The music department is involved with several programs/organizations that help promote the department’s mission:

San Juan Symphony Orchestra (SJSO)

Is a semi-professional orchestra whose members come from this region (Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado), and perform concerts in both Durango and Farmington, New Mexico. SJSO typically performs four subscription concerts annually. The music department supports this organization by providing free facilities, orchestral music, and upper division string students who are admitted into the ensemble through audition. Several faculty members hold principal positions in the ensemble, and faculty have also recently served as the Musician’s Representative to the Board of Directors.

Artist in Residence Program

Is a joint venture that involves the Fort Lewis College Foundation, current music faculty, and community volunteers. An endowment has been established that has grown to well over $100,000. Funding for the program comes from the endowment’s interest. This entity presents a variety of concerts and master classes by guest artists designed to enhance the musical education of Fort Lewis students and younger students from the Four Corners Region. These artists typically either perform or present, give a masterclass, and interact with students and community members at events designed to bolster recruiting efforts. Recent artists:

2015-2016 season:

  • Joyce Lyons, jazz vocalist
  • Trio Solis, violin, cello, piano
  • Enhake, violin, cello, piano
  • Toby Yatso, Musical Theatre, voice, directing
  • Ryan Anthony, trumpet
  • Sean Jones Quartet, jazz
  • Carole Fitzpatrick, Robert Barefield, & Russell Ryan, soprano, baritone, piano
  • Jocelyn Swigger, piano

Artist in Residence (AIR) guests 2014-2015 season:

  • Joyce Lyons, jazz vocalist
  • Best of Brass, brass ensemble
  • ZOFO, piano duo
  • Odin Rathnam, violin
  • Stefan Karlsson Trio, jazz
  • Line Upon Line, Percussion Trio
  • Bonnie Draina, Body Mapping specialist
  • Omri Shimron, piano

Artist in Residence (AIR) guests 2013-2014 season:

  • Joyce Lyons, jazz vocalist
  • Robert Spillman, collaborative pianist
  • Timothy Phillips, clarinet
  • James Doyle and Scott Ney, Percussion
  • Christian McBride, jazz
  • Scott Robbins, composer

Music in the Mountains

Music in the Mountains is a nonprofit that annually presents festival orchestra and chamber concerts in and around Durango. The festival includes a conservatory that is held on-campus for advanced high school and collegiate musicians. Several of our faculty perform in the festival orchestra and/or teach in the conservatory.

We collaborate with Music in the Mountains on a number of educational activities throughout the year that are targeted towards engaging elementary students and advocating for music. These include:

  • Instrument Discovery Day
    • Held annually in January in Jones Hall
    • An opportunity for area 5th graders to tryout instruments for the first time
  • Extravaganza
    • Held annually in February
    • Advocacy event that celebrates local middle school and high school instrumental ensembles
    • Fort Lewis College Music Department ensembles are the feature groups
  • 5th Grade Band Concert
    • Held annually in February
    • Presented by Fort Lewis College Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble for area 5th graders
    • Designed to foster excitement for playing a musical instrument when the students enroll in 6th grade in the fall
  • Taste of Music
    • Held annually in April
    • Small ensemble concert presented to area 3rd and 4th graders
    • Fort Lewis College Music Department small ensembles perform

Southwest Civic Winds (SWCW)

The Southwest Civic Winds is a diverse group of musicians with the shared goal of keeping the culture of symphonic bands alive in the Four Corners community. Established and conducted in 2012 by Fort Lewis College Director of Bands, Mark Walters, the SWCW presently has an average of 60 performers at each concert. The SWCW offers side-by-side performance opportunities for area high school student musicians. The SWCW provides the community with a professional, mature, nurturing environment for musicians who contribute their time and talents.

As a 501c3 non-profit organization, Southwest Civic Winds has a mission to establish a cultural resource for the communities in the Four Corners. To meet this goal we strive to:

  • Provide an opportunity for adult musicians to rehearse and perform quality symphonic band literature while developing their musical skills through ensemble performance.
  • Provide musical programs of the highest standards for audiences throughout the Four Corners.
  • Present each musician with an opportunity to experience a positive and creative outlet with social interaction.
  • Preserve the rich heritage that community bands have long provided to communities by entertaining the general public through live performances as well as to provide a source of cultural pride for the citizens of the southwest.

The Southwest Civic Winds is governed by a Board of Directors that is responsible for the business and cultural affairs of the Civic Winds. The Board of Directors is comprised of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and officers-at-large. Please review the Southwest Civic Winds By-Laws for specifics on the governing officer’s duties and responsibilities.

Music Teachers National Association (4CMTA)

Founded in 2013, the Fort Lewis College Music Department and faculty contributed to the formation of the group and to its community outreach projects in a myriad of ways.

  • The Fort Lewis College allows the 4CMTA to use its facilities at no-cost, allowing many programs and festivals such as the Young Artists Festival, the Student Merit Program, and the Duet and Ensemble Festival, all which involve students and teachers from the community.
  • Many of the faculty adjudicate for the 4CMTA festivals, such as the Young Artists Festival which involved over 150 young musicians from the community.
  • Faculty members regularly lecture and provide programs for the 4CMTA, and one faculty member serves on the board and as the 4CMTA historian.
  • Many of the faculty help run, teach, and perform with young community pianists participating in the Fort Lewis College Piano Academy, which is sponsored in part by the 4CMTA.

Become a Music Major:

Learn about the application process

Apply now to become a Music Major or a Music Minor at Fort Lewis College.