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Santa Fe High School offers three levels of orchestra: beginning, intermediate and advanced. The courses are labeled as Orchestra 1, 2, and 3 accordingly. Our orchestra courses teach students the skills necessary to participate in a professional or community level orchestra. Students focus on individual and ensemble performance technique and have several opportunities to perform as a whole group, in small groups, or as soloists. Orchestra is open to students of all levels and helps students achieve high levels of musical and artistic expression in addition to increasing students' levels of problem solving, attention to detail, organization, discipline and commitment, and overall higher academic achievement in all subject areas.

Mr. Tafoya - Orchestra Director

Mr. Tafoya has been teaching at Santa Fe High School for 3 years. This will be his 4th year at Santa Fe High, and his 3rd year teaching orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Music from Santa Fe University of Art & Design with emphases in World Music and Violin Performance. In addition to teaching orchestra, Mr. Tafoya is the violin instructor for the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association's Mariachi Program, plays violin with local group Mariachi Sonidos del Monte, who recently put out their first studio album, teaches violin privately, and is Orchestra Vice-President for the North Central New Mexico Music Educators Association.

Mr. Tafoya has a strong passion for violin and for working with young students. He believes that all students have the potential to perform at a high level and continues to increase the quality of musicianship produced through the SFHS Orchestra Program.

Since Mr. Tafoya has taken over the program, numbers have increased from 30 in the entire program to nearly 70 students in the program.


Mr. Tafoya enjoys instilling strong musical values in his students and wishes to continue to inspire young musicians through his teaching. 

Orchestra 1

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Orchestra 1 is a beginning level orchestra class that is open to all students regardless of experience. This class serves as an introduction to orchestral string instruments including violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Emphasis is placed on basic technique, music theory, and ensemble performance.

Orchestra 2

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Orchestra 2 is an intermediate level orchestra class that is open to any students who pass orchestra 1 or who have at least 1 year of orchestra experience, either in middle school or on an orchestral instrument with a private teacher or with the youth symphony. This class is a more in-depth look at string instrument technique that focuses on fine-tuning intonation, style, and artistic expression while continuing to learn how to work within an ensemble setting.

Orchestra 3

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Orchestra 3 is the highest level of orchestra that is offered at Santa Fe High School. It is an audition only orchestra for students who already perform at a high level on an orchestral string instrument. Students are held to high standards of dynamics, intonation, technique, style, and artistic interpretation in order to produce high quality music. Students have several opportunities to perform with an ensemble of over 20 students, in small groups, with the NCNMMEA Honor Orchestra, and with the NMMEA All-State Orchestra. Emphasis is placed on fine details of high-quality musical performance and advanced string instrument technique.

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