While it seems to be convenient to kick around the University of Southern Maine and offer opinions about its business plan, student protests or even the future of our local university, let me highlight one part of USM that is achieving excellence, adding students and thriving in its integration with the community – the School of Music and, in particular, the Chamber Singers, led by one of Maine’s best music educators, Bob Russell.

Their concert at Sacred Heart Church in Yarmouth last Wednesday left me speechless to describe the beauty of the music and of the performance.

The Chamber Singers shared their evening with the middle school and high school students of the Wescustago Youth Choir, who no doubt heard some of the most inspired music in their young lives.

Connecting highly accomplished collegiate musicians with junior high and high school kids who still manage to keep singing as a core activity is worth the entire music budget of USM.

What better example for young students to see (and hear!) where they might be in a few short years, than to share a stage and be swimming in glorious music, some of it younger than the students, some 300 years old?

I’m a fortunate bystander to USM. I don’t have any kids there, I don’t really know any students personally and have only been to a handful of sports events in Gorham.

What a rich experience for any of us to listen to a concert of the chamber group, but how cool is it that they travel and teach and inspire the next generation of kids around Maine?

John Egan


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