Playing at the State House

February 9, 2012

Laken Region Middle School band goes to the State House

On Thursday morning, January 26, 20012, thirty-seven students from Lake Region Middle School, under the direction of band instructor Paul Greenstone, loaded their instruments onto a yellow school bus and headed up the Maine Turnpike to our state capital building in Augusta.  There they were scheduled to perform a short concert in the rotunda and then to open that day’s House session by playing the National Anthem from the house gallery.  They were invited to perform by their local representative,  Paul Waterhouse.

The ride to Augusta was fairly quiet. The students were nervous.  All previous concerts had definitely been much more low key – holiday concerts for parents, playing at the quarterly honors assemblies – this day registered much higher on the status bar for the group!  Add the fact that no sheet music would be in front of them during the National Anthem, and  it is easy to understand why there was none of the typical middle school high jinks on that morning’s bus ride.

Upon arriving at the State House, quickly unloading gear, and  smoothly passing through the new security system, band members found their positions, took up their instruments, and when Director Paul Greenstone raised his baton, the lilting strains of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Flowers” resonated through the building!  That was followed by several patriotic selections and the finale was a splendid rendition of the theme from “Harry Potter”.

How different and wonderful their musical selections sounded in this auspicious venue!  Sound bounced everywhere!  The music was heard all over the building, and enjoyed by everyone.

Moving into the House Chamber, nerves calmed and pride swelled as the Star Spangled Banner was performed flawlessly for the assembled state lawmakers and invited guests.  After being recognized by the House Speaker, band members watched the legislature’s proceedings for a short time before breaking down their instruments and loading back in the bus for the trip home.

Spirits were pretty high on that ride back to the Lakes Region, and why not?  They had played well, represented their school admirably, and most importantly, had shared their joy in making music with others.  The arts programs in our schools make us all part of a better community.

Music students being recognized by the House

Thank you to parent and community member from Naples, Maine who traveled with the students to the State House and who kindly wrote this blog post.


  1. Congratulations! These students made a huge contribution to the day of everyone there! Keep it up! Keep the music! Music rules!

  2. Thanks for posting this, Argy. I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying you to this delightful performance. One minor correction – there were thirty-seven students in the Lake Region Middle School Band. Paul appreciates the support you’ve given him and his music program and we hope other arts teachers understand how hard you work to promote arts education in Maine.

  3. Thank you Barb for all you do for arts education through your work with MLTI. And, for pointing out the number of students, I have made the change in the post. I feel so fortunate to have visited incredible arts classrooms across the state and to have the chance to meet the outstanding arts educators like Paul! YAY for Maine Arts Education!

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