Love, Community, Music

The San Juan Symphony Redefines "Local Love"

What’s not to love about a night at the San Juan Symphony?

The experience is different for everyone: you might bring your parents or get a babysitter for a date night on the town. You might dress in fancy outfits or wear your usual boots and jeans. Whatever suits your style and needs, when it comes to the music, the San Juan Symphony will take your breath away.

Based in Durango and Farmington, this regional professional orchestra has created a vibrant community that builds bridges across many state lines. In the early 1970s, musicians in Farmington, New Mexico, and Durango, Colorado, performed in two separate orchestras. In 1985, the two groups combined as the San Juan Symphony, governed by a Board of Directors with members from Farmington and Durango. Today, The San Juan Symphony is the finest regional professional orchestra in the Four Corners area. 

Orchestra musicians represent local professional musicians, teachers, parents, doctors, and others, coming together in the service of the Symphony. While some live in Durango, other musicians travel hundreds of miles and spend hours in the car just to play. Sponsors and season ticket holders have donated and listened for decades, sitting next to families who are hearing an orchestra for the first time, and they are all equally enthralled with the Symphony experience.

For the San Juan Symphony, “Local Love” is a feeling that belongs to the entire Four Corners region. The pride in the San Juan Symphony runs deep into many communities, from Telluride and Bayfield to Bloomfield and Albuquerque. The Symphony's programs are innovative and inspiring, but we also want to give audiences what they love: beautiful, vibrant works of art performed with enthusiasm and inspiration.

Education programs are central to the Symphony’s community enrichment and outreach efforts. With events throughout the academic year, the San Juan Symphony invites audiences from all walks of life to experience the power of live classical music. Our connections in the community run through our musicians, our volunteers, the dedicated staff that runs our non-profit, and, of course, our exceptional students.

We have a duty to promote music to the next generation, and we feel fortunate to perform The Nutcracker each holiday season and bring joy to thousands. Our Family Concert in May includes an Instrument Petting Zoo designed to introduce a new generation to the Symphony. We are also proud to headline with diverse acts, such as the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, and the Latin band Nosotros will be rocking out for the 25th Anniversary of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

"We firmly believe in the power of music to unite people and build bridges within our community," says Thomas Heuser. "Our youth programs, educational initiatives, and collaborations with local organizations help us engage with individuals of all ages and backgrounds, nurturing a deep appreciation for music and its ability to inspire, heal, and empower. That is the truest definition of 'Local Love.'"

There’s much more to come in 2024! The Durango Bach Festival runs from March 2-9, 2024, with various events in Durango. Opening the festival is a brand new concert called Facets, which features 20 MOONS dancers, San Juan Symphony musicians, and 13 pieces by J.S. Bach. This unique opening night occurs in Stillwater's intimate Light Box Theater, followed by two student recitals at Durango’s Summit Church on Sunday. The week's worth of short “Bach’s Lunch” concerts at noon at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church features dozens of local musicians and lunches catered by Manna.

Act now to get tickets for the epic Bach Festival Finale on Saturday, March 9th! Maestro Heuser conducts the concert with the 30-plus voices of the SJS Chamber Singers (formerly the Durango Chamber Singers), a dozen musicians, and the church organ accompanied by a virtuosic oboe soloist and four vocal soloists. These performances are truly once-in-a-lifetime. You won’t want to miss a beat.

You can find out more about the San Juan Symphony online at www.sanjuansymphony.org. Students can find information about our summer camps, including the Durango Chamber Music Academy and our Youth Orchestra and Junior Orchestra Programs. Auditions and registration deadlines are coming soon!

"[N]urturing a deep appreciation for music and its ability to inspire, heal, and empower. That is the truest definition of 'Local Love.'"

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