Posts Tagged ‘Music’



December 2, 2019

Puppetry, Storytelling, Music

On Saturday, December 7, students from Falmouth High School (FHS) and residents of The Cedars retirement community in Portland will gather for An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Storytelling, and Music. The event will mark the culmination of a four-month long project in collaboration between FHS, The Cedars, and Figures of Speech Theatre (FST).
FST Director of Education, Ian Bannon, designed and directed the project, which began with a series of TimeSlips creative storytelling sessions at The Cedars. TimeSlips is a collaborative storytelling format designed by MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting for use by people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. Creativity is an ideal way for people with cognitive challenges to communicate. TimeSlips is developed as a ritual so people with memory loss can learn it through their subconscious or implicit memory. It is based on shifting the emphasis from memory to imagination.
FHS students took turns joining Bannon for the sessions at The Cedars, assisting with the storytelling sessions while gaining first-hand experience with TimeSlips and familiarity with the residents.
FHS Theater Teacher Dede Waite’s students from FHS then dove into the rehearsal process, learning about full-body silhouette shadow puppetry from Bannon and Devon Kelley-Yurdin, a visual artist and community organizer. Students then used the skills learned during rehearsal to adapt three of the TimeSlips-generated stories into original shadow plays. Students in FHS Music Teacher Jake Sturtevant’s music composition class created an original score for each performance, elevating and polishing their fellow students’ work.
Towards the end of the rehearsal process, Cedars residents were invited to join FHS students at the school for a hands-on shadow puppetry workshop, allowing students a chance to work side-by-side with the residents to create short vignettes using the skills they had developed.
The final performances will take place during An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppets, Storytelling, and Music at The Cedars at 1:30 PM on Saturday, December 7. Students will present their adaptations live for the residents. Following the performances, the students, residents, and audience members will be invited to join in an ice cream social designed to foster an intergenerational exchange about the process and performance. Members of the public are fully encouraged to attend.
This project was been funded in part by a Project Grant for Organizations from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Since 1982, Figures of Speech Theatre, has toured the world for more than 35 years with original works created at the intersection of drama, poetry, sculpture and dance. The company has performed in venues including the New Victory Theater, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and Tokyo’s International House. Through their educational programing—which takes place in all 16 Maine counties—FST seeks to engage imaginations, impart skill-based training, awaken consciousness regarding world cultures, and expand students’ sense of life’s possibilities. We offer a range of programming and touring productions in service of that vision.
More information about Figures of Speech Theatre is available on their website:
The Cedars, Maine and Northern New England’s most comprehensive, non-profit senior community was founded in 1929 as the Jewish Home for Aged. As we celebrate 90 years of innovation, The Cedars offers a full continuum of senior living options, including: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care. Currently under construction is the new Sam L. Cohen Households, due to open in Fall 2020, will provide a home environment using the best practices for an enlightened, person-centered approach to care in private rooms for rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and a new, vitally-needed memory care assisted living.
More information about The Cedars is available on their website:
An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Story-Telling, and Music will be presented on Saturday, December 7 at 1:30 PM at The Cedars, 630 Ocean View Ave in Portland. The performance, which will be followed by an ice cream social, is open to the public free of charge. For more information, please contact Angie Hunt at (207) 221-7171.

Andy is Moving On

June 11, 2016


IMG_2572I just received the great news that our music colleague Andrew Forster from Messalonskee High School in Oakland is moving along in the process for the 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year. Andy is one of 8 county teachers of the year that is moving to the next step in the process. CONGRATULATIONS Andy and a BIG HIP HIP HOORAY!

The 2016 County Teachers Of the Years moving on in the 2017 State TOY process are:

  • MICHAEL McCARTNEY Aroostook County, Maine School of Science and Mathematics
  • MORGAN CUTHBERT Cumberland County, Harrison Middle School, Yarmouth
  • SELINA WARREN Franklin County, Kingfield Elementary School
  • REBECCA TAPLEY Hancock County, Brooklin Elementary School
  • ANDREW FORSTER Kennebec County, Messalonskee High School, Oakland

  • BETH HEIDEMANN Knox County, Cushing Community School
  • CHERRIE MacINNES Penobscot County, Brewer Community School
  • TAMARA RANGER Somerset County, Skowhegan Area Middle School

Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 6

March 4, 2015

Adult learner

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Shepherd Building

Bay Chamber offices and music spaces are located in the Shepherd Building, Rockport

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director. You can learn more at

This is the last post on Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School and the following one was written by Laura Chaney, the development director and can be reached at

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about your role at Bay Chamber.

