Inside the Orchestra (ISO) brings educational orchestra music to young children throughout the Denver community. By providing a hands-on experience with a real orchestra, ISO is able to build on the children’s education and expand their knowledge of classic compositions.
Inside the Orchestra, formerly known as the Junior Symphony Guild (JSG), is celebrating a rich history of 50+ years as a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the orchestra in Denver’s community. The JSG was established in 1958 by a group of “junior” aged women whose original mission was to support classical and symphonic music in the Denver metropolitan community.
These ladies of the JSG raised over $4 million through fund raisers, such as their Designer Showhouse, and private contributions to lend financial support to the Denver Symphony Orchestra (DSO).
During the period of supporting the DSO, the Guild realized that there existed a need and an opportunity to introduce children to the orchestra in a way which would engage them and spark a love for the arts. With a directive to “never bore the children”, the JSG hired Thomas H. Jensen (conductor of the Colorado Ballet and radio broadcaster) 24 years ago as Music Director. Maestro Jensen created our “Inside the Orchestra” programs, recognized in 1997 by the American Symphony Orchestra League as “best in the nation. The programs and following have grown to reach more than 25,000 children (ages 6 and under, and grades K-8) and care-givers each season throughout the Denver area.
A seasoned conductor, musician, educator and voice talent, Thomas H. Jensen captivates audiences, young and old, with enthusiasm and flair. With his extensive background as a musician and educator, and his dedication to contributing to the community through the arts, Jensen was hired in 1986 by the JSG to design and lead Inside the Orchestra.
Jensen crafted the JSG music education programs to introduce children to the orchestra in an engaging way. Given the directive to “never bore the children,” he uses theater of the mind activities to connect the young audience with the orchestral repertoire and its instruments. Tom is a tireless advocate of excellence in the arts, getting children more involved with music through school programs and private lessons.
Mr. Jensen earned his degree in Music and Conducting from Hamline University in Minnesota, and after his graduate work at Texas Christian University, founded and served as music director of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. Later, he served as music director of the Twin City Institute for Talented Youth, music director of the Colorado Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, and guest conductor of the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Nashville Ballet.
Tom is a renowned presence in the media. From the stage to the air waves, his vibrant personality attracts media attention. In the Pikes Peak region, he became known as the Marathon Maestro for conducting a herculean 24 hour session to raise money and awareness for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. Since 1986, Tom has hosted his own radio talk shows in Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston, San Antonio and Las Vegas. Tom has recently done voice over work for the Baldwin Piano Company and Brooks Tower, and has written and produced many other commercials.
Inside the Orchestra is unique from other organizations, such as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in that our sole mission is to bring orchestra music to children through music education outreach programs. Contact our Denver children’s orchestra group to learn how we are helping to get music at schools throughout Colorado.