Cousins Maya French of Belfast and Sophie Davis of Waldoboro share a passion for the violin, music and young children. They will present a benefit recital with concert pianist Patricia Stowell Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at John Street United Methodist Church, 98 John St.

The recital, which will feature works by Schumann, Saint-Saëns, Paganini, Bach and Shostakovich, will benefit the Liberian Education Fund and the Waldoboro area KinderKonzerts.

French, 17, coordinates the Liberian Education Fund, an organization run by Belfast Area High School students that gives scholarships to Liberian students who otherwise would not be able to attend high school. Thirteen students received scholarships for the fall 2010 semester and, since the program began in 2007, more than 20 students have received high school diplomas. French is working to involve other Maine high schools in the project.

Davis, 16, has been playing violin since she was a kindergartener at Miller School in Waldoboro. She was first exposed to chamber music and orchestral instruments at KinderKonzerts performed at the Waldo Theatre. Kinderkonzerts introduce young children to the different families of orchestral instruments through a fun and lively program with Portland Symphony Orchestra musicians.  The Waldoboro concerts reach nearly one thousand preschoolers and primary school students each year.

Both Davis and French have been playing violin together, along with their sisters Josie Davis and Anna French, since they were 5 years old.  They perform in the Odeon Chamber Orchestra and Maine All-State Orchestra; Davis has appeared on National Public Radio’s “From the Top’; and both played at the National Folk Festival in Bangor. In addition, they enjoy teaching violin to young students. Both young women currently study with Gilda Joffe of Lincolnville and hope to study violin at a conservatory after high school.

Stowell is well-known in the Bangor and Midcoast region as an independent performing artist, chamber musician and teacher. She also directs the Kneisel Hall Young Musicians Program, which is where she first met French and Davis.

Admission to the recital is free, but donations to the Liberian Education Fund and Waldoboro Area KinderKonzert Fund are welcome. For more information about the recital, the Liberian Education Fund or the 2010-2011 Kinderkonzert program, send e-mail to or

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