Thurnauer School of Music

Performance Ensembles


Playing and singing in an ensemble gives students the incredible experience of performing with friends. Being in an ensemble teaches students how to listen and collaborate effectively with other musicians and instills valuable life skills.

The JCC Thurnauer School of Music has large and small ensembles for children and adults, including chorus, orchestra, chamber music, jazz band, jazz combo, and more.  Most ensembles require an audition and all ensembles perform during the school year. 

For information, please call 201.408.1466.

Audition for 2023-24 Ensembles

Auditions available in-person and virtually.

View audition requirements

Call 201.408.1466 to schedule an audition.


Young People’s Chorus @Thurnauer

Emma Brondolo, Artistic Director

For detailed information and to register, visit the Young People’s Chorus at Thurnauer page.

String Camerata 

An exciting first orchestral experience for intermediate string players. Students experience the joys of making music and performing together as a group in this small ensemble setting. To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Wednesdays from 5:30 – 6:30 pm 
15 Classes: Starts February 7
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public

Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra

Ages: Intergenerational

Students gain a strong understanding of orchestral music and develop their ensemble skills. They perform standard symphonic repertoire, popular selections and contemporary works.
To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Wednesdays from 5:15 – 7:00 pm 
15 Classes: Starts February 7
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public

Chamber Music

Francesca Silos, Director

Study and play some of the most beautiful music ever written. This ensemble experience offers instrumentalists the opportunity to learn chamber music while developing invaluable skills in musical expression. Working in small groups, students cultivate sophisticated listening skills, individual expressiveness and ensemble cohesion.

Starts 10/9/23

Flute Choir

Noelle Perrin-Bryson, Director 

Junior Flute Choir

Ages: 9th-12th

For advanced flutists in Grades 9th-12th 

Tuesdays from 6:45 – 7:30 pm
15 Classes: Starts January 30
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public 

Senior Flute Choir

Students enjoy making music together as they explore the challenges of the flute choir repertoire.
To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Tuesdays from 7:30 – 8:30 pm 
15 Classes: Starts January 30
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public 

Percussion Ensemble

Jeff Kraus, director

Students at all levels of percussion study (older beginners, intermediate and advanced) share melody, harmony and rhythm playing drums, marimba, timpani, hand drums and hand percussion, and improve their overall musicianship. 
To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Thursdays from 6:30 – 7:30 pm 
15 Classes: Starts February 1
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public 


AGES 12+ Minimum 2 years instrumental experience required.

This dynamic ten-week program provides an immersive experience in the world of jazz. Led by internationally acclaimed jazz artists James Austin and Joe Ravo, JazzWorks guarantees a top-tier education in this art form. This is an exciting opportunity to explore, learn, and perform.

Explore the many ways you can learn and play jazz! Available for all instruments.

In the first hour, students learn the essentials of improvisation and jazz performance. In the second hour, theory is put into practice, as students experience the joy of playing in a group setting. The class culminates in a concert performance during the week of June 23, time TBA.

Sundays from 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Starts 4/7/24

Students who play non-tuned percussion can participate in just the second hour performance rehearsal. All others must enroll for the full class

Sundays from 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Starts 4/7/24

The Coltrane Saxophone Ensemble

The Coltrane Saxophone Ensemble provides a chamber music experience for advanced saxophone students through repertoire ranging from jazz to classical, pop, and beyond. Students in the group gain experience with improvisation, musical composition, stylistic interpretation, and ensemble playing.
To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Wednesdays from 5:15 – 7:00 pm 
15 Classes: Starts January 31
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public

Video Game Orchestra

Zach Herchen, Conductor

Ages: 13+

From orchestral melodies to 8-bit chip tunes, jazz and more, students engage in the music they love and recognize from video games and expand their understanding of rhythm, harmony and composition.
To audition, contact Robyn Searles at

Tuesdays from 5:00 – 5:45 pm 
15 Classes: Starts January 30
$420 / JCC Member
$460 / Public

Shirah Community Chorus

Marsha Bryan Edelman, Conductor

One of the largest independent Jewish choruses in the United States performing Jewish repertoire in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino, in three and four parts. New singers who are interested in joining are welcome to attend our first rehearsal on Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 pm. For more information, contact choral director Marsha Edelman at

Full Year: $275/$315
One Semester: $150/$170


Why should my child study music?

