PBSO Concludes Spring Series with Flawless Performance

By Lura Jackson


Conductor and violin soloist Trond Saeverud guided the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra through an exceptional performance at the First Congregational Church on June 21st. (Photo by Lura Jackson).

The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra returned to the First Congregational Church in Calais on June 21st as part of its threefold spring concert series. The concert was well-attended by classical music lovers from around the area despite the torrential chilled rains. Taking place on the first day of summer, the concert appropriately opened with an enthusiastic performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, followed by a piece by Schubert and concluding with Harald Saeverud’s Pier Gynt.

The thirty-five member orchestra was led by conductor Trond Saeverud, recognized internationally for his considerable ability both as a maestro and a concertmaster. For this concert, Saeverud demonstrated his capability as a solo violinist while also leading the orchestra. As always, he projected a calm even as his energetic gestures dictated presto or allegro, contributing significantly to the orchestra’s ability to channel the melodies of the respective pieces.    

The inner sanctuary of the church proved once again to be a pleasing venue. Peals of music touched every crevice of the hallowed halls, resonating throughout the room and each enthralled listener. The crowd responded to the performance with exuberance, offering the musicians a full standing ovation to demonstrate their appreciation. Attendees widely commented on the privilege of seeing such skilled performers playing at the peak of their ability.

Now in its eighth year, PBSO consists of a total of forty exceptionally talented musicians, each of whom is willing to travel to and rehearse in Eastport on a regular basis. Though some are based in Washington or Charlotte counties, others travel from as far away as Portland, Oakland, or Fredricton for the experience of playing with the gifted. New members are always welcomed and encouraged; to find out more or learn the rehearsal schedule, contact June Gregory at 213-9145.

PBSO was founded with the intention of providing Washington County and its residents with world-class music, and it has never disappointed. Maestro Saeverud has guided the orchestra since its beginnings, and it is his hand along with assistant conductor Gregory Biss that has continually polished the ensemble to the remarkable symphony it is today. Saeverud’s ever-growing list of musical accomplishments includes serving as concertmaster with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London as well as for orchestras in Norway and Denmark. He composes new pieces for the violin and has released multiple CDs of his works, one of which received the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy for its quality. Biss is a tremendously skilled pianist that has also composed several of his own pieces, which have in turn been played by symphonies across the nation. Together, the duo works hand-in-hand with each individual musician to hone their natural talents with whichever instrument they choose to master.

Since its onset, PBSO has played for 1,600 audience members across Washington County during its periodic concerts performed throughout the year. Nearly half of those audience members have been school-aged children, highlighting the orchestra’s goal of promoting a lifelong love of music from an early age. 


While this performance concluded the spring concert series, there will be three concerts held in the fall. PBSO will play in Machias on November 13th, in Eastport on November 14th, and back in Calais on November 15th. Rehearsals will begin on August 20th.