The Youth Ensemble of New England is comprised of around 35 young musicians ages 10 to 20. The orchestra rehearses at Thayer Performing Arts Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and plays over 30 concerts a year in local venues including schools, churches, libraries, assisted livings, and for other community organizations. They have played many concerts for charities and have a special interest in performing for children's charity organizations such as an orphanage for the children of AIDS victims in Zimbabwe, Africa, and for organizations formed to help children affected by natural disasters as well as fundraisers for music schools and various music festivals. They also have toured around New England, California, Canada, Iceland, Scotland, and England. Some of the places they have performed include Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, The Bullfinch Church, Lancaster, Massachusetts, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts, Briarwood Continuing Care Retirement Community,Worcester, Massachusetts, Knott's Berry Farm, California, Loma Linda University Church in California, Notre Dame Cathedral, Montreal, Canada, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Cathedral, Quebec, Canada, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada, St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England, Great Hall, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, Mountain View Seventh-day Adventist Church, Vernon, VT, First Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, and most recently The Highland Center, Appalachian Mountain Club, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, TIiiotson Center for the Performing Arts, Colebrook, New Hampshire, Rangeley Friends of the Arts Organization, Rangeley, Maine, St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts, Berlin, New Hampshire, and Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
The orchestra concerts are geared toward general audiences and appeal to young and old alike. The concerts feature young soloists, are lively and varied and include classical orchestral music from Baroque times to the present, as well as lighter numbers taken from musicals, light classical works, American Patriotic music, and pops-type music. When playing for churches the orchestra presents a variety of sacred orchestral and vocal music. Dr. Drexler often explains various aspects of the music to audiences, thus making it more enjoyable for audience members who have had limited exposure to classical music. Audiences are often surprised at the fine level of musical performance from such young people. In fact, one concert-goer at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle told the orchestra, "This was the best concert I have heard all year''. Another recent comment from a retirement home audience member was, "You have restored my faith in American young people".