Youth Programs


The San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra Programs will hold auditions for next season on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 between 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM in the large theory room next to Roshong Recital Hall in Jones Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Please contact Lech Usinowicz to set up an audition time. 970-884-3120 or

Youth Orchestras 2017-18

Lech Usinowicz, Director


San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra Programs Registration Form.docx

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

Youth Orchestras Auditions

Come and play with the San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestras! Be a member of the top quality youth Orchestras in the Four Corners.

Auditions to be held on August 28th in the Music Theory Room in Jones Hall from 4:30 to 7:00.

Students are placed according to their skill level, in the group where we think they will be most successful!

SJS Youth Symphony, Lech Usinowicz Director
For more information contact Mr. Usinowicz at: group is generally high school and college level students. Rehearsals are Mondays from 6:00 to 8:00 in the FLC Band Room.

SJS Philharmonic, Molly Jensen Director
For more information contact Molly Jensen at: group is generally high school and middle school students. Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:30 in the FLC Theory Room.

SJS Junior Orchestra, Mark Walser Director
For more information contact Mark Walser at:  This group is generally middle school and elementary school students. Rehearsals are Mondays from 4:45 to 5:50 in the FLC Theory Room.

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

“These materials are neither sponsored nor endorsed by Durango School District 9-R”

Seating auditions for the Fall SJSYO semester will take place during our second rehearsal on Monday, September 18, 2017. Seating auditions are a required part of the San Juan Youth Symphony. 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.

2017-2018 Fall Semester Calendar

San Juan Youth Symphony & SJS Junior Orchestra

September 11*, 18, 25   1st Rehearsal/Tuition Due

October           2, 9, 16, 23, 30

November       6*, 13, 27, 30**

No rehearsal over Thanksgiving Break

San Juan Symphony Youth Philharmonic

September 12*, 19, 26 1st Rehearsal/Tuition Due

October       3, 10, 17, 24, 31

November       7, 14, 28

No rehearsal over Thanksgiving Break

* Mandatory Parent Meeting – Snack sign up, Registration, Tuition Due (First 15 minutes of rehearsal)
** San Juan Youth Symphony ONLY! Thursday night rehearsal on November 30th in place of rehearsal over Thanksgiving break.

Dress Rehearsal Schedule                    All Groups                    Community Concert Hall at FLC

November  27 – Sunday    4:45pm – 5:30pm – Junior Orchestra Dress Rehearsal
5:30pm – 6:00pm – Dinner for Junior Orchestra (provided)
5:30pm-6:15pm – Youth Philharmonic Dress Rehearsal
6:15pm-6:30pm – Combined Rehearsal (ALL GROUPS)
6:30pm-7:00pm – Dinner for Youth Philharmonic and Youth Symphony (provided)
7:00pm-9:00pm – Youth Symphony

December  4 – Monday      5:00pm-6:00pm Dress Rehearsal, 7:00pm Concert
4:30pm-5:00pm Symphony B/Youth Symphony
5:00pm-5:30pm Philharmonic
5:30pm-6:00pm Junior
6:00pm-6:30pm Combined Rehearsal
7:00pm Concert

Concert Dress
Junior Orchestra: Concert black and white (black shoes)
Youth Philharmonic – Concert black and white
Youth Symphony – Black on black

Please note:  We will only have the rehearsals above to prepare. Some rehearsals are scheduled on school district professional development days (no students) but we will still have rehearsal. If you have to miss for an illness, you are required to notify your director. Students that miss 3 or more rehearsals will be asked to meet with their parent and director.

Lech Usinowicz                                              Molly Jensen                                      Mark Walser
SJS Youth Symphony                                    SJS Youth Philharmonic                     SJS Junior Orchestra                            

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

**SJSYO rehearsals will not take place on holidays.

Spring Semester 2018

There will be mid-year auditions for new students on Monday, January 8, 2018 in the Music Theory Room in Jones Hall at 4:30 pm.
Rehearsal schedule beginning January 8:
Mondays 6 pm – 8 pm – Youth Symphony
Tuesdays 6 pm – 7:30 pm – Youth Philharmonic
Tuesdays 4:15 pm – 5:45 pm – Junior Orchestra

Registration Fee

$150 per year ($75 per semester) 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
Please contact us for more information regarding our mentorship program!

San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra Programs Registration Form.docx


SJS Youth Symphony Concerto Competition

The San Juan Youth Symphony will hold its Second Annual Concerto Competition this spring celebrating/featuring the individual work of one talented young artist.

Who? Students currently playing in the San Juan Youth Symphony

What? One (1) musician will be selected to perform a concerto of their choice at the SJSYO concert on April 16th at 7pm.


  1. Email Mr. Usinowicz at with the name of your piece by September 18th. 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) no later than November 17th 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 on December 4th, 2017

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.

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.