I am the Director of Development at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School, a role that helps generate necessary resources to enable Bay Chamber to invest in its programs and services for thousands of citizens of all ages across Mid-Coast Maine. I am also a fairly new adult student at the Bay Chamber Music School, enrolled in private violin instruction since September 2013. Bay Chamber offers access to an expert faculty, a welcoming atmosphere for interested students of all ages, and affordability regardless of one’s financial status.

Please tell the story of how and why you decided to take violin lessons at Bay Chamber.

A native Mainer who returned to the state after a 30 year hiatus to join the staff here at Bay Chamber, I made a personal commitment to return to some form of music instruction. Having been a vocalist and dabbler in other musical instruments, I had contemplated returning to voice or piano instruction and then decided that I wanted to challenge myself with learning something completely new. I settled on the violin for many wondrous reasons, with one core factor being the ease of transportability in a boat for summer living along the Maine coast.

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What do you know about the benefits of taking lessons or learning something knew as we begin to age?

I promised to give myself the gift of music for two major reasons: to rediscover the passion that music inspires in my soul and that had been put on hold for sundry reasons, and to reinvigorate my brain. It is well-documented that routine reduces brain synapsis responsible for healthy memory functioning and I felt that as I approach my 60’s, it would enhance my life greatly to keep my brain healthy and active. Music is one of the most influential energies for extending auditory, communication and concentration abilities as well. All of these benefits in addition to the joy that arises from learning, playing, and working through each new musical challenge are gifts I give to myself each and every day.

Can you relate your experiences learning the violin in comparison to what you know about the benefits?

Violin - ScrollOn many an occasion, I say to my talented and compassionate instructor Gilda, “this makes me feel like my brain is twisting!”  I literally can feel my brain working hard to tackle new learning curves, which with the violin, are mental and physical.  I am activating muscles I have not used, strengthening fingers that are gaining unforeseen agility, working to separate my right from my left hand functions, focusing on relaxation (definitely a challenge for someone like me), and gaining mental flexibility and concentration in my work and in general. It is nearly one and a half years since starting my new musical endeavor.  I do feel I think differently, that I am a bit more at mental ease and responsive. I look forward to what comes next!

The fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of not being able to learn something new tends to trap us adults into sticking with similar habits day in and day out – whether it be our jobs, our homes, our daily rhythms that we have established throughout our many decades.  Science tells us that we need to shake things up for ourselves to remain vital and healthy, and I might add, happy.  Music sends energy waves throughout our body like no other discipline has yet shown. Pick up a new instrument today and learn something new about yourself that you did not notice yesterday. It is well worth the try.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 5

February 25, 2015

Musical Explorations

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.04 PMBay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director. You can learn more at

The following post was written by Jessica Day, instructor and can be reached at

Please provide information on your background so the Maine Arts Ed blog readers can learn about you Jess.

I have been an active educator and facilitator for over 20 years. Over the years I have participated in Music, Movement and Wellness programs with my children, now 8 and 7 years old, and they are in part the inspiration behind my launching my business in 2008 as Owner, Director and Teacher of Midcoast Music Together and JAMMM (Jess’ Music, Movement, Mindfulness Programs).

I joined Bay Chamber School of Music as it opened its doors in 2011, to support the School’s development of its early childhood music and movement program which today offers a variety of programs, including Music Explorations: Hum, Strum, Drum and Play, and Music Together Family Classes to over 150 Families per year.

I am passionate about the power of music and working with children and families.

What are your major responsibilities at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School?

I brought Music Together, an international early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age 7—to Bay Chamber in 2011 when the school opened in Rockport. It was a wonderful synergy and now I feel that Bay Chamber is the heart/center of my business! Since I started teaching at Bay Chamber- we have served approximately 150 families a year at Bay Chamber alone – just in the early childhood program. It’s a wonderful space for our local communities near and far to gather, learn and play music together.

