FARMINGTON – After 20 years as conductor and music director of the Mid Maine Youth Orchestra, Dennis Hayes is passing on the baton to colleague Andrew Foster.

In 1984 Hayes, along with his wife, Karen McCann, and Nancy Beacham, local string instrument teacher, formed the orchestra with the purpose of providing a supplement to local public school instrumental music programs. Over the years hundreds of outstanding, highly motivated area student musicians have performed with the orchestra.

Forster is band director at Messalonskee High School in Oakland and has been conducting the MMYO Wind Ensemble during the past five years.

A graduate of Mount Blue High School in Farmington, Forster was a member of MMYO during the orchestra’s first season. He has a degree in music education from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s in conducting and music education from the University of Massachusetts.

Under Hayes’ direction, the Mid Maine Youth Orchestra has annually prepared and presented concerts made up of music by many of history’s greatest composers. The orchestra has always programmed music in its original form.

Students have played the same printed editions as professional orchestras of well known compositions by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Bernstein, Mendelssohn, Copland and Schubert.

During this school year MMYO is on hiatus while reorganizing under Foster’s leadership. Auditions will be planned and scheduled for the 2005-2006 season. Applications and information will be sent to area school music departments and announced in local papers.

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