Students in the University of Maine Symphonic Band rehearsing for a virtual performance in March. The band will be in concert again at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Collins Center for the Arts. Courtesy of University of Maine

ORONO — A University of Maine Symphonic Band performance, a UMaine Opera Workshop and the return of the annual Yuletide Concert highlight a busy week of live performances in the School of Performing Arts Division of Music.

After a year of virtual performances shared via YouTube, the UMaine Opera Workshop returns to Minsky Recital Hall for free public performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 and on Friday, Dec. 3 under the direction of UMaine voice instructor Isaac Bray and featuring a program of scenes selected from works by Mozart, Handel, Kurt Weill and more. 

For Bray, the return to live performance is a welcome relief. “Being back in person for these opera performances means everything, especially for this specific artform,” he says. “Opera is best experienced live. The power and beauty of the human voice are on full display with no amplification of any kind, so the listener really needs to be sitting in the audience to fully appreciate what is being offered.” 

For many student members of the Opera Workshop, this will be their first time presenting live on stage. Sabrina Sudol, a double major in studio art and music from Ramsey, New Jersey, is in her fourth semester with the Opera Workshop, but this is her first semester in front of an audience. Katie Mooney, a second-year music education major from Chepachet, Rhode Island, is in her first semester with the group, but she, too, is excited: “Being able to perform in front of a live audience makes the process more fulfilling and brings the excitement back into performing live music.”

Also at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, lecturer and band director Christopher White and the UMaine Symphonic Band will be in concert in the Collins Center for the Arts, featuring professor Stuart Marrs as a guest soloist and Nick Talbot as a guest conductor. Tickets are $12 and available at the Collins Center box office. The concert also will be livestreamed.

The program includes a selection of new and traditional compositions, including a work of social conscience inspired by a 2015 act of domestic terrorism against worshippers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 in the Collins Center, the School of Performing Arts will present the in-person return of its annual Yuletide Celebration. The tradition features all of the UMaine choral ensembles, including the Oratorio Society, University Singers, Collegiate Chorale and Black Bear Men’s Chorus, performing holiday favorites with the accompaniment of small instrumental ensembles. Nearly 200 singers are expected to take part in this year’s Yuletide Celebration, conducted by School of Performing Arts faculty Francis John Vogt, Danny Williams and Molly Webster. Tickets are $12 and available at the Collins Center box office or online


For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Brian Jansen at brian.jansen@maine.edu.