Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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MMEA Statement

June 27, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA) unequivocally affirms that Black Lives Matter and that the horror of systemic racism and violence perpetrated against Black people must end.
The mission of the Maine Music Educators Association is to promote and advance music education for all students. Affirming that Black Lives Matter everywhere—in our classrooms and communities—is fundamental to our mission as an organization. MMEA has not done enough to address systemic racism and to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
Our practices and curricula must elevate the lives, voices, experiences, cultures, and histories of Black and other marginalized people. We must begin by addressing gaps in our knowledge. We are called to fundamentally transform the school experiences of our students, shifting from non-racist to true anti-racist teaching. This requires continuous and deliberate reflection and change within MMEA, as well as at an individual, school, and district level.
Effecting change is going to be long term, challenging and sometimes uncomfortable, but it is necessary. MMEA is committed to supporting music educators, students, performing artists, and community members as we begin this work.
We must listen to and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We must do it together. In the coming weeks, the MMEA will provide resources while preliminary actionable steps are developed. We invite you to join us with this important work.
Black Lives Matter
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Tracy’s COVID Teaching Story +

June 24, 2020

Music teacher extraordinaire

Tracy Williamson

My musical career started in 4th grade when I picked up the flute in the beginning band at Metcalf Middle School in Exeter-West Greenwich, RI. My middle school music teacher, Joe Smith, was an inspiration to me and all my classmates. He was quirky, fun, and taught us interesting and different music.  It was truly an amazing middle school music experience. I would definitely say that he inspired me to be the kind of teacher I am today. 

I went to Boston University for my Bachelors degree in Flute Performance and to Boston Conservatory after that for my Masters degree in Flute Performance and Music Education. I then moved up to Maine and finished my certification requirements through USM while playing in the Southern Maine Community Orchestra and continuing to seek out performance opportunities in the area.

My first teaching job was at Marion T. Morse Elementary School in Lisbon Falls teaching K-5 General Music and beginning band. I was hired at Gorham Middle School (GMS) in 2003 when the school was built and I was tasked with developing a brand new middle school music program that had not previously existed. Currently I teach General Music to all 6th & 7th grade students, Chorus for middle school and Steel Band to middle and high school students. My amazing colleague, Rose Skillling, also teaches GMS General Music as well as the Band and Jazz Band program.

I have always been a huge proponent of educational technology and the positive impact it can have on music education particularly in schedules where we see students so infrequently. dHaving Apple devices, a large portion of my curriculum has been based in Garage Band for many years. So when our technology director announced that the entire 6th grade would be moving to Chromebooks a few years ago I had a panic attack thinking I was going to completely lose the amazing possibilities I had opened up for the students. I did some research and I found a couple of apps that would work on the Chromebooks in a similar way and thankfully administration was super supportive and on board with purchasing Soundtrap and WeVideo for every student in the 6th grade.  Unbeknownst to me, this was about to open up a whole new avenue of connections across the world for me and the students.

At the time, Soundtrap, a small company based in Sweden, was still only a few years old and not that well known. But there happened to be a Maine educator who had connected with them and taken a position as an educational consultant. I quickly connected with her, and we teamed up to present Soundtrap at the student MLTI conference the same year I introduced the software to my curriculum. From there, the opportunities for sharing student work, lessons, ideas, connecting with music educators, blog posts, and articles just kept coming. Soundtrap has since been acquired by Spotify and is being widely used by educators and musicians. In January of 2020, through Soundtrap, I connected with the Society for Online Music Education and was invited to direct a Virtual Choir project for the International Music Education Summit to be premiered in mid-March. There were a couple of other Virtual Choir projects out there that I knew about but this was to be a new vision, one that included collaboration amongst participants, making Soundtrap the ideal software to use. We had a handful of teachers signed up for the pilot project. Things were going calmly and smoothly, and then COVID-19 hit us.

With the swift move to on-line learning, every music educator in the world immediately started to seek out virtual ensembles for students to participate in. Our project was quickly populated with hundreds of teachers and students and my director position got a lot more complicated! I asked two Maine colleagues, Rachel Scala-Bolduc and Patrick Volker, to help create vocal practice tracks to support the diverse group of new participants. Another music educator who teaches full-time at a virtual school suggested I try a Zoom rehearsal for participants to help them learn the parts. She hosted a how-to-run-a-virtual-rehearsal webinar that I participated in which ended up being an invaluable resource. The edit of the recordings took many, many hours of organizing, communicating, editing, and figuring out how to make the best quality audio. At one point I was playing the tracks for my husband and he suggested just dipping the volume at a certain point and it made a huge difference! During another moment of frustration, I listened to one of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choirs to get some inspiration and realized that reverb was a key component to blending the voices that I had yet to try. I am so thankful for this learning opportunity because it gave me a head start for what was to come with the extension of distance learning to the end of the year.

As soon as our school announced the closure in March, I set up Zoom virtual rehearsals with the Chorus classes right away. We continued rehearsing just the same as we had in school. The only difference being, I couldn’t hear them as a group and they couldn’t hear each other. We experimented together, recorded during Zooms, recorded after Zooms, talked about other apps that might accommodate multiple singers, but we just kept on our path of our end-of-year performance goals and figured out everything together along the way. The students continued learning music we had started in school and also learned new music purely through our virtual rehearsals. In the end, they have recorded six pieces of music during our time home due to COVID-19, all of which I am turning into virtual choir videos to serve as our “spring performance”. While this is certainly not an ideal scenario for ensembles to rehearse, it is temporary and it can be successful!  

Unfortunately, because the steel pans are housed at school, and the steel band program is extracurricular, that is now in a bit of a holding pattern until we know the future of getting back into the school this Fall.  I have been researching apps that could provide some type of virtual pan experience to get the students by in the meantime and I have been in communication with our facilities department about potentially holding outdoor  parking lot rehearsals for steel band next year.

General Music Class was another whole challenge when we moved to distance learning! At GMS, students have 7-9 week rotations of Allied Arts. Both the 6th & 7th Grade Music Classes were about halfway through the rotation when we moved to online classes so we had established relationships and structures ahead of time. However, the student rotation change to a new Allied Arts class was scheduled for right after April break. This meant students and teachers connecting with and getting to know each other for the first time in a new content area, virtually.  As an Allied Arts team we worked together to help our current classes connect with the next teacher through Google Classroom. In Music Class, we introduced a Tabata composition project that combined physical activity and Music to help make the Music to PE transition smoother. The last rotation has been a challenge. It has been difficult to connect with kids with the asynchronous model that our district adopted due to many class meetings happening simultaneously. I have learned a lot about what I need to change in order to effectively teach new music concepts to individuals in an online format as opposed to a full group in person where we utilize a lot of repetition and group collaboration to help support learning. Although there are plenty of other variables in a new grouping of students, there was a marked difference in the performance of the General Music students who started before distance learning and those who started purely in the online format. This summer, my colleague and I plan to meet to talk about some of these challenges and make plans for how we can better teach General Music class should we remain in distance learning this Fall.

There have been a lot of worries circulating amongst Music teachers with research studies outlining the risks of the high transmission rate of COVID-19 through singing and instrument playing in conjunction with news of music educators being laid off in districts around the country.  The best thing we can do right now is to show our communities and administrators that, despite temporary limitations, music can and should still continue in our schools regardless of whether we are in the building or learning remotely. Think of solutions that will work and suggest them to colleagues and administrators before something is suggested for you! That also requires creativity, experimenting and out of the box thinking from all music educators. During the last few months, I had an overall participation rate of about 80% in my chorus students with a couple of overwhelmed students asking to drop and a couple of students asking to join because their schedule was suddenly free to do so. I had students completing Music Class work first thing in the morning saying they liked to do “the fun stuff” first. I had parents emailing about how much fun they had helping their child compose music or how amazing it was to hear the final virtual choir recording after hearing their child singing their part alone at home. The more success stories we share, the more everyone will continue to see the value in continued music and arts education whether we are teaching in the comfort of our classrooms or through the virtual world.  

Here are the various end-products I’ve worked on with the GMS Virtual Chorus:

“I See Colors” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video collected in Flipgrid, edited in iMovie, collage and effects in WeVideo:

 

“Home” – April 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, slideshow videos of staff messages collected in Flipgrid, compiled in iMovie:

 

“Between the Bells” – March 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, stock images from pexels.com, lyrics added in Adobe After Effects:

 

“The Tiger” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video recorded in a Zoom session, compiled and lyrics & effects added in WeVideo:

 

“The Never Ending Story” – June 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, pictures from the Gorham MIddle School Facebook page, compiled in iMovie:

 

6th Grade General Music:

“Tabata Soundtrack Project”  

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Young Artist’s in Quarantine

June 23, 2020

Student’s share their stories

This is part of a series highlighting the stories of young artists in quarantine. The period of free time that many people are experiencing has led to a sense of freedom in creating– when not held back by the standards expected by society and in much of art education (or needing to prove talent/fill resumes) it’s incredible what can be done. Alone in your room with just a paintbrush or guitar has led many students to find a new independence in art when they have the ability to create just for themselves. We’re hoping that by telling these stories, a change will occur in the way we approach arts education, to focus on the growth of the individual, even after quarantine comes to an end. Thank you Robyn Walker-Spencer, 2020 graduate, Camden Hills Regional High School, for launching this series of young artists in quarantine.

