The Jackson-area orchestra program is a comprehensive string orchestra program for students in grades 4-8. There are three levels of orchestra (Preparatory, Intermediate, and Concert) and a Chamber Strings group. Students may choose to study violin, viola, cello, or bass.
Preparatory Orchestra and Intermediate Orchestra students receive one 30-minute small group lesson each week during the school day at their respective schools. In addition, those students are bused to Jackson Middle School one day per week after school for full rehearsal.
Concert Orchestra students receive a 45-minute group lesson each week during the school day at Jackson Middle School. In addition, all Concert Orchestra students meet three days per week before school for their rehearsals. 6th grade students meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays while 7th/8th grade students meet on Mondays and Wednesdays. ALL of the Concert Orchestra students then rehearse together on Fridays.
Students from Ardmore Elementary School, Westmore Elementary School, York Center Elementary School, and Jackson Middle School participate in the program. First-year students are placed in the Preparatory Orchestra. Second-year students are placed in the Intermediate Orchestra. Students in their third year and beyond are placed in the Concert Orchestra. Middle school students may also choose to be part of the voluntary Chamber Strings group, which meets one day per week after school.
Mr. Farquhar has been the orchestra director at Jackson Middle School for the past 23 years. Prior to that, he taught orchestra in Fort Worth, Texas for 4 years. A native of Villa Park, he attended Salt Creek School, Albright Middle School, and Willowbrook High School. Mr. Farquhar earned his Bachelor's Degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and obtained teaching certification from the University of Texas at Arlington. He earned his Master's Degree in Music Education while attending VanderCook College of Music. Currently, he plays cello in a string quartet called Class Notes. The quartet is comprised of four orchestra teachers who enjoy playing for weddings and other celebrations. Mr. Farquhar also sings tenor in a barbershop quartet called Implied Harmony. He and his quartet mates enjoy singing for birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations.