Mark Good

TEMPO sets right tone for young Musicians

Mark Good
Rebecca Edmondson conducts TEMPO during a concert Sunday at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor recently.

About a year ago, Bar Harbor music teacher Rebecca Edmondson began thinking how wonderful it would be to have a young people’s orchestra on Mount Desert Island.

“I saw the need for it,” Ms. Edmondson said. “We have so many talented young musicians on this island.”

Ms. Edmondson, who teaches at Conners-Emerson School, decided to form TEMPO, The Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra.

Performing in a youth orchestra is near and dear to Ms. Edmondson’s heart. While growing up in western Pennsylvania, her father and music teacher mother would drive the 25 miles or so “over the mountain” from Ligonier to Johnstown so she could play with an orchestra. “I wanted the same experience for my students,” Ms. Edmondson said.

And Ms. Edmondson, who, until a year ago conducted the Bangor Symphony Youth Symphony, found that the parents of many young musicians felt the same. “Parents came to me and said, ‘Why don’t you do something locally?’”

TEMPO had its first rehearsal in April, with two dozen musicians, ranging from the fifth grade to high school seniors. The orchestra now has more than 30 members and that number is expected to increase.

“It’s gradually growing,” Ms. Edmondson said. “As more people come to our concerts, it will grow.”

Last weekend, TEMPO performed Christmas concerts in Ellsworth and Bar Harbor, ending what has been a successful first season for the orchestra. Ms. Edmondson said. Rehearsals resume in April.

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Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander