSYO is the only youth symphony organization in the Four Corners area, and its members receive an exceptional educational experience under the guidance of the region’s finest musical performers and educators. SJSYO maintains a strong connection with the area’s school music programs, Fort Lewis College, and cultural institutions such as 3rd Ave. Arts and Music in the Mountains. SJSYO is open to all Four Corners area elementary school, middle school, high school, home-school, and Fort Lewis College students on an audition basis.

SJSYO Concerts this season will be held at 7 pm on December 4 and 7 pm on April 16 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Our Ensembles

SJSYOSan Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra

  • Advanced Level
  • Generally high school and college strings and college winds and percussion
  • Suzuki Book 4 level and up, or equivalent

San Juan Symphony Youth Philharmonic

  • Intermediate Level
  • Strings only
  • Generally Grades 6-8
  • Suzuki Book 2-4 level, or equivalent

San Juan Symphony Junior Orchestra

  • Beginning Level
  • Strings only
  • Generally Grades 3-5
  • Suzuki Book 1: “Allegro” – Suzuki Book 2 level, or equivalent

Requirement for San Juan Symphony Junior Orchestra: The student must have played a bowed string instrument for at least one year, either in a school string program or in private lessons.  The minimum grade level for participation in the SJS Junior Orchestra is third grade.  However, exceptions may be made.  Please contact the director for more information on any exceptions.

*It is highly encouraged that all students in our youth ensembles take private lessons. Please contact one of the directors for more information about local private string teachers.

Audition Information

Auditions are required for initial entrance into any youth ensemble and for transferring into the next ensemble.
Audition Requirements

The student must play a prepared piece. This may be music learned through private lessons or in a school orchestra. The student must also play a major scale.

  • One-octave major scale for the Junior Orchestra
  • Two-octave major scale for the Youth Philharmonic
  • Three-octave major scale (preferred) for the Youth Orchestra

Fall 2017 Auditions:  Monday, August 28, 4 PM – 7 PM*, FLC Bandroom in Jones Hall

Youth Symphony ONLY:  Seating Auditions, Monday, September 18

SJSYO Start Dates:**

  • Junior Orchestra – Monday, September 11, 4:30 PM, Fort Lewis College Theory Room
  • Philharmonic – Tuesday, September 12, 6 PM, Fort Lewis College Theory Room
  • Youth Symphony – Monday, September 11, 6 PM, Fort Lewis College Band Room

*Students wishing to join after August 28 must contact their director and arrange an audition time.

For more information: Lech Usinowicz, Youth Orchestra Director, 970-884-3120.

Spring Start Dates:

  •  Youth Symphony/Junior Orchestra Rehearsals begin January 8, 2018.
  •  Youth Philharmonic Rehearsals begin January 9, 2018.

Spring Auditions:

Seating auditions for the Spring SJSYO semester will take place during our second rehearsal on Monday, January 15, 2018. Seating auditions are optional. In our effort to give our youth orchestra musicians an orchestra/audition experience that mimics professional orchestras, we will run our seating audition as follows:

  1. Each musician auditioning should arrive to rehearsal 10 minutes early to draw a number to determine audition order.
  2. When the student’s number comes up, he/she will quietly exit rehearsal for a short, 5-minute audition in a separate room.
  3. There will be an audition assistant who will escort you to the audition area, announce your presence, and ask you if you have any questions. This person will stay on the audition area with you the entire audition, sitting behind you.
  4. This will be a blind audition, with the jury seated behind a screen.
  5. You will not be allowed to say anything during the audition. Our goal is for the audition to be completely anonymous and unbiased.
  6. The required excerpts they want you to play will be listed in order.
  7. The jury may ask you to play it again, perhaps at a different speed.
  8. You will be dismissed to return to rehearsal.

**SJSYO rehearsals will not take place on holidays.

SJS Youth Symphony Concerto Competition

The San Juan Youth Symphony will have its first ever concerto competition this spring celebrating/featuring the individual work of our young students.

     Who? Students currently playing in the San Juan Youth Symphony.

     What? 2-3 musicians will be selected to perform a concerto of their choice at the SJSYO concert on April 17th at 7pm.


  1. Email Mr. Usinowicz at with the name of your piece by December 15. Do not proceed with auditioning until you receive a confirmation email permitting you to audition. Mr. Usinowicz will need to determine any/all orchestration considerations for your piece.

  2. Submit an electronic audition video of your concerto (one movement only) to Students may also use Youtube, Dropbox or Google Drive to submit electronically.

  3. Submit paper-mail a DVD recording to: Lech Usinowicz, 231 S Clover Dr #4. Bayfield, CO 81122

  4. Students will be notified of the results no later than January 16th

Students that are selected to play a concerto will have to wait one year before they are eligible to audition again.

Please do not hesitate to email Mr. U with questions.

Registration Fee

$150 per year for participation in any ensemble
Checks should be made out to “San Juan Symphony.”
(Due at the first rehearsal in September)
Family Tuition Reduction: $150 for the first student, $125 for each additional sibling

San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestras Registration Form 2017-18

SJS Youth Orchestra

Youth Education

Thomas TeachingIn addition to the Youth Orchestra program, the San Juan Symphony’s Youth Education program provides opportunities for music students to participate in our subscription concerts as orchestra members and as audience members, and to learn from our visiting Guest Artists.

The Education program arranges an annual Side-By-Side concert where area school students are featured on stage with the symphony for a portion of the program. The Side-by-Side includes additional coachings and rehearsals with symphony musicians.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors in Durango and Farmington, the SJS is able to underwrite the cost 50-100 music student tickets for each subscription concert. Student tickets may be requested through the SJS office.

The SJS works with the Artist in Residence program at Fort Lewis College to provide masterclasses for area musicians. On occasion, our Guest Artists make visits to classrooms in the Four Corners area to speak to music students.

The San Juan Symphony also maintains a cooperative relationship with Fort Lewis College where both faculty and students are members of the orchestra.