Events downtown

Apr 16

USM Youth Ensembles Spring Instrumental Concert Merrill Auditorium | 20 Myrtle Street 7:00 am - 9:30 am
Event website

Portland Youth Symphomy Orchestra, Robert Lehmann, Conductor

Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, Jackie Townsend, Conductor

Portland Young People’s String Consort, Hanna Flewelling, Conductor

Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, Ferdinand Liva, Conductor

The USM Youth Ensembles present their annual spring concert on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street in Portland. Admission is by a suggested donation at the door of $8 for adults, and $5 for students, seniors, USM employees and alumni. Donations can also be made in advance by calling the Music Box Office at 207-780-5555, or online at

The concert is sponsored by Macy’s.

The current 2019-2020 artistic season marks the 23rd season since the USM School of Music assumed management of the Portland Youth Ensembles. We are honored to acknowledge the support by Macy’s of these vital ensembles, which serve talented young musicians throughout the region.

The concert will open with a performance by the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble. PYWE 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 band literature. It is conducted by USM Professor Jackie Townsend.

Next on the program will be a performance by the Portland Young People’s String Consort. This group gives less advanced string players training for the next step, the junior orchestra. In this group, these young players have 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. PYPSC is conducted by Maine’s 2018 New Music Teacher of the Year, Hanna Flewelling.

Then the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra will perform. PYJO is an intermediate-level string orchestra, which has as its primary goal to train its players to move into the youth symphony orchestra. It stresses the building of solid fundamental orchestral skills, improvement in sight-readiing ability, and presents members with challenging and varied repertory. PYJO is conducted by USM School of Music faculty member, Ferdinand Liva.

The concert will close with a performance of the The Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. PYSO is made up of more than 70 musicians, ranging in age from 13 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. PYSO is conducted by USM Professor Robert Lehmann.

All instrumental ensembles rehearse once a week on the USM Gorham campus. The groups give at least two concerts per year, fall and spring. The musicians also have the opportunity to study with USM Faculty, many of who are members of the PSO, as well as with guest conductors and other musicians. The young students in the program are also able to take back what they’ve learned from their experience in the youth ensembles to their local groups and bands.

Maintaining these ensembles, and advancing them to rank on par with other national youth ensembles, takes more funds than the School can muster through its regular budget. That is the critical role that Macy’s has filled. Through a significant financial commitment to the ensembles, Macy’s has assured the continuation of the ensembles at USM.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact the Music Box Office, (207) 780-5555, Hearing impaired: call USM’s telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.