A few years ago, a band I used to play in participated in an event in Portland a few years ago called State of the State. It featured a ton of local bands throughout the show, in various genres. But the one thing they all had in common that day, was that each band performed a song with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra.

MYRO for short, is a youth group of stringed instrumentalists that perform in all kinds of venues in collaboration with other musicians and groups. Their goal is to empower young people through the gift and discipline of music. Their website elaborates:

"Students who participate in MYRO ensembles are able to express their individuality through a classical skill set, while performing concerts with nationally-recognized artists that reinforce their love for alternative genres from classical.

Rehearsing once a week, MYRO brings together a community of individuals that share their love for all genres of music and the passion to perform in concerts, demonstrating what it is like to be a rock star orchestral musician at an early age."

This spring, MYRO will be presenting a workshop at the Bangor Arts Exchange, on May 24th from 6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m. in conjunction with the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra.

It will focus on rehearsing and performing rock songs as an orchestra, the use of effects pedals, and a Q&A session with Kevin Oates of MYRO, and Callie Peters, cellist for The Ballroom Thieves. It is free for students aged 10-18 years old, though they must register by May 15th, which can be done at rockorchestras.org/byso.

I checked in with Kevin, Maine Youth Rock Orchestra's Executive Director and Founder, about the decision to do a workshop up here in the Bangor area, and he had this to say:

"Bringing Maine Youth Rock Orchestra to Bangor has been something we've wanted to do for a year or so now. Having the talented students from the Bangor Youth Symphony Orchestra get to explore genres outside of classical music while applying their skill set is something every student should have the opportunity to do. The orchestra community in Bangor is thriving thanks to the work of the BSO and those supporting it. This workshop is a stepping stone to making Maine Youth Rock Orchestra truly a statewide organization. It's just going to rock."

Maybe I'm biased, but events like this are so important because kids are the future of music in all forms. The only reason I still play music at my age is because I was inspired to do so by my incredibly supportive family and friends.

Besides, the future of music is depending on them.

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