Maine Pro Musica: Taking this show on the road

A recent article in the Portland Press Herald introduced me to the work of Janna Hymes and Maine Pro Musica, an orchestra that’s taking their show on the road:

“The model for the large orchestras can work. But if it’s not working—if every cog in the wheel is not working in unison with the others—you get off track and things fall apart,” said Janna Hymes, a former Fulbright scholar who moved to Maine in 2000 after stints as associate conductor at the Indianapolis Symphony and resident conductor of the Charlotte Symphony.

Maine Pro Musica is unique. It is a professional orchestra whose members all live and work in Maine. … While the 55-member orchestra is based on the midcoast, it has no home. Hymes models Maine Pro Musica after those turn-of-century bands that traveled by rail and steamship, playing in small communities across rural America. The mode of transportation has changed, but the orchestra prides itself on bringing music to communities that rarely get to hear live orchestral music. Read the full article.

Her lightweight approach to administration means there is no full time staff and Hymes runs the orchestra from her home. The funding model is also unique in that community groups raise money to pay the musicians and often use the concerts as fundraisers. The built-in community support also helps guarantee an audience in towns that the orchestra might not have a connection to otherwise. It’s an interesting new take on the orchestral model.


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