The Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s (TSO) Southern Arizona Residency (SAR) is an ongoing collaboration with rural communities to bring music education and live orchestra concerts to southern Arizona’s outlying areas.

  • SAR reaches more than 7,356 children and adults annually in the rural communities of Ajo, Bisbee, Green Valley, Nogales, Oracle, Sahuarita, Sells, and other surrounding communities.
  • The reach of the project is expanded beyond these communities by attracting adults, families and students from smaller communities along the southeast border of the Arizona and Mexico, and down the San Pedro River Valley to the Nogales/Sonora border.
  • TSO staff collaborates with a planning committee in each community – usually consisting of arts councils, school districts, teachers, volunteers and others – to design a Residency module tailored to meet the needs and interests of the specific community.
  • TSO staff also assists partner communities with grant proposals, local underwriting, and gathering pertinent program data.
  • Community partners help the TSO in reaching each community’s diverse population by advising on concert scheduling and location choices, local marketing strategies, and creating networking opportunities with local stakeholders in order to maximize program reach.
  • Since the program began in 1998, the TSO has partnered with more than 35 rural communities.

Each Residency may include some or all of the following components:

  • in-school concerts by TSO ensembles
  • a comprehensive inquiry-based music education curriculum
  • musician conducted workshops for young musicians
  • professional development workshops for teachers and volunteers
  • ensemble recitals and/or an orchestral performance for the entire community

Additionally, many students from the SAR communities, grades 3 – 8, attend TSO’s Young People’s Concerts in Tucson.

Residency communities are as far away as 150 miles from Tucson, often reachable only by two lane highways through desert and mountains.  These communities are populated with retirees, fixed income, low income, and young families.  Travel time and distance factors, age, financial capacity, and high gas prices limit leisure travel into Tucson.  The TSO is committed to addressing these access issues through collaboration.

For more information, please contact:
Rachel Clemmer, (520) 620-9157

This program is made possible in part by the support of: