Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


Traveling Europe

July 30, 2015

Proud Mom

This summer one of my sons is traveling in Europe – yes, he needed an adventure and he is certainly getting many. Periodically he sends an update to several friends and family members.  I just had to post this since he articulates the power of music while staying on an olive tree farm in Torri, Italy! You are getting the entire update because it helps with the context. Sometimes while traveling people understand the power of music! I am so happy that he could have this moment to really get the concept! In Nicholas’ own words…

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.45.31 AMIt hadn’t rained in Torri for the first two and a half weeks that I was here, I was beginning to have flashbacks of my summer in California where three months went by without a drop of rain. However earlier this week thunderstorms began to roll through the hills around us in the early evening, and then on Wednesday it came.

Early in the afternoon Alex asked me if I wanted to go for a ride to the market, not wanting to miss an opportunity to get out of the house and explore a bit more, I gave an emphatic “Yes!” Alex doesn’t speak a lot of English, and what is spoken is a bit broken. We communicate best with smiles and giggling. Since he spends most of his time in Roma, we hadn’t truly had time to connect and I could tell he was much more wary of the strangers in his house than Martin. I was anxious to see how this errand run would go. Silent? Talkative? Perhaps a game of charades would be in order.

As we were traveling down the steep hills, drops of water began to hit the windshield; it was here. Suddenly the skies opened up as if Zeus’ bathtub had overflowed. The kind of rain that heavily impairs visibility. As Alex’s driving slowed, ‘Rich Girl’ by Hall and Oates came on the radio. Almost instinctively I began to hum along while the rain kept the beat. Before I knew it, Alex and I had both broken out in song and the car shook as the volume went louder and louder. I began to seat dance and Alex was playing drums on the steering wheel. It was an intercultural, non-speaking jam sesh.

Lines in the sand had been erased and we were now friends.

Music, I learned, is an international language and it knows no boundaries. Music has been an integral part of my time in Torri. Floriano loves club remixes, Martin enjoys classical and opera, and Laurie the country tunes. There is always music playing somewhere, and if it isn’t, it will be shortly. It seems to be our common denominator.

“She’s a rich girl and she’s gone too far…” I hope it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

– Nick

Travel | Adventure | Explore
Current Location: Venezia, Italia

P.S. More photos on the blog!


Music that Moves Me

July 2, 2015


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.16.23 PMMaine Public Broadcasting Network has a show called Music that Moves Me and contains peoples stories about music in their lives. It also has archived stories that you can read on their websiste at Some of my favorite people have their stories recorded. Angus Kings is located at When you have a few minutes to cruise around the website I highly recommend it. It will be well worth whatever time you can spare.


In Today’s News

June 20, 2015

Great article about Karen Renton

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 8.02.57 PM

Karen Renton joins her pupils in an exciting and action-packed song called “Sasha.” Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

In Yarmouth, music teacher’s 34-year career ends on a high note – article from the Portland Press Herald, June 19, 2015. Written by Leslie Bridgers and located at I love this article since it describes so well an elementary music class.


Vox Nova Chamber Choir

June 18, 2015

Upcoming concerts

The Maine Arts Commission Executive Director, Julie Richard and three Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leaders, Ashley Smith, Drew Albert, and Virgil Bozeman and will be performing as part of the Vox Nova Chamber Choir this weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 9.22.31 PMSACRED HEART CHURCH IN YARMOUTH, June 19, 7:30                                     UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH IN BRUNSWICK, June 20, 7:30

Vox Nova Chamber Choir, a Midcoast-based ensemble dedicated to the creative exploration of modern and contemporary vocal music, will present their spring concert themed, Quintessential Vox, celebrating the choir’s 5th anniversary and featuring selected repertoire performed during its first 5 concert seasons (2009-2014).

$20 General Admission at the door and online at
$10 for current college students with I.D.
Card, cash or check accepted at the door. Payment methods include Visa, Master Card, Discover or American Express.
All checks should be made payable to: Vox Nova Chamber Choir.
Tickets for children 18 and under accompanied by an adult are free and available at the door only.

Since its inception, Vox Nova Chamber Choir has performed more than 120 choral works, all from the modern and contemporary choral repertory. The program is comprised of encore performances of some of the choir’s best and most essential works.
The idea of sound as its own element, one that is far less tangible than the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water) that typify our concrete existence on the planet, is made manifest in concert via a balanced program of works that have come to typify Vox Nova’s unique sound and ethos as a performing ensemble: the choir’s niche being modern and contemporary choral repertory.

Concert Program
Gloria from Missa Misericordia, Egil Hovland
Ave Maria, Javier Busto
Sanctus from Messe, Francis Poulenc
Daemon Irrepit Callidus, György Orbán
We Beheld Once Again the Stars, Randall Stroope
O, My Love’s Like a Red, Red Rose, David Dickau
With a Lily in Your Hand, Eric Whitacre
Sweetheart of the Sun, Eric William Barnum
Amor de mi Alma, Randall Stroope
Three Australian Bush Songs, Iain Grandage
Dorven Dalai, Yongrub
Zeregleent Gobi, Se Enhayabar
Sounding Sea, Eric William Barnum
Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
Oh Shenandoah, arr. Alf Houkum
My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord, arr. Moses Hogan
Elijah Rock, arr. Moses Hogan

Dr. Shannon M. Chase, Director
(207) 462-5669


Piano Man

June 14, 2015

Billy Joel

I’ve liked Billy Joel since my undergraduate days when I got to see him in concert at Rutgers University. After the concert we happened to be behind his limo and noticed that he was going around the block. My sister, who was a Douglass College student at the time, said that they must be lost. We hopped out of the car and provided directions. It was one of those moments that you don’t forget. All the details are in my memory as if it happened last week. I was thrilled to stumble upon this recording and just had to share it.

Recorded on November 19, 2014 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Billy was honored as the 2014 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.


Cows and Trombone Playing

June 5, 2015

Royals by New Zealand singer Lorde

Just think, this farmer most likely learned to play the trombone from a music teacher while he was in elementary or middle school. How do you touch the future? Hmmmm!


Sanford Junior High Band

June 2, 2015

Everyone doing their part

Joe Doiron and Sara Nason with the Sanford Junior High School band students

Joe Doiron and Sara Nason with the Sanford Junior High School band students

This year the Sanford Junior High School 8th Grade Band joined a larger project in town called the Sanford Fallen Veterans Project. A gentleman named Joe Doiron had a dream last year of honoring WWII veterans from Sanford who died during that war. His idea was to create banners with each man’s picture (or a picture of his grave/marker if no picture could be found) to hang on Main Street for Memorial Day. He had seen something similar when vacationing out west. He put out a call through our service learning coordinator and I read a description of his project. It coincided in my head with something I had just shown my students a video from a town in Holland where families have adopted a U.S. soldier from WWII, have his picture in their house and tend his grave. Each year they hold a ceremony complete with special music written just for that occasion. Read about it by clicking here.

A few of my students wanted to try it, so three of them built planters with our 7th grade STEM teacher, Sara Nason. We took the planters to a local cemetery with Joe.

Having piloted it, my 8th grade band students decided to go full bore this year. (My principal wants everyone to do an expedition/excursion, so this seemed to align perfectly with his goal and I thought it could tie in with my composition unit and Memorial Day.)  Working with Sara, we built planters from scratch. Our vocational school greenhouse grew the plants, then we planted them. Thursday, May 7 we went to local cemeteries, cleaned the grave sites and left our planters. My trumpet players, using two military bugles of mine, played Taps at each cemetery. A little kismet came into play when a military funeral occurred at our first cemetery and students were able to see first-hand everything we had discussed (including the use of a  fake bugle).

The following week we played at a ceremony honoring 51 Sanford men who died during WWII. Families of the fallen and veterans were invited as well as school children and the general public. Each of my band students wrote a piece about one of the veterans or something suggested by their stories and five were performed at the ceremony (those who dared to play.)  One was for full band and was conducted by the composer. The ceremony was live-streamed and can be viewed at

After the ceremony, students had a chance to meet with the families in attendance. They also met the elementary class who raised enough money to combine with donations and fund all of the banners. Those banners currently hang along Main Street and we marched under them in the Memorial Day Parade. I knew when they went up because students walked into my room in the morning announcing that “their guys” were up.

This was a wonderful, exhausting, heartwarming experience. It has brought new meaning to the students’ understanding of Memorial Day and the human costs of war. Feedback from them included comments like, “I liked writing our own song about our chosen veteran because each veteran had their own story in the war.”  “I am proud to be able to do something for the people who are the reason that we are a free country.”  “I learned that it takes a lot of pride and creativity to create a composition that connects with a veteran.” “I loved being able to visit our fallen and getting to clean their graves. We worked so hard to learn about them and to clean their graves after meant so much.”

Thank you to Carol Baker-Roux for sharing this unit that she did with her junior high school students.


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