Ah, yes. Travel to Eastport, Maine, for the scenery, for the lobster, for the galleries, for the whale-watching, for the blueberries, and…for the symphony orchestra? We’ll bet you a bowl of chowder at Quoddy Bay Lobster that you did not see that one coming.
The thing about life way Downeast is that we all know absolutely that an individual or a small group of friends working together can make a difference that will benefit the entire community. Stop anyone who lives in Eastport, and they will give you examples of this magic. The arts center, the childrens’ string program, the art scene, the food pantry, were all born from the small dreams and mighty effort of the people of Eastport, Maine.
And so it was that The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra (PBSO) was born. When the season begins in the spring, musicians gather on Thursday evenings at the Eastport Arts Center to practice. Conductor and music director Trond Saeverud (also concert master of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra) leads the community orchestra, an artistic collaboration of musicians from Washington County, Maine, and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, which celebrates its third anniversary this spring.
The orchestra’s mission has grown in its short lifetime. As usual, several PBSO concert series will be given throughout the year, on both sides of the international border. They have arranged three orchestra weekends for the Summer Keys music program in Lubec. They will play a concert for the Machias Bay Chamber Concerts series this summer. As a means of outreach to students and a wider audience, a quintet has been formed which can perform at smaller venues, including libraries and schools.
PBSO begins its 2010 season with a series of concerts in Eastport and Machias, Maine, and St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Concerts will be held at the Eastport Arts Center on Saturday, April 24, at 7 p.m.; at the University of Maine at Machias Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 1, at 7 p.m.; and at the Van Horne Ballroom of the Algonquin Hotel, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, on Sunday, May 9, at 2 p.m. (Atlantic Time).
The program will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, described by orchestra member and PBSO board member Helen Swallow as “very Beethoven: stirring, then cheerful and lyrical, dramatic and sometimesthunderous.”
The orchestra will be joined by trumpet player Ray Phillips of the Farmington Community Orchestra to play Proclamation, a contemporary composition by Ernest Bloch. “It is short and shiny and gorgeous,” says Swallow.
The third piece in the concert was written by PBSO conductor Trond Saeverud’s grandfather, Harald Saeverud, a beloved and revered composer in Norway. They will play his Sinfonia Dolorosa, written in a time heavily influenced by the German Occupation of Norway during World War II. Trond Saeverud conducted the Bangor Symphony playing this work last year.
Tickets to the concerts are $10 per person or $20 for families and are available at the door.
For more information, refer to http://www.eastportartscenter.com/constituents/passamaquoddy-bay-symphony-orchestra/ or to the orchestra’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pbsorchestra.