Education & Outreach

As Portsmouth's Symphony Orchestra, we are committed to providing education and support to our community through multi-media school informances, chamber music performances, and providing free access to classical music performances, such as the ballet Swan Lake (with partner organization Great Bay Academy of Dance) in Prescott Park. Our strength comes from our members who are your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Here is a chance to get to know them a little better. or at 603.686.8133 to discuss a performance in your location!

Chamber Music Workshop

Are you an adult who would enjoy playing with small groups, receiving expert coaching and getting to know other fellow musicians? Are you a middle- or high-school student who is looking for a week-long adventure in musical learning? As part of our educational outreach, we have developed a Summer Chamber Music Workshop to be held at the Portsmouth High School the week of July 8-12, 2019.

Music Director, John Page

There is something unique about the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. I've been at this for over 20 years. I've conducted many orchestras and many kinds of orchestras. The Portsmouth Symphony is a different animal. It's a bit of a conductor's dream because you're dealing with a group of people who have chosen to be there on that Monday night rehearsal. They could be anywhere else. They've chosen to be there. They get the purpose. They understand the mission and they're serious about it.

I think I decided to do this when I was about 16 years old because I looked around and I thought, "Well life's got to be exciting." And looked at this idea of conducting. I thought "Well that could be really interesting" and it still is.

If someone comes to a Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra Concert, the thing I would love them to go away with is the sense that they get something here that they cannot get anywhere else. That it is something that is essential to their lives as human beings and it's something that edifies their intellect. But it also touches their soul in a deep way that they just can't get anywhere else. That's the power of music.

Principal Cellist, Dorothy Braker

An orchestra is actually about magic. The sum of all parts is greater. It is actually better. We play better as a group than we do when you take us all individually and put us into parts. And that's a kind of magic that I would like you to be able to walk out of the concert feeling. I want you to sing.

The people that are in the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra live in Portsmouth. They work in Portsmouth. They have babies in Portsmouth. So Portsmouth means a lot to them. And so we are actually bringing our orchestra to the community because we are from the community. That's why it's important.

Mark Schneider, Trombone

The sound that can come at you from a symphony orchestra is just awesome. Music is a part of life. It just surrounds and fills everything that humans do.

Outside of the orchestra, to support that habit, I'm a network manager. I'm a father of two, step dad of two others, a husband, a dog and cat owner, a lover of sailing, scuba diving, adventure, hiking. All of that just kind of culminates in performances with an orchestra. It's a part of me. It's how I speak.

Sarah Krebs, Oboe

I'm one cat short of the crazy, cat lady collection. No, I only have three cats right now. Outside of the orchestra, I am a special education administrator. I've been in the field of education for about 22 years now. I try to find a lot of time to practice. My kids will often laugh at me because they say that's all I do. But it's really what I do.

Coming to a live performance is so much different than just listening to the radio or a cd recording because you can actually feel the music. You can feel the vibrations in the air. You can feel the excitement of the players and the people that you're sitting next to. I think that energy and excitement then gets translated through our playing to the members of the audience and it's a lot of fun. So people should really give it a try.

Jan Heirtzler, Viola and Librarian

Aside from playing the cello, I think viola is kind of the best. Everybody always needs a viola player. My degree was in Biology and then I went and fell into a career that is completely unrelated. I sow baby slings. I'm home by myself all the time. So orchestra night is when I get to go out and actually see people -- other adults, not just my kids and my family. Because I don't have a traditional job, they're my work. They're my colleagues.

I think one of the advantages of a community orchestra like the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra is that it's not necessarily a big deal to go. And it's not the stereotype. It's not a bunch of stuffy, snotty people sitting up onstage. It's people who are really passionate about this music which is really passionate, itself.

Griffin Seuter, Cello & Youth Ambassador

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra has offered me so many incredible opportunities. I was so excited to find that part of their mission is to involve youth musicians from the community and have some of their more experienced players mentor.

I think my favorite thing I've done with the PSO is the educational concert. We played Star Wars to a crowd of elementary school children and the screams at the end were deafening.

Live classical music can be something that is so fulfilling not only for musicians but for an audience member as well. It is so gratifying to be able to share music with those who wouldn't normally be exposed to a live orchestra.