This post is written by Caleb Edwards who will be a senior at Watershed School in Camden in the fall.

What instruments do you play and what is your artist medium?

  • I play violin, piano, drums, mandolin, and I sing. I draw with colored pencils.

When did you start making art and playing music?

  • I started playing violin at age 8 and picked up other instruments over the years. I have been drawing forever, but I guess I started taking it seriously in middle school.

What experiences have you had with arts education in the past that shaped your experience?

  • My Waldorf School elementary experience definitely sparked my interests in the arts, especially life drawing.

What role does art and music play in your life now?

  • Music is everything for me and I am hoping to go to college for music production and composition I’ve picked up a few more instruments one the years since I started playing the violin. I also work with Logic Pro and produce both my music and help other artists on recording.

How has quarantine changed the way you approach art (new sense of independence/freedom)?

  • I think the extra time has had the biggest impact. I did a month-long project through a media class at school which I wrote and recorded a piece of music everyday. This turned into a welcome routine in my life and the outcome is a large collection of work I can draw from in the future.

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2021 Music Educator Award

June 15, 2020

Grammy Week

The Music Educator Award presented by Recording Academy and Grammy Museum have announced their quarterfinalists for 2021. Great news – three Maine music educators have been named to the list. How wonderful that three of our won Maine teachers rose to the top out of nearly 2,000 nominees!

CONGRATULATIONS Maine Music Educators:

  • CAROL CLARK – Gray-New Gloucester High School
  • PATRICK VOLKER – Scarborough High School
  • TRACY WILLIAMSON – Gorham Middle School
“I’m honored to have received the nomination for this award, but this is really for my students, and I’m happy for all of us!  This is for my current students and new graduates, for every one who has come through my music program, their parents, my administrators and the caring, supportive communities of Gray and New Gloucester. Wonderful things happen when you teach in small towns!”  ~Carol Clark

Carol Clark with her life long buddies, Loren Fields (band director Lawrence HS) and Lonnie Wescott (band & choir director Traip Academy)!

“It is such an honor to be nominated by my students and recognized on a national level. All I have ever sought to do as a music educator is bring people together, build communities through a love of music, and make the world a better place.”        ~Patrick Volker www.patrickvolker.com and we’re @redstorm_chorus on Instagram and Twitter.

Patrick Volker

“I am beyond thrilled to be nominated as a quarterfinalist for this amazing award along with so many talented music educators from all around the country!  I’m excited for my students to share in this experience with me!”  ~Tracy Williamson

Tracy Williamson

A total of 216 music teachers from 199 cities have been announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award™ presented by the Recording Academy® and GRAMMY Museum®. In total, nearly 2,000 initial nominations were submitted. In addition to our quarterfinalists, 91 legacy applicants from 2020 will also be eligible to win the award this year. Read the entire list of nominees.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, the recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY® Week 2021.

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. The eighth annual honoree will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® and a range of GRAMMY Week events. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants. The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

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Quarantined and Confined

June 13, 2020

Making music

Most people reading this blog appreciate and value the arts in their lives. Everyday I’m hearing stories about how the arts have taken on a more important place during the pandemic. Below are two examples of music created. The first is a song written by an 8th grader from RSU# 35. The second is an example by a small group of people from across the US and beyond. If you have an example please share by emailing me at meartsed@gmail.com

8TH GRADE MUSIC STUDENT

Thank you Marshwood Middle School music teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader Kris Bisson for sharing this piece written by one of her 8th grade guitar students during ‘stay at home’. The Quarantine Blues.

Marshwood Middle School Grade Eight Guitar Class: 12-BAR BLUES ORIGINAL LYRICS THE QUARANTINE BLUES ​by COLIN PHIPPS

VERSE ONE:

AA
Another long day stuck inside

A A7
Fun with my friends, dropped by the wayside

DDAA I wish we could skateboard and bike.

EDAA I’ll have to skip my hike and sing The Quarantine Blues.

VERSE TWO:

AA
Self-isolating is getting really old

A A7
But I have to do what I am told.

D D ADADADA So back on my computer I type away…..

EDAA
Another day without friends playin’ and singin’ These Quarantine Blues.

MIDCOAST MUSIC ACADEMY

Jen Feldman, Executive Director Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland shared this project that was created with friends and colleagues from different continents during the pandemic. Jen grew up in Belgium, her school-mate Marc Janssens wrote the song. Marc lives in Switzerland now. She went to school with Marc and Mike Chew, the banjo player. Jen is the one in bed. This song is about the things they miss during the pandemic. Musicians are from Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota, Switzerland, Belgium and Maine.

