youth orchestra.jpg 1The Youth Ensemble of New England

RFA Lakeside Theater

June 28th at 8 PM

The Youth Ensemble of New England is a youth orchestra made up of about thirty young people from the age of 10, through college-age. The orchestra is based at Thayer Conservatory in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

The orchestra plays concerts for churches, schools, and civic organizations. Their concert repertoire is taken from a variety of great classical and sacred music composed in the Baroque period up to the present time. A number of talented young performers that are members of the orchestra are featured in the concerts as soloists. The concerts are lively and interesting and appeal to young and old alike.

The orchestra performs throughout New England, and has had concert tours to Iceland, England, Scotland, Canada, Maine and New York and they are getting ready for a tour to California.


The Youth Ensemble of New England is an outgrowth of the New England Youth Ensemble that was started in 1968 by Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse. This orchestra has toured to over 40 countries, and is now based in Maryland at Washington Adventist University. When a number of the former members of the Youth Ensemble had children, they asked Dr. Rittenhouse to start another group for these young people. She started the Chamber Ensemble in 1999. Her niece, Dr. Connie Rittenhouse Drexler assisted her with the orchestra, and in 2004 Dr. Rittenhouse asked her to take over the directorship of the Chamber Orchestra. The chamber orchestra still has a number of members that are the children of the original Youth Ensemble members.


Dr. Connie Rittenhouse Drexler was one of the original Youth Ensemble members, playing violin and viola in the orchestra and as a piano soloist. She grew up with the orchestra and it was one of the biggest influences in her life. She studied piano with her aunt, Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse and went on to major in piano and pre-med at Atlantic Union College. She received a Masters in Piano Performance from Boston University and then attended medical school at Loma Linda University in California. She is now assistant professor of medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical Center and works in Internal Medicine in the hospital setting. She is married to Dr. David Drexler. They have two children, Robert, and Katharine, both of whom have played in the Chamber Orchestra and Youth Ensemble. One of her greatest joys is sharing the great heritage of music with her students and audiences.

Donations to support the renovations of the RFA Lakeside Theater will be received at the performance.