Center for Arts & Ideas

Youth Programs

UMass Lowell Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp

The Mary Jo Leahey Symphonic Band Camp is a residential, musically intensive honors band camp for instrumentalists in grades 9 through 12. Several full and partial scholarships are awarded. Interested applicants may 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 115 student musicians, whose instruments include string, bass, oboe, french horn, piano and guitar. Classes include Concert Band, Honors Wind Ensemble, Jazz Improvisation, Conducting, Sound Recording Technology, Big Band, and Small Jazz Ensembles. For more information please contact the director, Deb Huber, at 978-934-4133.

UMass Lowell String Project

The UMass Lowell String Project, founded in 2001 by Prof. Kay G. Roberts, 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.

UMass 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 Music Director Ben Parisi, an UMass Lowell alumnus, 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 2009-2010 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.

For more information about NEO, please visit: