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To start, build and make something great takes a lot of effort, dedication and a long time.  Such is the approach that loving, dedicated parents take to the upbringing and character development of their children–even through paying for the art or music lessons throughout childhood at Thayer. 

 To develop the kind of talent that come out of Thayer it takes more than the loving, dedication and financial support of parents for their children's lessons.  It takes more than dedicated and committed instructors.  It takes an individuals like Dr, VG and Connie, the directors of the Youth Ensemble of New England and its parent organization–The New England Youth Ensemble.  These directors were the late Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse and now her niece, Dr. Connie Rittenhouse Drexler.  Any director of a long-time successful youth group needs a lot of support from many people.

For over 40 years youth wrote expressions of appreciation to Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse for granting them the opportunity to join and perform with The New England Youth Ensemble.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6cEWOTVCUI) .   Dr. Rittenhouse began a small chamber group in her home, at 96 Kendall Hill Rd, Sterling, MA.  In the early 1970-2, this group grew and became the New England Youth Ensemble based at the Thayer Mansion and dedicated to be an ambassador group for Christ through music.  Through the years, as the musicians grew up, got married and left while new youngsters came to take their place.  Their parents who once were members of the orchestra encouraged many of these new members.  While the New England Youth Ensemble is now based in Washington Adventist University, its child–The Youth Ensemble of New England, arouse and continues at Thayer Performance Arts Center.  

Today, members of The Youth Ensemble of New England can be found practicing, playing, chatting away, eating or even running up the grand old staircase at Thayer.  This summer they visited Iceland on a music tour.  To see them in pictures, follow their activities on Facebook through

Friends of Thayer/Youth Ensemble Of New England

This group can also be followed on their Facebook page:

  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Youth-Ensemble-of-New-England/105335209543843

 Hear them perform on Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUZtyn90Bx8