about TJS

TUCSON JUNIOR STRINGS is an orchestral training program for young string players ranging from those who have played a minimum of one year through seniors in high school and who can also read music. As chamber string ensembles of violins, violas, cellos and basses, the orchestras are trained to perform without a conductor. The music, selected to match the ability of each orchestra, varies from baroque to contemporary.

What does TJS offer

1Training in ensemble playing through musicianship classes, individual coaching and orchestral playing in a chamber music style.

2Six levels of orchestra organized with a progressive system of technical requirements. From the inception into the program beginning with Sinfonia 3, all members will participate in full rehearsal plus sectional rehearsal.

3Three chamber orchestras do guest appearances in the community. Chamber I, the touring orchestra, takes a seven- to eight-day tour each spring. 

4Each orchestra meets once per week and performs in a TJS concert at the conclusion of the 12-week session.

Benefits of Joining TJS

Leadership Skills
One of the main benefits of TJS is that it encourages individual responsibility. All TJS orchestras learn to play without a conductor. During the first five or six weeks Mr. Bourret conducts the orchestras through rehearsal, however, as soon as the music has been “learned”, each orchestra is taught to play the selections without a conductor and the leaders are the first chairs of each section.

There is also no assigned seating within the first three orchestras (Sinfonias 3, 2, and 1) and each player is encouraged to sit as “first chair” to lead their section — and in the case of first chair first violin, to lead the orchestra. Because each violinist must meet the same technical requirement, there is no assigned first or second violin section. Every violin player plays a first violin and a second violin selection. Even the violas and cellos get the opportunity to lead the orchestra as well as their section when their section starts a piece! 

An Incentive 
Because TJS is structured according to technical ability rather than by age or grade, and because players have to learn certain technical skills on their instrument in order to pass from one orchestra to the next, there is an incentive to learn — by working hard in their school orchestra program and learning those skills offered by their school orchestra director and if their family has the means to do so, by taking private lessons and working with a teacher to learn the new skills needed to meet the technical requirements of the next orchestra. 

Processing Skills 
A benefit from studying music which helps in all fields (and, incidentally, is fast becoming a feature looked for by employers and college recruiters) is the processing skills which come about from learning to practice a musical instrument. 

TJS tours are working tours — they serve the purpose of teaching our members how to react to playing under different circumstances (different stages, very small audiences and packed houses, playing out-of-doors, climate changes, tight schedules, etc.).

Another aspect of touring was added several years ago. When we visit a large city, we arrange with well-known orchestral performers and/or college strings faculty to have a coaching session. The added information the Chamber I members receive in this manner assists them in furthering their study of their instrument and orchestral training.

Tour also gives each orchestra a chance to perform their program several times in succession therefore providing the opportunity of gaining a performance edge — and, besides that, they are fun!!



Sinfonia 3
Sinfonia 2
Sinfonia 1
Junior Chamber
Chamber II
 Chamber I

Partial financial assistance is available on a need basis. Payment may be made by credit card (Visa Mastercard, American Express, Pay Pal), check or cash. Tuitions must be paid in full before the final week of the semester or a student may not register for the next semester.

There is also a family pledge of $75.00 in lieu of soliciting yearbook advertising. Additional donations may also be made through United Way by designating Tucson Junior Strings as the receiver of your donations..


Please see the audition requirements for each orchestra

Rehearsals for the Sinfonia orchestras and Junior Chamber are held on Saturday mornings at
First Church of the Brethren
201 North Columbus Boulevard
(two blocks north of Broadway on the west side of the street)

Rehearsal times

Sinfonia 3
tuning at 7:50
full rehearsal - 8:00 to 8:30
sectionals - 8:30 to 9:00

Sinfonia 2
tuning at 8:15
full rehearsal - 8:30 to 9:15
sectionals - 9:15 to 9:45

Sinfonia 1
tuning at 9:00
full rehearsal - 9:15 to 10:00
sectionals - 10:00 to 10:45

Junior Chamber
tuning at 9:45
full rehearsal 10:00 to 11:00
sectionals - 11:00 to 11:45

PLEASE NOTE:   In order to participate in this orchestra you MUST be 8th grade or above, and meet certain technical requirements (please check TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS for each orchestra)
First Church of the Brethren

201 North Columbus Boulevard
(two blocks north of Broadway on the west side of the street)
rehearses on Monday evenings
tuning: 6:45
full rehearsal - 7:00 to 8:00 PM
sectionals - 8:15 to 9:15 PM



Dennis R. Bourret, Director

TJS BOARD of Directors

Peter Norquest
Wesley Hunter
Mi Jin Kim-Ley
Shana Burgos-Destephanis

Mary Wilson, Legal Advisor

Angelica Alvarado-Wells, violin/viola
Maree Archuleta, violin
Jackson Bailey, violin/viola
Amanda Hartley, viola
Alisha Nichols, bass
Rose Todaro, violin
Stephen Warner, cello/bass


Tucson Junior Strings 
Dennis Bourret, Director
6426 East Eli Drive
Tucson, AZ 85710-8741
Telephone (520) 465-1334
e-mail: dennisbourret@gmail.com 


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