What do the local Odeon Strings program and pop chanteuse Lady Gaga have in common? DBR, Haitian-American musician Daniel Bernard Roumain, who will perform with Odeon participants and special guests Sunday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St.

Recently featured with Lady Gaga on “American Idol,” DBR is a composer, violinist and bandleader who seamlessly blends funk, rock, hip-hop and classical music into an innovative musical experience. DBR and the New Clef Coalition is presented by Bay Chamber Concerts.

DBR has been described as the “hip-hop Mozart” and “Beethoven meets Lenny Kravitz.” While in Maine in February 2009 to perform in Portland and Bangor with his quartet, he was brought to Rockport by Bay Chamber Concerts to work with the Odeon Youth and Chamber orchestras. He arrived on a Monday afternoon and Monica Kelly, Bay Chamber’s Managing Director, brought him over to the Rockport Opera House. Upon entering, Roumain said “This is a sacred space.” For two hours he captivated the students with his open heart and creative spirit, working on their improvisation, string technique and theatrical presentation. He encouraged them to be aware not only of how they sound, but also how appeared on stage to the audience.

Soon after DBR’s visit to Maine he founded the New Clef Coalition to provide enriching residencies and new musical works for youth orchestras internationally. Recognizing today’s particularly challenging economic environment, the New Clef Coalition was created out of DBR’s determination to help youth orchestras to not merely survive, but to thrive.

The centerpiece of the project is a new 20-minute symphonic work, commissioned by Bay Chamber concerts and composed by DBR. “Symphony for the Dance Floor” will be premiered at the March 7 concert, performed by the Odeon student musicians and their guests from around the state.

Local student musicians performing in the concert are Sam McKenna of Appleton; Kami Kay Medina, Elizabeth Belair, Carrick Gambell, Alistair Phaup, Alex Crans and Logan Sampson of Camden; Teal Vickery of Cushing; Nora Willauer of Hope; Davis Boardman of Islesboro; Abby Leidenfrost of Liberty; Pamela Karr, Eryn Thostenson and Amber Karr of Lincolnville; Nathan Hillman of Monroe; Elena Laustsen of Rockland; Sarah Winchenbach, Abby Chamberlin, Leah Winchenbach, Sonia Beckstrom and Olivia Goodwin-Cook of Rockport; Maya French of Swanville; Fiona Boyd of Thomaston; Josie Davis and Sophie Davis of Waldoboro and Beth Chase of Warren.

Students from Bay Chamber concerts educational programs have gone on to grace the world’s greatest stages and such is the case with Matthew Szemela, one of the two violinists in DBR’s remarkable quartet. In 1991, Szemela won the Bay Chamber Bixler Prize and he participated in the Next Generation Youth Chamber Music Program in 1992. He since has performed as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in such renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully, Merkin Recital Hall and abroad in Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. In addition he has performed with esteemed musicians such as Cassandra Wilson, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, guitarist Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Jay-Z, Beyonce, ?uestlove and Savion Glover.  Other members of DBR’s quartet include Earl Maneein, violin; Jon Weber, viola; and Jessie Reagen, cello.

The DBR and the New Clef Coalition concert will conclude Bay Chamber Concerts’ and Wish for Haiti’s fundraising effort to help rebuild the Port-au-Prince Orphanage: The House of the Children of the Lack, is among the many buildings in Port-au-Prince destroyed by the disastrous Jan. 12 earthquake. Bay Chamber Concerts is accepting donations on behalf of Wish for Haiti. To donate, visit baychambersconcerts.com or call 236-2823 (be sure to mention your donation is to Wish for Haiti).  Audience members will also have the opportunity to make donations to Wish for Haiti. At the end of the concert Bay Chamber will announce total money raised for the orphanage.

For more information on Wish for Haiti, visit wishforhaiti.org. One hundred percent of funds raised will go directly to the orphanage.

Coming up next in the 2009-2010 Performing Arts Series is Curtis on Tour Saturday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. Each season, Curtis on Tour brings the extraordinary artistry of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music to audiences nationwide, with tomorrow’s leading musicians performing alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. On the 2009-2010 tour, internationally acclaimed violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Peter Wiley of the Curtis Faculty will join Curtis students celebrating the centenary year of alumnus Samuel Barber with a performance of his String Quartet (recognizable from the soundtrack of “Platoon”). The performance will also feature 2002 and 2003 alumnus of Bay Chamber’s Next Generation Program plus rising star violinist Benjamin Beilman.

Most Bay Chamber Concerts tickets are $25; prime seating is $45, discounted up to 44 percent with subscription. A limited number of $8 tickets will be available for youth younger than 19. Bay Chamber Concerts is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization. The media sponsor is VillageSoup.com. For more information or to purchase subscriptions or tickets, call 236-2823 or, toll-free, (888) 707-2770; or visit the Web site.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.