By 2012 we expanded the Music Together programs to “Big Kids” for 5-7 year olds as well as a Music Together “Guitar for Grownups”. Monica encouraged me to create a class for Bay Chamber – for children ages 6-9years (1-3rd graders). Passionate about the work- I was thrilled at the opportunity.

Tell us about the Musical Explorations curriculum for children ages 6-9.

Jessica Day

Jessica Day

In the fall of 2014- we created Hum, Strum, Drum & Play- Music Explorations for children ages 6-9 years old. A natural next step for children growing out of early childhood music programming into deeper and more directed musical explorations and instrument study. This class was created to compliment and prepare children for formal music instruction and school based music education, while giving them a strong foundation for a lifetime of music enjoyment. It is meant to be an enriching, fun, affordable/accessible afterschool program. Also for families whose focus might not be on music – to allow their children to learn, play and explore music and themselves in a different environment.

This group class allows children to explore the world of music by making (singing, playing & listening) music in a group setting. We introduce basic music concepts and skills through exploration with a variety of percussion instruments, ukulele and recorder. Children will learn fun and age-appropriate ways to sing and express themselves. Students sing, move, play, improvise (ensemble and solo work) and listen to a wide range of music. All students are allowed to develop at their own pace, and are encouraged to reach toward their potential. This class is a great choice for students who are considering lessons or as a companion to private instruction- and/or want more exposure to music/musical instruments. We provide a musically rich environment that welcomes participation with songs in a range of musical styles from lyrical to blues and world music and folk.

When children are young, music has a tremendous power to enhance, not only their love of music and the joy it brings, but also their overall development. In addition, they are building life skills such as leadership, decision-making, active listening and teamwork along with their music skills and understanding.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.57.46 PMKEY COMPONENTS:

  • Fun – children learn through play- musical games/challenges
  • Engage all the senses- active listening, seeing, moving, and playing of instruments- addressing all learning styles
  • Introduces children to other peers outside of school
  • Gets children moving, thinking, and listening differently- trying themselves on in new ways, improvising, leading, playing together. Group dynamics.
  • Practice specific skills- tonal and rhythm patterns, singing, matching pitch and beat
  • Ukulele intro- chords, strums, instrument parts, tuning
  • Recorder Intro- holding, playing, notes, positions
  • Percussion- leading and playing in drum circle, dynamics, tempo, intro to various types of instruments

Limited to 10 students, our first class filled immediately this Fall- Wednesdays afterschool 3:45-4:45pm. We had children from St George, Waldoboro, Camden, Lincolnville, Hope, Rockland and Rockport.

Have you observed benefits to children when they begin exploring music with you?

I have noticed a greater overall confidence, risk taking, musical skill development, and overall joy and pride. They are able to engage, improvise/create, and there’s an enthusiasm to learning. They were left wanting more!

  • Music Learning and Development
  • Basic Music Literacy
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Cognitive, Physical and Motor Development
  • New approaches to Learning

I use Carnegie Hall Educator Toolkit as one of my sources for teacher tools and assessment.

I hope to provide children with an enthusiasm, curiosity and love of music. Brain research shows us that music taps a part of the brain’s “musical memory”- if I can help in providing our children with music and positive musical memories- they will have this for the rest of their lives!

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Who Are They?: Bay Chambers, Part 1

January 28, 2015

Offering arts experiences for learners of all ages

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director and you can learn more at

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.13 PMI was invited to join the Board of Trustees. At that time I had three young children who I was very determined to introduce to music, especially classical music. My childhood was spent surrounded by the arts as my mother was born in Rome, Italy and my father, Dublin, Ireland. Both of my parents were devoted art and music lovers and came from a heritage rich in cultural opportunities. I wanted the same for my children and Bay Chamber was an organization where I saw great integrity and great potential.