  • In addition to the enormous personal enjoyment music brings, music study helps children learn how to learn.
  • Attending lessons and practicing an instrument each day teaches focus, concentration, patience, critical thinking and reflection – skills we use throughout our lives.
  • Studies have shown that “students engaged in music programs outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, ACT scores, attendance and discipline referrals.”
  • KU research establishes link between music education and academic achievement

Why should my child study at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music?

  • A school environment creates a community of musicians who inspire, motivate and befriend each other.
  • Students benefit musically and psychologically from the expertise of our excellent faculty, the School’s warm, nurturing atmosphere and the experience of hearing other students make music at different levels of musical development.
  • The Thurnauer School offers a stimulating variety of classes, performances, workshops, and recital opportunities.

Can my child just take private lessons at the Thurnauer School?

  • As an introduction to learning an instrument, students can take just a private lesson, but only during their first year at the school. Thereafter, all students must take one or more components as part of their music program.
  • Making music with others quickens the pace of learning and accomplishment. We also find that students have fun in these classes and that this is not only enriching but also highly motivational to them.
  • Children in a full program of music study are “stretched”, musically and intellectually, as they learn new things and exchange musical and verbal ideas with their peers.
  • A program that is limited to private lessons lacks the richness of learning about music. The more we understand, the more joy there is in playing and listening.

When should my child begin the study of music?

  • Learning about music can begin at birth. However, the best age to start an instrument varies with the instrument and the child’s physical development. For example, violinists and flutists can begin as young as 3, whereas trumpet players should be at least 8.
  • For children who are not yet ready to begin private lessons, we recommend our early childhood classes: Musical Explorers, Instrument Exploration, Piano Partners, and Young Drummers.
  • Our classes for young children stand on their own, but they are also developmental, and will introduce skills to help your child with further musical study if it’s desired. “Developmental” also means dynamic; each week builds on the previous lesson.

How should we help our child select an instrument?

  • The choice of instrument depends on the child’s interests, temperament and size. Most children have a natural affinity for a particular instrument or sound and, if given the chance to choose, will know what they like.
  • We encourage sitting in on lessons and classes at our School. Please contact our scheduling director to arrange for a visit or a trial lesson: 201-567-7900 Ext. 375 or
  • Attending professional concerts and student recitals with your child can also spark interest in a particular instrument. Children are welcome to attend any of our student recitals.

How do we select an instrumental teacher for your child?

At the Thurnauer School, a great deal of care is given to finding the best “match” from among our fine faculty. Music School Director Dorothy Roffman meets individually with each new student and parent(s) prior to enrollment, observing the child and learning about the family before assigning a teacher.

What is the registration process for new students?

The process is all handled online. It includes completing the registration form, enrolling in your choice of lessons and class, completing the scheduling forms, submitting a tuition deposit and, if you are enrolling ina private lesson program, scheduling a meeting with the Music School Director.

Do I need to register for the entire year?

With the exception of some early childhood classes, our curriculum is designed as a full, 30 week program. That said, you can withdraw within the first five weeks of classes for a prorated tuition and a $75 processing charge. Thereafter, partial refunds are available as stipulated in our Terms and Conditions.

Does the Music School offer a payment plan?

Yes. You can set up an eight month payment plan that withdraws funds from your bank account or charges your credit card automatically each month.

Does the Music School offer Financial Aid?

Yes. The Music School has a number of endowed funds earmarked for this purpose, and over 15%of our students receive some form of tuition scholarship. Scholarship forms are available online, or you may request one from the Financial Manager, Dan Jatovsky at

Are discounts available?

Yes. The following discounts are available for you and your family to enjoy the gift of music:

Sibling Discount
Save $25 off total tuition for a class or performance ensemble (if not part of a Private Lesson Program) SAVE $90 off total tuition for a Private Lesson Program

Refer a Friend Discount
Refer a new family who registers for private music lessons and you both get $100 off tuition

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