School of Music

USM Choruses Seek School-Aged Participants

Youngsters in the greater Portland area who are looking for a fun and exciting opportunity to sing in a choral group are encouraged to audition for either of two choruses sponsored by the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Music.

Auditions continue to be open for both the Southern Maine Children’s Choir (fourth grade and higher) and the Southern Maine Youth Chorale (grade seven-12), according to Alan Kaschub, USM School of Music director.

“We’re looking for kids who love to sing, kids who would have fun in a choral experience,” Kaschub said. “This is not meant to be a substitute for being in school choral groups. It’s for kids who want even more.”

While rehearsals already are under way, both groups still are offering rotating auditions, Kaschub said, adding that he would like to see each chorus composed of up to 60 participants. Children and parents are welcome to observe a rehearsal and then audition afterwards or before the next rehearsal, the director said.

“By bringing in kids from all over the area at once, we’re able to make a more select group,” he said. 

The choruses perform a variety of music, including classical, African percussion and popular pieces. Each group will give one major performance this season, Kaschub said. 

The Southern Maine Children’s Choir is a well-established choir of students who are selected through audition and a voice screening process. Members are selected based on talent, musicianship, vocal skill, singing experience and interest. 

Dr. Paul McGovern, Southern Maine Children’s Choir conductor, teaches classroom music for the Portland Public Schools. He has more than 20 years experience in teaching music at all grade levels, including college. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College/CUNY and his Master’s Degree and doctorate in choral conducting from Indiana University. 

Auditions and rehearsals for the Children’s Choir are held at 5:45 p.m., on Wednesdays, room 211, Corthell Hall, USM Gorham campus. Auditions can be scheduled online at: usm.maine.edu/music 

The Southern Maine Youth Chorale is a new, senior-high, mixed chorus, also chosen through audition and a voice-screening process. Chorale members also are selected based on talent, musicianship, vocal skill, singing experience and interest. The Youth Chorale is a member of the acclaimed USM Youth Ensembles. 

Dr. Shannon Chase is a member of the music education faculty at the USM School of Music. She has taught vocal and choral music in public schools and at the college level for more than 20 years. She is founding director of Vox Nova Chamber Choir, a semi-professional vocal ensemble, and also maintains her own private voice studio. 

Auditions and rehearsals for the Youth Chorale are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, room 211, Corthell Hall, USM Gorham campus. Auditions can be scheduled online at: usm.maine.edu/music 

For more information about the Youth Ensembles, go to: usm.maine.edu/music/usm-youth-ensembles-0