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State of the State Address

January 22, 2020

Celebrating at the Blaine House

Look who was at the Blaine House last night celebrating with the Governor! Heather Whitaker, Maine’s 2020 Teacher of the Year from Gorham Middle School and her colleague and ours and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and Art Teacher of the Year Amy Cousins! Wonderful to know that educators are celebrating with Governor Janet T. Mills.

Amy, Governor, Heather

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Turning 100 Years Old

January 21, 2020

Wanna help Hank celebrate?

My father passed away in 2006 at the age of 90. He had a dear friend, Hank, who he met in World War II while they were serving in First Division of the Army. On February 4th Hank will be 100 years. My sister, brothers and I met Hank and his wife Nance when I was about 8 years old at a First Division Army reunion. Hank is healthy, happy, lives alone, and still driving. Oh, to be in that place at 99 years old is amazing and wonderful! When I spoke to Hank last week by phone he sounded the same as he always has. I call Hank periodically and visit when I can but since he lives in PA it’s a bit difficult to get to his home. He is always grateful for my phone calls and always includes how much he loved my dad and how much fun he had with my parents over the years and he always includes what a great life he’s had. I am fortunate to know him. Soooooo…. I’ve been wracking my brain to think about what to do for a man turning 100 and I’m hoping you will join me in trying to get 100 cards sent to Hank! You can include that you know George Nestor’s daughter.  I’m sure he’d appreciate it! Please email me at meartsed@gmail.com if you are interested in helping Hank celebrate his 100th birthday. I’ll send you Hank’s address by email. And, THANKS in advance SO MUCH!

This is a link to an article that was written by Hank’s local newspaper in May 2019.

Hank is in the foreground, next to Nance and my father and mother are in the background.

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Music Therapy

January 20, 2020

Kate Beever’s work

Maine Music & Health is the work of music therapist Kate Beever. Kate is a board-certified music therapist who studied at USM School of Music and earned her Master’s degree in Music Psychotherapy from New York University. She spent many years working for Frank Glazier and shares that story in this BLOG POST

Kate has been recognized many times, her work highlighted and in December this piece on her work was featured on News Center Maine and interviewed by Lindsey Mills. The piece recognizes the power of music and the importance of music therapy. Kate has concerts coming up as well as retreats and learning opportunities. performances coming up as well as self care workshops.

Upcoming Events: Expressive Wellness self-care retreat, February 22
Supervision sessions offered this winter, via Skype and in person on Wednesdays at Good Medicine

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Healing Arts at The Haven

January 19, 2020

Studio in Winthrop

The Haven is a new studio in Winthrop focusing on healing and yoga. They’re having an Open House on Saturday 25, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm and the public is invited to stop in and learn more. The story is an interesting one and the space is beautiful so this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more and dream about possibilities.

Healing Arts @ The Haven

9 Turkey Lane, Winthrop, ME

Lunar New Year, Saturday, January 25, 1 PM – 3 PM

Bill Nave, owner, and representatives from area yoga studios The Big White Barn, Mantra Maine Massage and Yoga Studio, and others.

For more information healingartsatthehaven@gmail.com

207.377.6855

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Maine Teacher of the Year

January 18, 2020

Nominate someone

As a longtime supporter of the Maine Teacher of the Year program through our partnership with Educate Maine, Bangor Savings Bank is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 County Teachers of the Year, one of whom will be selected as the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Do you know an exceptional teacher? A teacher who inspires students? A teacher who is a leader in the profession and deserves recognition for their great work with students? Here is your chance to nominate him/her for County Teacher of the Year!

Nominate a Teacher!

Teachers may be nominated by students, parents, teaching colleagues, principals, superintendents or anyone from the community who wants to honor an outstanding educator. 

Publicly recognizing outstanding teachers encourages students to think about teaching as a career, and provides the community a sense of pride and investment in their teachers who are making a positive impact on student’s lives every day

To nominate an outstanding teacher as a 2020 County Teacher of the Year click here. Thank you.

Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 3, 2020.

About the Teacher of the Year Program

The Maine Teacher of the Year program starts with your nomination!
To be considered, the teacher must:

  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position;
  • Be employed by a Maine public school, including a Career and Technical Education center, public charter school; or be employed by a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60 percent or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as “town academies” and
  • Have been teaching for a minimum of 5 years – 3 of which are in Maine.
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of full-time employment at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition.
  • Not have been a County Teacher of the Year within the past 5 years.  