The original song was written and produced by independent DIY musician and singer-songwriter Marc Janssens. Musicians: Marcio Amadeu: Drums Fabio Oya: Bass Fred Werner: Percussion Jen Kuli: Vocals Julian Anthoney: Piano Mike Chew: Banjo James Ramsay: Guitar Stephanie Werner, Luca Janssens, Jeffrey Janssens: Backing vocals Marc Janssens, Vocals, guitar, and organ

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Congrats Visual and Performing Arts Educators

June 12, 2020

MMEA and MAEA

The following educators were recently recognized by the professional organizations who represent music and visual arts.

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

Maine Music Education Association 

  • Spirit of Education Award -Joseph Meyers
  • Education Appreciation Award – Joe Shaw
  • Outstanding New Music Educator – Alexander Adams
  • Outstanding Administrator – Heather Blanchard, Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, Brunswick
  • Dale F. Huff Outstanding Music Program – Cape Elizabeth
  • Hall of Fame – Gerry Wright and Terry White
  • Music Educator of the Year – Caitlin Ramsey and Phil Edelman

Maine Art Education Association

  • Art Educator of the Year – Jodi Thomas, Thornton Academy, Saco
  • Middle Level Art Educator of the Year – Libbie Winslow, Medomak Middle School, Waldoboro
  • Secondary Art Educator of the year – Raegan Russell, Berwick Academy, South Berwick
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Summer Learning Opportunities

June 10, 2020

For young students

Opportunities for the summer are filling my inbox each day. Below are a few to share with your students who might be asking.

DANCE

  • Creative Dance Virtual classes for 4-10 year olds start Tuesday, June 30. Thirty minute classes are being provided each week for six weeks by the amazing dance educator Elly Lovin. Each week Elly will start with a different theme and make dances around that theme. Elly also offers Dance at Home Kits with dance props and ideas for using them. She will ship them directly to your home. LEARN MORE – Elly Lovin at www.ellylovin.com/dancing-in-place

THEATER

  • Virtual camps, blended outside & at home camps, and half day outside camps. Options for rising K-12. Financial aid available for these programs. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
    FREE RESOURCES include: Facebook live-streaming of Play Me a Story Dramatic Readings, Tutorial Videos, Games to Play at Home, Follow-Along Videos, and other Interactive Activities. These resources are designed to get your bodies and creativity moving, all from the comfort of your own home! 

    Each resource is accompanied by an age recommendation for ease of access, but you know your students & kids best.

    Contact Portland Stage Education Administrator Julianne Shea if you have any questions.
  • Check out the online summer camps from Unwritten Roads! Learn filmmaking from home! Engaging acting and filmmaking camps available for two separate weeks. July 20th – July 24th for  Grades 1 -4 and July 27th- July 31st for Grade 5 and Up! Visit unwritten roads.com or find them on facebook or instagram @ unwritten roads! Please be sure and reach out with any questions. Included is a link:  link from our website with our summer offerings.

MUSIC

  • Fiddle Camp will take place online this summer. I included the information on it – you can find at the bottom of this blog post.
  • Midcoast Music Academy, Rockland
    • Lessons will be offered in packages of one to eight lessons.
    • Once you purchase the number of lessons you want, you can add yourself to your instructor’s calendar on www.mymusicstaff.com. (If you are a new student, you will be sent the login information.) We are also happy to help with this!
    • You can schedule your lessons for any available time on the calendar, with 48 hours’ notice. You can also reschedule a lesson (with 24 hours’ notice) if your plans change.
    • Lessons can be purchased online at www.midcoastmusicacademy.com/summer-2020 or by contacting our Operations Manager Maddy at (207)701-7410 or info@midcoastmusicacademy.com.

    Lesson packages can be purchased in the following amounts:
    Single Lessons (normal cost)
    60 mins = $64
    45 mins = $48
    30 mins = $32

    Packages:
    4 Lessons (10% Discount)
    60 mins = $230.40
    45 mins = $172.80
    30 mins = $115.20

    6 Lessons (15% discount)
    60 mins = $326.40
    45 mins = $244.80
    30 min = $163.20

    8 Lessons (20% discount)
    60 mins = $409.60
    45 mins = $307.20
    30 mins = $204.80

    TUITION ASSISTANCE NOTE: If you are receiving or would like to apply for tuition assistance, these discounts would not apply. In that case, please contact Operations Manager Maddy Silletti to purchase summer lessons.

