School of Music

USM Youth Ensembles to Perform Fall Instrumental Concert at Merrill Auditorium

Portland Young People's String Consort

GORHAM, Maine – The University of Southern Maine  (USM) Youth Ensembles will perform their annual fall instrumental concert next month at the Merrill Auditorium.

Presented by the USM School of Music, the concert will include: the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann, USM director of string studies and orchestral activities; the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, conducted by Peter Martin, USM director of bands; the Portland Young People's String Consort, conducted by Deborah Dabczynski; and the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, conducted by Ferdinand Liva, USM violin artist faculty member.

The details of the concert are:

  • USM Youth Ensembles Fall Instrumental Concert, 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14,
    Merrill Auditorium, Portland; tickets, $8/$5 suggested donation at the door; open seating; sponsored by Macy’s

“The USM Youth Ensembles annual fall instrumental concert is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a vibrant musical community made up of talented young musicians, an engaged university and thriving music programs in area schools,” said Alan Kaschub, director of the USM School of Music.

“The energy of these performances comes from a dedicated group of students and fantastic conductors who love working with young musicians,” Kaschub continued. “Add into that an audience of parents, teachers and other supporters of youth music and something magical really happens!

“Thanks to excellent grade-school, junior-high and high-school music teachers, private instructors and parental support, these students arrive at the USM School of Music well prepared to perform the challenging music that our conductors program,” Kaschub said.

The concert will open with the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, conducted by Peter Martin.

The wind ensemble will perform Stephen Melillo’s “Seven Happy Years – Messages to and from Heaven,” John Mackey’s “Sheltering Sky” and Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture.”

Following will be the Portland Young People's String Consort, conducted by Deborah Dabczynski, Portland Symphony Orchestra cellist.

Comprised of the youngest students in the ensembles, the string consort focuses on classical pieces, which introduce familiar melodies to the students. The string consort will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 2,” Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Te Deum,” Brian Balmages’ “Afterburn” and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Hopak from The Fair at Sorochinsk.”

With no intermission, the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, conducted by Ferdinand Liva, will continue the concert with George Gershwin’s “Lullaby” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Ancient Dances and Aires.” “Lullaby” was originally composed for a string quartet, and it will be a rare treat to hear the full junior orchestra play the work, particularly the lively harmonic techniques that make up much of the piece.

Concluding the concert will be the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann. The symphony orchestra will perform Verdi’s overture to “La Forza del Destino” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije Suite, Opus 60. 

The Verdi piece will be played in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

“The overture, generally regarded as the finest of all Verdi's symphonic introductions, is not an encapsulation of the drama, but rather a powerful evocation of its atmosphere,” said Lehmann. “The piece incorporates the ‘fate’ motif which plays so big a part in the tragic events that unfold throughout the opera.”

The Prokofiev piece will counter the drama of the overture with a more light-hearted tone.

The USM Youth Ensembles fall instrumental concert is sponsored by Macy’s.

The instrumental USM Youth Ensembles include students ranging from grade school to high school. Auditions for the instrumental ensembles are held each fall and each spring at the USM School of Music.

The vocal USM Youth Ensembles currently are holding ongoing auditions at the USM School of Music. The Southern Maine Youth Chorale, comprised of singers in grades seven-12, is conducted by Shannon Chase, and the Southern Maine Children's Choir, comprised of singers in grades four and up, is conducted by Paul McGovern.

For information about USM Youth Ensembles and auditions, go to:




Auditions for: Portland Youth Symphony Orchestras, Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, and Youth Choirs

USM Youth Ensembles

The USM Youth Ensembles invite young musicians and singers (ages 8-18) to audition for the following ensembles.

Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra
Portland Youth Wind Ensemble
Portland Youth Junior Orchestra
Portland Young Peoples String Consort
Southern Maine Youth Chorale
Southern Maine Children's Choir

Learn More


Connect With Us