Maine Pro Musica Orchestra, under the direction of Janna Hymes, enchanted the senses of school children with “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint Saens on Sept. 29.

Two packed performances, totaling 1,600 students from Northport, Camden, Warren, Union, Rockport, Rockland, Owls Head, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Cushing, St. George and Port Clyde, took place in Camden Hills Regional High School’s Strom Auditorium at no cost to school districts. In addition to public schools, private schools and Homeschoolers of Maine also sent students to share in the experience.

Scott Dyer, general music specialist at Camden-Rockport Elementary School, was asked to deepen the experience by sharing ideas for pre- and post-teaching in classroom music lessons. According to Dyer, children’s concert experiences can be greatly enhanced with careful preparation in music analysis and critique. Music teachers from the area met with Dyer and brainstormed ways to target both music theory and music appreciation-learning targets.

Maestro Hymes rounded out the program with the hilarious “Duet for Two Singing Cats” by Rossini and “The Waltzing Cat” by Leroy Anderson. The second piece was enhanced with choreography by Emily Jenks, founder of the Rockland School of Ballet. Students also enjoyed a Q&A session with Hymes and members of the orchestra.

Maine Pro Musica was able to bring these educational concerts to the area through grants from the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, Camden National Bank, Youth Arts and the Bisbee Foundation; and through the support of private donations.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.