From the Milford Daily News, By Patricia A. Russell, Daily News Correspondent
MILFORD -- As a symphony conductor, Milford resident Paul Surapine has to unite many sounds to create music. He's the ultimate multitasker.
Now, in addition to serving as founding executive and artistic director of the Claflin Hill Music Performance Foundation in Milford, he will step in as the music director for the Framingham-based Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra founded five years ago.
"It's another role to undertake," said Surapine, 46, who brings an extensive performance and teaching resume to his new role after spending the last eight years in Milford.
Surapine has performed with numerous regional orchestras throughout New England and New York as a clarinetist and soloist. He is the principal conductor of the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, a professional regional symphony in Milford, and also director of the Claflin Hill Summer Winds, which performs at summer park concerts in MetroWest.
Additionally, he is a faculty member at Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Joy of Music Program in Worcester, The Indian Hill Music School in Littleton and The Rhode Island Philharmonic School of Music in Providence, R.I.
"Some people may think it's a lot to be taking this role on, too, but I'm a teacher as well as a musician, and I like sharing the excitement of music," he said.
Honored to be chosen the new director, he said he is also excited about the "many possibilities" the youth orchestra can offer to young musicians who want to bring their musical experience to a higher level.
Surapine has been making sure young musicians get to establish relationships with professional musicians through the Claflin Hill Symphony and Metrowest Symphony Orchestra mentorship program that began last February.
Last year, Surapine said he was approached by Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra board members who wanted to establish a mentor program, he said.
"I thought it was a wonderful idea," Surapine said of the innovative and educational outreach relationship that brings professional musicians into the Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra in roles as coaches and mentors.
In the past several months, Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra musicians sometimes led sectional rehearsals.
"We also had musicians imbedded in their orchestra," Surapine said, adding that for the student musicians to play alongside professionals gives them performing technique insights, encouragement and reinforcement.
"I can remember when I was a student and my teacher would bring in a professional clarinetist to sit in during practice," said Surapine.
Getting an opportunity to sit beside a professional musician is a "real thrill," he said.
Not only do members of the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra sit in on the youth orchestra's rehearsals, they also provide musicians to "fill out their orchestra during concerts," said Surapine.
Surapine said Claflin Hill had considered launching a youth orchestra so when the mentor program came up, it worked out perfectly.
"It's a great fit," he said, adding that the partnership fills a need for the young musicians and helps Claflin Hill to fulfill part of its mission to educate, nurture and support the music education of young people.
Surapine said it also made sense to build a relationship with an established organization and help each other to build a cultural center in the heart of Massachusetts.
While members of Claflin Hill have put on professional workshops for young musicians, including a week-long residency at Milford High School, the mentor programs give them a "platform to do it consistently," he said.
Surapine hopes to build the mentor program and increase the number of musicians in the now 40-member youth orchestra. His goal is to not only teach musicians to play a piece of music but to learn about the period of time when it was created. Music history and music appreciation will also be taught.
His long-term goal is to establish a large youth symphony orchestra and he believes the mentor program is a stepping stone in that direction.
His hope is to draw from local communities.
"I want to get more students from the Milford and Franklin community into the symphony," he said, adding, "I'd like to see a caravan of kids coming from Milford and Franklin."
The Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra, located at the Massachusetts Bay Community College, is also where all rehearsals and performances take place. Rehearsals are held on Sundays, from 3 to 5 p.m., during the school year. Two concerts are performed each season.
Auditions for the orchestra will be held Sept. 11, at noon, at Mass. Bay Community College. For information or to schedule an audition, visit the Web site at www.MetYSO.org or call 508-478-5924, ext. 6.
For more information about the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, which performs in the grand ballroom on the second floor of the Milford Town Hall, call 508-478-5924. Its next concert is Nov. 12.