From those nominees, one exemplary teacher from each of the 16 Maine counties will be selected as a 2020 Maine County Teacher of the Year. From the 16 County Teachers of the Year, 8 semi-finalists are selected. The field is narrowed to 3 state finalists, one of whom will be announced as the 2021 Maine State Teacher of the Year at a surprise school assembly in the fall of 2020.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education.

The Maine State Teacher of the Year represents Maine at the national level and becomes eligible for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Please contact Dolly Sullivan at Educate Maine if you have questions or want more information on the process.

NOMINATE

Please don’t miss this opportunity to honor and recognize a great Maine Teacher!

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Musical Theater Songwriting

January 17, 2020

High school song writers

2020 MUSICAL THEATER SONGWRITING CHALLENGE OPENS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Washington, DC—Calling all high school songwriters! Beginning January 13, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing are accepting submissions to the 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. This national contest is for high school students with a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production and the wide range of musical styles represented in contemporary musicals. The goal of the program is to engage the musical theater field in nurturing the next generation of songwriters.The Songwriting Challenge provides six winners with a coaching team consisting of a mentor and music director (both musical theater professionals) to hone an original song into a Broadway-ready composition and then have that song recorded by Broadway musicians and vocalists in New York City. Final songs will be distributed on streaming music platforms and compiled into a songbook created by Concord Theatricals. The final recordings of the songs by the 2019 winners are on the recording sessions landing page.

The application is simple and can be completed online. The deadline is April 6, 2020 at midnight ET.

The Arts Endowment and the Wing welcome back Disney Theatrical Productions, Concord Theatricals, and the National Music Publishers’ Association as Songwriting Challenge partners.

Key dates and details for the 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge are:

•    After the submission deadline of April 6, 2020, the Arts Endowment and the Wing will convene panels in different regions of the country to review all submissions. Each panel consists of experienced songwriters and musicians who select one winner or a duo from its region in a blind competition. Those winners will be announced at the end of May 2020.

•    Beginning in June, the winners work with their coaches remotely using video conferencing software followed by a weekend workshop later in the summer when the coaches travel to the winner’s hometown. To see workshops in action, go to the workshop landing page for the 2019 winners. At the end of the workshop, the song is transcribed for an ensemble and the winner has the opportunity to select the instruments and voices that make up their ensemble.

•    The recording sessions take place in the fall when the artists come together in New York City to make the best recording possible. Go to the recording sessions landing page for audio, photos and other materials from the 2019 sessions. Lead vocalists last year included Derek Klena (Jagged Little Pill), Gizel Jimenez (Wicked), and Jessie Shelton (Hadestown) among others.

To learn more and to apply, go to arts.gov/songwriting. To join the conversation on Twitter use #IWriteMusicals.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about National Endowment for the Arts.

About the American Theatre Wing
The American Theatre Wing champions bravery, with a focus on developing the next generation of brave artists. We envision an American Theatre that is as vital, multi-faceted, and diverse as the American people. The Wing’s programs span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American theatre.

We provide theatre education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC, Theatre Intern Network, and SwingSeats programs, incubate innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, support emerging musical theatre songwriters through the Jonathan Larson® Grants in addition to the Songwriting Challenge, and illuminate the creative process through the Emmy-nominated “Working in the Theatre” documentary series. In addition to founding the Tony Awards®, which are co-presented with The Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing co-presents the Obie Awards®, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, with The Village Voice.AmericanTheatreWing.org.

If you have questions please contact Victoria Hutter, hutterv@arts.gov, 202-682-5692.

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Lights, Camera, Action

January 16, 2020

Nokomis Regional High School

Parent energy and initiative often bring teaching artists to schools to conduct workshops that supplement and support school arts programs. When invitations to those workshops extend to the community as well an interesting community/school arts link is created. And when the number of workshops reaches a grand scale and the invitation outreach is statewide, something truly newsworthy is going on.

Such a statewide program has been in place for the past three years at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, where Gretchen Gehrke, a Nokomis parent, who was inspired by a program at MIT and by the good work of Nokomis theater teacher Lisa Neal, initiated “Nokomis – Lights, Camera, Action!” (LCA) in partnership with the school’s theater program.