VISUAL ART

  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland

Zoom ArtCamp – for ages 8-13

In order to keep our community safe, we will be offering two summer camps through zoom. Working closely with a teaching artist, campers will turn creative ideas into tangible original artwork right at home. Each week campers will be provided with an art kit filled with materials and tool needed for artmaking, which can be picked up the previous week. In addition, campers and families will be encouraged to visit the CMCA during the week (w/free admission) to take a closer look at our galleries.
For more information contact Mia Bogyo, Education Coordinator at mbogyo@cmcanow.org

CLICK HERE TO LEARN  MORE!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

  • Youth art classes with Erin McGee 
    • Ages 6-14 – Eight Lesson Self-study ECourse for Youth Art

Artist, Erin McGee Ferrell, offers Art Classes from her Painting Studio.

Fun Art History as EMcGee becomes Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe and others. CLICK HERE

  • Summer Online Art Lessons (June-August 2020) Ages 6-14

Virtually Join EMcGee as she paints around Maine, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.

Students around the world step outside into yards, onto porches, or by windows as the interactive class learns drawing and painting techniques.

With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.

  • Oil Painting Online for Teens. Landscape and Architecture (June-August 2020)Erin McGee Ferrell leads teens in an interactive online oil painting class.Classes will be streamed from woods, beaches, and cities.With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.CLICK HERE.  https://www.facebook.com/EMcGeeArtLessons/

 

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E. Pluribus Unum

June 6, 2020

Washington Conservatory of Music Collaboration

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Virtual Exhibits and Performances

June 1, 2020

Sanford, South Berwick, Camden Hills, Fiddle Camp

Schools and arts education programs throughout the state are finding ways to share student work virtually this spring. Last week I shared Sebago Elementary School Virtual Arts Festival. Below are some of the virtual exhibits and performances and a virtual opportunity to learn during the summer. If you have a link to share, please send them to me at meartsed@gmail.com. You and your students have amazing accomplishments that others would like to learn about!

SANFORD

Six years ago I posted about the first Sanford Fallen Soldiers Project honoring WWII veterans. The project has continued over the years and because of COVID this year it had to take place virtually. The TV production lab at the high school/vocational center. Thanks to Sarah Schnell, who runs the station, WSSR-TV, who made the VIRTUAL CEREMONY possible. Thank you to music teacher Carol Baker-Roux who is retiring this year, for sending it for the blog.

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL, South Berwick

Central School celebrated their third graders with a Variety Show. The students could essentially share anything they wanted. Over 60 second and third-grade students and teachers were on the zoom call watching their videos. Kate Smith said: “It was absolutely precious to see the performers’ faces as they watched the reactions of their classmates”. You can watch the 22 performances in these GOOGLE SLIDES. Thank you Kate Smith for sharing!

CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Work by Svea Delevett. (Photo courtesy Camden Hills Regional High School)

On Thursday, June 4 all three art disciplines – music, art and drama will be represented at the Virtual Fine Arts Night for Camden Hills Regional High School. The link will be available at 5 p.m. on Thursday when the event goes live.

The visual arts department will be providing a virtual gallery tour of this year’s outstanding student artwork. The online showcase includes 2D work in drawing, painting, photography, visual journaling, printmaking, and 3D work from Big Art, Metals, and Clay classes.

The theatre department will be showcasing the work of actors and “techies” in curricular theater classes. The work of students in extra-curricular courses will also be presented including a Zoom performance of Arsenic and Old Lace.

Students in vocal music have been working on Virtual Fine Arts night songs, by learning and performing songs in their homes. Those songs have been shared with classmates on local platforms where students listened to each other’s performances and gave comments.

Students in instrumental music have been working on several “virtual” videos in which students have worked individually with a “guide track” to be presented as one ensemble. The Concert and Jazz Bands will also be joined by selections presented by the CHRHS Brass Ensemble.

MAINE FIDDLE CAMP

Virtual Maine Fiddle Camp will be held June 19-21, and your V-MFC team has been hard at work. The weekend is REALLY coming together. I’ve been told that it’s going to be TEN times the program of any other virtual fiddle camp at, well let’s just say a REALLY reasonable price! REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!!

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In Today’s News

May 28, 2020

Very special “Taps”

Friends and family stood outside Allen Graffam’s Topsham home Monday to play one last Taps for the longtime band director at Mt. Ararat High School, who died of cancer Saturday. He taught for 35 years at the school before retiring in 2018.

Read the full article and hear Taps played by Allen’s friends, colleagues and students outside his home HERE and my tribute on the blog HEREI found the signs on Allen’s homes heartwarming. Allen’s was a life well lived, gone too soon and well loved.

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