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Santa Fe High School offers three levels of orchestra: beginning (Orchestra 1/2), intermediate (Orchestra 3) and advanced (Orchestra 4). 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 8 years and at Milagro Middle School for 1 year. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Music from Santa Fe University of Art & Design and a Master of Music in Music Education from The University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching orchestra, Mr. Tafoya plays violin with local group Mariachi Azteca de Santa Fe, teaches violin and viola 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. 

Santa Fe High School Orchestra consistently receives high scores at MPA and students frequently audition into the All-State Orchestra.

Orchestra 1/2

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Orchestra 1/2 serves students with zero musical experience to students with 1-2 years of experience. This course focuses on the fundamentals of performance on bowed string instruments: violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Students are not required to have any musical experience and instruments will be provided by the school.

Orchestra 3

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Orchestra 3 is an intermediate/advanced level orchestra class that is open to  students with 2+ years of experience in orchestra, either in middle school, 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 4

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Orchestra 4 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 from this group consistently win seats at district honor orchestra and All-State. Emphasis is placed on fine details of high-quality musical performance and advanced string instrument technique. Repertoire for this course is at a very high level and students are expected to perform at a high level.

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