Tango Mercurio's all-volunteer, 20-piece community orchestra is a great way to engage in the folk tradition of live music and social dance. Founded in 2009, the Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra (TMCO) has played at milongas (Argentine tango social-dance events), folk festivals, schools, the Glen Echo Ballroom, the U.S. State Department, the Warner Theater, Colvin Run Dance Hall, and other performance venues in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Videos of some performances are available on YouTube.

Generous donors like you keep the orchestra rehearsing and performing. To make your tax-deductible contribution to reviving the Golden Age of Tango, please click here

2018 Live Music Program Update

Check out what's new with our Live Music program here.

Join the Orchestra

Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra rehearses on Tuesday nights and performs about 6-8 times a year - please join us! Contact Orchestra Director Brett Lemley to let him know your musical background and what instrument you play.

Host the Orchestra

Want to bring TMCO to your community? Send a message with the time, location, and a brief description of your event or organization to former Tango Mercurio board member Tom Kenney, who coordinates the orchestra's rehearsals and performances.


Mercurio initiated the Community Orchestra project in DC in the Fall of 2009 with a series of "Tango Jams" for amateur and professional musicians, many of them tango dancers. Led by artist-in-residence Korey Ireland, and with support from the DC Commission on the Arts&Humanities, these informal gatherings soon became weekly rehearsals. The group learned full arrangements and played for the first time for dancers at the 2010 Fishnet Fete. Additionally, the Orchestra has also had the great fortune to feature guest bandoneonistas Emmanuel Trifilio and Ben Bogart and guest singer Julian Ingram.
We envision a national network of musicians who can mutually support their pursuit and practice of tango music in collaboration with the growing Argentine tango dance community. We would like to acknowledge Ben Bogart for pioneering the concept of the "Tango Jam," Korey Ireland for inspiring groups of musicians around the world to play tango music for dancers, and Tova and Carlos Moreno for raising the profile of live music for dancing in the US with the "Monster Orchestra" concept at their festival Tango de los Muertos (2005-2009).

Do you want to support TMCO and contribute to the revival of live tango music?

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Brett Lemley is our Live Music Program Manager.

Brett has been a professional musician for three decades, beginning his professional career in 1986 with his first performances as a trumpeter. His whole career has been spent searching out new experiences and modes of expression. He has gone on to conduct, perform in, and record with, a wide variety of musical groups, spanning genres from classical music to jazz, rock, pop, punk, ska, and everything else under the sun. After beginning to dance tango in 2007, Brett took over directorial duties with the Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra in 2010. Since then he has actively sought out instruction from top musicians such as Julian Peralta, Ramiro Gallo, Pablo Alsan, Julian Hasse, and many others. Brett began to learn to play bandoneon in the winter of 2012, and has been playing bandoneon in the orchestra since 2013. His mission is to bring the elegance, artistry, and sense of play of live tango music to the D.C. area, and to encourage dancers to get to know this incredible music better, and elevate their dance.

TMCO in action: