San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestras

Download Registration Form

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 8 and 7 pm on April 20 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

Youth Symphony


Kurt Chrisman
Artistic Director
San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra Program
Music Director
San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra

Lech Usinowicz
San Juan Symphony Youth Philharmonic
(Grades 6-8)

Bill LaShell
San Juan Symphony Junior Orchestra
(Grades 3-5)

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Our Ensembles

San 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
Rehearsals: Mondays, 6:00-8:00, Jones Hall Band/Orchestra Room at FLC
First Rehearsal: Monday, September 8th, 6:00-8:00
Mandatory Parent Meeting: 5:15-6:00

San Juan Symphony Youth Philharmonic

  • Intermediate Level
  • Strings only
  • Generally Grades 6-8
  • Suzuki Book 2-4 level, or equivalent
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30, Jones Hall (Room TBD) at FLC
First Rehearsal: Tuesday, September 9th

San Juan Symphony Junior Orchestra

  • Beginning Level
  • Strings only
  • Generally Grades 3-5
  • Suzuki Book 1: “Allegro” – Suzuki Book 2 level, or equivalent
Rehearsals:  Mondays, 4:15-5:45, Escalante MS
First rehearsal:  Monday, September 8th   

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, Bill LaShell, 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.

Youth Symphony

Audition Information

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

NOTE AUDITIONS CHANGE:  All auditions will be on Tuesday, Sept. 2nd in Jones Hall, the Fort Lewis College music building.  Check-in will be in the front lounge area.

Audition times can be requested by email: Simply send a note to Kurt Chrisman requesting a time between 4 and 8 pm ( Audition time slots will be set in order received. Plan on being at Ft. Lewis at least 20 minutes early to check in and warm up. Because we will only have a short time for each audition you must be tuned and ready to come in at your time. If you are late you will have to wait until an open time slot. Students may come the afternoon of auditions and sign up for an audition time. Please allow for extra time. Your audition may start a bit later than scheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to bring your registration form. Thank you for your interest in auditioning for one of the SJS youth orchestras!

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
  • Registration Fee

    Download Registration Form

    $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