Below is the history and description of  “Nokomis Light’s Camera Action!” in Gretchen’s words, as well as Gretchen’s invitation to artists and students, and all those who want to be part of LCA in its fourth year, to join them in Newport on Tuesday, February 18th. Read on!   (There is a scheduled snow day makeup on Thursday 2/20 if necessary.)

Nokomis Lights Camera Action Grades K-12, 2020

Nokomis High School is located in rural Maine. Nearly 70% of RSU #19 students qualify for free lunch and yet our school system offers so much to our students.

 

Lisa Neal is the drama teacher for the high school. She is an exemplary and gifted teacher. She also runs a very successful drama club and show chorus. She is an inclusive leader. Her program changes lives. Here is a recent quote from an email I received from the parent of a now graduated student. “Lisa is an entity all unto herself… We were blessed with so many really good/great teachers for our daughter but Lisa takes that above and beyond. I saw how she changed lives for our young people. Literally! I do not know how she does it all.  She is a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, sub parent for many and a friend and it doesn’t stop at school or graduation. I see them coming back to her again and again. Our daughter’s class was her first in High School…. And that group of young people have gone on far beyond what they probably would have had it not been for her guidance along the way. Her classes are so much more than just the subject matter. Amazing!”

So, how in a rural and poor location do we support a teacher and program such as that directed by Mrs. Neal?

A recent Nokomis Drama Club production of Bye Bye Birdie involved nearly 25% of the Nokomis student body. Lisa does this with little or no budget. As I am, by nature, a facilitator, I saw a possible opportunity to help Lisa provide continued learning adventures for Nokomis students, as well as additional youth from Maine. Our children have been very fortunate to participate in the MIT Splash Program and in Young Americans. Based on those models the Nokomis Drama Club has begun offering a one-day Splash-like program, “Nokomis – Lights, Camera, Action!” (LCA), focused on dramatic arts during February break. We charge $25 per K-3 student and $50 for students grades 4-12. This fee includes a T-shirt costume and two meals. We allow for ample financial aid. We ask instructors from near and far away to donate an hour or two of their time and expertise to offer workshop classes like MIT Splash focused on the arts. There are classes during the day preparing songs for an evening performance such as Young Americans do in their program. The goal of this learning adventure and fund-raising effort is a combination of daytime drama workshop followed by an evening performance. We offer more than 50 workshops which support Artists, Actors, Authors, Chefs, and Athletes. One need not be interested in drama to enjoy a great learning adventure. As our local taxpayers, parents and school districts are struggling to such extent, it is critical for our program to seek support resources from outside our own RSU.

As with Splash at MIT, classes can reflect instructor’s passions. We offer a small free parent workshop as they do at MIT/Splash. We also offer art, knitting and yoga classes to parents.

We seek students and instructors from across the State of Maine and beyond. We hope that schools and communities support our novel program. Join us! Please do not exactly copy us rather share our day.

Join us, Tuesday, February 18th, 7:30am-8:00pm (K-3 until 12:30pm) at Nokomis Regional High School, located in Newport, Maine for the 4th Annual, Lights, Camera & Action program. This year we host the event at a brand-new Nokomis High/Middle School, 291 Williams Road, Newport, Maine (just across the road from the old school.)

Actors, Artists, Authors, Athletes, Chefs and Musicians, share a full day of workshops, rehearsals, and performance.

Students K-12 are welcomed and taught by qualified and enthusiastic instructors on a wide variety of fun topics. 2019 included over 50 workshop choices.

Following workshops, Grades K-3 concludes with a noontime performance and Grades 4-12 concludes with a 6:30pm performance “Final Act” which demonstrates some of the day’s accomplishments.

Learn More and Register @ www.nokomislightscameraction.com or Facebook Lights, Camera, Action.

What people have said:

“Thank you very much. We cannot believe that a program of this caliber exists in Central, Maine.”  – Parent from Brownfield, Maine

“It was such a full day with so many choices. My daughter can’t wait until next year.” – Parent from Pittsfield, Maine

“I learn skills that can help me with my everyday life with building things and every day communication working as a team.” – Maine Central Institute Student

Lisa Neal, drama teacher at Nokomis Regional High School, said the topics help to make learning. “They’re here having fun but what they really don’t know is that they are here learning. They are problem solving and they are thinking on their feet,” said Neal.

Nokomis Lights, Camera, Action involves participants from across the state of Maine as well as Massachusetts into New Brunswick, Canada. LCA welcome students from school district across Maine and New England.

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