Music Department

Music Outreach Programs

About the Outreach Programs

The Department of Music offers a number of outreach programs in music for prospective students. Community outreach is prevalent in the music department with strong offerings in instrumental outreach that include among others, the Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp, the New England Youth Wind Ensembles (Junior and Senior), and the String Project for young orchestral students.

UMass Lowell Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp 

For almost 20 years the UMass Lowell Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp has offered a week-long immersion in an honor's band music environment, the only one of it's kind in the state. Our intensive, residential music camp offers a myriad of musical experiences for participants.  Without audition, 130 students are able to enroll in courses such as conducting, score analysis, music theory, piano and more in addition to participating in concert band, wind ensemble, jazz bands, brass choirs and much more.

All students have the opportunity to work along side dozens of university faculty and staff, who embrace the opportunity to share their own enthusiasm and expertise. Executive Director Deb Huber ('89) has engaged in an aggressive commissioning program, allowing students the opportunity to perform multiple World Premieres of new wind-band works from renowned contemporary composers. New works are expected to be premiered in 2016 (the 20th anniversary of the camp) and in 2017. This, in addition to performing and learning with other students from widely diverse backgrounds, makes the program an unique experience.  

Interested applicants may register on-line and download information from the Web site. Scholarships are available and contingent upon auditions, however auditions are not necessary to be accepted into the camp. The camp accepts approximately 130 student musicians, whose instruments include piccolo, flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, all saxes, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, drum set, string bass, electric bass, piano and guitar. For more information please contact Executive Director, Deb Huber at 978-934-4133.

The New England Youth Wind Ensemble

The New England Youth Wind Ensemble founded in 2000 by Artistic Director and Conductor Deb Huber, is for high school students in grades 9-12. The ensemble meets on Monday evenings from 6:45 to 9 p.m. in Durgin Concert Hall. UMass Lowell's New England Youth Wind Ensembles are an integral component of the community outreach programs offered at the university. NEYWE reflects a microcosm of the community in musicianship and cultural diversity. Our Junior and Senior Wind Ensembles are thriving and vital components  of a community organization that provide an educational learning experience for both ensemble participants and college music-student coaches. The collaboration with and instruction from college mentors is invaluable as is the opportunity for child to sit next to a college musician, someone who cares about the child's successful learning and understanding, whose dream is to teach and who'd passion is music. 

Students of diverse backgrounds and varied levels of prowess are exposed to commissioned works, perform with soloists and are taught by university faculty and coached by college musicians.  Participants build self-confidence and self-esteem, further musicianship and improve individual music skills in an environment of teamwork and learning. Emphasis is place on educational and artistic development as well as ensemble technique.  Repertoire is chosen from diverse periods and styles, adjusted to meet the proficiency of participants. This Honor's band program inspires students from diverse backgrounds to work and achieve. Together. Auditions take place in January. The ensemble begins at the end of January and runs through April, with a finale concert taking place in May. Applications can be downloaded from the website. For more information contact the Artistic Director and Conductor Deb Huber at 978-934-4133.

The New England Junior Youth Wind Ensemble 

The New England Junior Wind Ensemble is for junior high school students in grades 6-9. The ensemble meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 4:50 to 6 p.m. in Durgin Concert Hall. UMass Lowell's New England Junior Wind Ensemble (inaugural year 2007) brings students from the middle-school community together with college students from the UMass Lowell Music Department to rehearse and perform. This ensemble provides a unique opportunity for the participants -- young students are able to perform with those who will be the band directors of the future. Seating takes place in January; students are asked to prepare a piece to play in for a conductor's panel to ascertain seating order. The ensemble begins at the end of January and runs through April, with a finale concert taking place in May. Applications can be downloaded from the website. For more information contact the Artistic Director and Conductor  Deb Huber at 978-934-4133.

The UMass Lowell String Project 

The UMass Lowell String Project, run by Executive Director John-Morgan Bush was founded in 2001 by Prof. Kay G. Roberts.  This program offers high-quality string training and creative music classes to Lowell Public School Students, targeting diverse, underserved neighborhoods.

Students are taught by UMass Lowell music majors, distinguished professors, and guest artists. Creative Sound Play introduces participants to music technology, improvisation, composition, and music from different cultures.

The UMass Lowell String Project provides a supportive, creative and educational environment where youth from diverse backgrounds learn to interact, exchange ideas, and make music together. We have created a musical community for parents, teachers, and students, and are an important cultural and social presence in Lowell, bringing free concerts to the community.

The Lowell Youth Orchestra

The UMass Lowell Youth Orchestra (LYO), founded in 2009 by Prof. Roberts, builds on the success of the UMass Lowell String Project, providing an outlet for young musicians interested in acquiring ensemble and performance experience. Under Executive Director John-Morgan Bush, the LYO explores music from the traditional repertory as well as music reflective of Lowell's community of immigrants. Through music, the LYO and the UMass Lowell String Project contribute to the understanding of different cultures.

The New England Orchestra

The New England Orchestra (NEO), Lowell's professional chamber orchestra, offers diverse musical programming, accessible to all. Founded by Kay G. Roberts in 2004, NEO links cultures through music and celebrates harmony in diversity.

The recipient of a 2010/11 grant from the UMass President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund, NEO performs in alliance with the UMass Lowell Youth Orchestra (LYO) and UMass Lowell music students at Eliot Presbyterian Church and at Durgin Concert Hall.

For more information about NEO, please visit