WINTER WEATHER CANCELLATION - When USM is closed, Youth Ensembles rehearsals must be cancelled. A notice will be posted on this page whenever that happens.
Wednesday, February 7, USM is closing at 12:15 p.m. because of the snow. Therefore, Youth Ensembles will be cancelled. You know what that means, right? Stay home, stay safe, and practice!
Youth Ensembles Audition Information
Auditions for new members to our choral and strings programs are available.
See below for audition requirements.
Please call Binney Brackett, 207-780-5003, to schedule an audition.
Admission at our concerts is by donation at the door and no tickets are needed.
Suggested donation $8 adults /$5 students and seniors, $20 per family.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Both concerts are scheduled at 7 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium in Portland. They feature the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Young People's String Consort, the Portland Junior Orchestra and the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble.
Next Choral Concert
Choral Masterwork, Stephen Edwards' Requiem for My Mother
Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Merrill Auditorium, Portland. The concert is at 7:30 p.m.
Macy's is the corporate sponsor for the USM Youth Ensembles concerts.
Youth Ensembles Schedules are Here
- Instrumental Groups 17-18 Schedule: PYWE, PYSO, PYJO, PYPSC
- Choral Groups 17-18 Schedule: SMCC, SMYC
Make your online dues payments here
See what the press had to say about the USM Youth Ensembles Spring 2015 Concert:
Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra's 70th Anniversary Instrumental Concert:
This is the original review following the November 16, 2012 concert:
>>> Meet the Conductors <<<
- Southern Maine Youth Chorale, grades 7 - 12, mixed voices
- Southern Maine Children's Choir, treble singers grades 4 and up
- Portand Young People's String Consort
- Portland Youth Junior Orchestra
- Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra
- Portland Youth Wind Ensemble
Auditions are held at the USM School of Music, in Corthell Hall on the Gorham Campus. Auditions take place each year in May, or by appointment.
For details about audition requirements, scroll down to ensemble description.
Call Binney Brackett at 207-780-5003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information you cannot find below.
About the USM Youth Ensembles
The SMYC is comprised of singers grades 7-12, selected through an audition and voice screening process. We are looking for students with variety of attributes such as, talent, musicianship, vocal skill, singing experience, and a serious interest in singing choral music.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Audition requirements: Candidate singers will be asked to sing a familiar song such as Happy Birthday or America (My Country 'Tis of Thee). Chorale members will have additional requirements that will be provided when scheduling your audition. The audition will also include singing back pitch and rhythm patterns and a range check. The audition will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Southern Maine Children's Choir members, treble voices grades 4 and up, should have an interest in and love of singing, and be able to focus in a rehearsal lasting one hour and fifteen minutes. They are expected to be able to sing on pitch with a pleasant tone quality, maintain their own part when singing in harmony, and have a well developed tonal memory. Previous experience singing in a choir is preferred. Prospective members do not have to know how to read music in order to join.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 to 7 p.m.
Audition requirements: Candidate singers will be asked to sing a familiar song such as Happy Birthday or America (My Country 'Tis of Thee). The audition will also include singing back pitch and rhythm patterns and a range check. The audition will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
For more information about auditions for the instrumental ensembles, please contact Binney Brackett at 207-780-5003, email@example.com.
About your instrumental audition: Auditions are approximately 8 minutes in length and will consist of a prepared piece(s) of the applicant’s choice. You may perform two different works or movements, or two portions of one work. The prepared piece(s) should be from your instrument’s standard repertory and demonstrate slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing. The piece(s) should demonstrate command of the elements listed under the following requirements. Please consult with your private instructor if you have questions about what is considered standard repertory.
The Portland Young People’s String Consort gives less advanced string players training for the PYJO, a chance to become familiar with playing in an ensemble situation, following a conductor, and gaining formal concert experience. Established in 1979, the PYPSC offers adjunct support to string programs in Maine schools.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 to 7 p.m.
Audition requirements: Candidates must have the ability to read music, use basic bow strokes (legato, staccato, detaché) and have started shifting and vibrato. Candidates should prepare one or two contrasting pieces of their choice and two-octave major scales through three (3) sharps or flats. Sight-reading will be asked.
The Portland Youth Junior Orchestra is an intermediate-level string orchestra, which has as its primary goal to train its players to move into the PYSO. It stresses the building of solid fundamental orchestral skills, improvement in sight-readiing ability, and presents members with challenging and varied repertory.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 7 p.m.
Audition requirements: Same as PYPSC (above). In addition, candidates must play one major and one minor three-octave scale (any form), demonstrate spiccato bow stroke, familiarity through five (5) positions (cellos should have an acquaintance with tenor clef), a well-developed vibrato and tone, and moderate sight-reading proficiency. Sightreading will be asked. Ferdinand Liva of the Deponta (DaPonte) String Quartet conducts PYJO.
The Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra is made up of more than 70 musicians, ranging in age from 11 to 18. Established in 1942, the PYSO has grown into a pre-professional program of high caliber, which challenges its members with a diverse repertory of orchestral literature.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 5:45 - 7:15 p.m.
Audition requirements: Candidates should have the same skills as described for PYJO (above) plus comfort in upper positions and advanced control of intonation and tone quality. All players should have previous ensemble experience and be well-advanced in the command of their instrument. Confidence in sight-reading and familiarity with all major and minor scales is required. The solo selection should demonstrate advanced technical command and lyrical expression. Sight-reading will be asked.
The Portland Youth Wind Ensemble began out of a need in the greater Portland area for a select wind ensemble for talented young wind players. It is dedicated to refining concert techniques through a sophisticated repertoire of wind and band literature. The principal chair musicians are also members of PYSO.
Weekly rehearsals during the academic year are Wednesdays from 7:30 - 9 p.m.
Audition requirements: All candidates should perform a piece(s) of their choice that best demonstrates their technical and musical skills in both fast/technical and slow/lyrical music. Auditions are approximately 8 minutes in length and will consist of a prepared piece(s) of the applicant’s choice. You may perform two different works or movements, or two portions of one work. The prepared piece(s) should be from your instrument’s standard repertoire and demonstrate slow, lyrical playing and faster, more technical playing. The piece(s) should demonstrate command of the elements listed under “requirements.” Please consult with your private instructor if you have questions about what is considered standard repertory.
Those interested in youth music programs will also be interested in USM's Summer Youth Music and Theatre Camps.