I immediately got involved in the education arm at Bay Chamber which, at that time, had a focus on a summer music camp called Next Generation for Maine students who had an interest in playing chamber music together. Along with this intensive program, Bay Chamber offered student matinee performances featuring musicians, dancers and artists that were part of their off-season concert series and a prize program called Young Stars of Maine.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.04 PMLearning about the musical opportunities for children in our community brought me to found a youth orchestra in 2000, independently of Bay Chamber, called Odeon. We started with a very modest group of 8 students of all ages and abilities and grew to over 40 by 2006 when we were invited to merge with Bay Chamber Concerts.

Through that merger, I joined the staff of Bay Chamber as Director of Education. Along with some very passionate board members, we began the long process of forming a music school and in 2011 the Bay Chamber Music School was born. As we were seeing school budgets for the arts cut dramatically in our area, our intention was always to supplement what the schools could do, focusing on private lessons, strings ensembles, and group classes for the very young. We recruited a faculty of professional musicians who have advanced degrees in their instrument and perform regularly in the concert hall. Through the generosity of our donors, we are able to offer a financial aid program that allows us to offer up to 75% of tuition to those who qualify. One of the important ways we try to distinguish ourselves as a music school is by offering many ways for student musicians of all ages to connect with each other and make music together in ensembles.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.58.22 PMToday our music school sees an average of over 300 enrollments per year and reaches many, many more through our student matinee and community engagement programming. We have partnered with Carnegie Hall and the Passages program of Wayfinder Schools to offer the Lullaby Project, a song writing workshop for teen parents. This spring we are partnering with the Camden Conference to put on a series of Odeon concerts related to their theme, Russia Resurgent.

As the Music School continues to grow and thrive we are always looking for ways to partner with schools to work together to bring live music into the hearts and minds of as many young people as possible. On March 27th at 9:30am at the Camden Opera House, we are offering a free matinee to middle schoolers featuring the a cappella group Overboard. As I write there are still some spots available, so if you would like more information on hearing this dynamic and vibrant in action please contact me at

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NPR Story

July 2, 2014

To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revived Art, Music And Gym

Dozens of teachers have been hired in the Milwaukee schools recognizing that the arts and physical education are essential to learning. They also hope that the teachers will make a difference in the excitement about attending schools and having a positive impact on test scores.

You can read and/or listen to the article by clicking here.

Erin Toner, writer, June 23, 2014.


Music at the Core: Making Standards Work

June 22, 2014

Online course offered

This online professional development course helps participants understand how to create lesson plans that include embedded standards in the music curriculum.

Course description
Music teachers set high standards for their students by the nature of what they do. Performances have to make audiences and performers alike happy. But just getting applause and a “good job” from an administrator doesn’t mean you can readily prove what your students know and are able to do.

No matter where you are, this class will show you how to “begin with the end in mind” and structure your teaching around State, National and/or Common Core standards. We’ll explore online tools, building authentic rubrics, and how to manage your data. More importantly, you’ll learn how to enhance what you already do while meeting your Standards requirements.

Course goals
Upon completion of this course, learners will understand how to create lesson plans that include embedded standards in music. Use of web-based technology will enhance this process and embed 21st Century skills throughout the course. This course also provides a component of each of the six Standards of the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation process.

Course objectives
Collaborate with classroom or core subject teacher.
Develop effective rubrics for both teacher and student.
Adapt a lesson plan template to incorporate standards.
Explore online collaboration and/or storage tools.
Work collaboratively with peers to develop a standards aligned lesson and/or unit.

This course is being taught by Barbara Vinal (Packales) with a start date of July 9, 2014. To register please click here.


Portland Jazz Orchestra

March 8, 2014

Featuring the music of Maine composers/arrangers Terry White, Craig Skeffington, and others, as well as the premier of a piece that Terry and the Gifted and Talented students of RSU40 district helped compose.

PJO Poster


Portland Symphony Orchestra

February 16, 2014

Coming in March

Jamie Bernstein and the Impact of Music Education: On March 17, we’ll be hosting a free event at Merrill Auditorium celebrating music education and ‘Music in Our Schools Month’ featuring Jamie Bernstein. Jamie is the daughter of the Leonard Bernstein and will be narrating the PSO’s performance of ’Bernstein by Bernstein’. From 6pm – 7pm, music and arts educators are encouraged to join us in Merrill Auditorium’s Rehearsal Hall for a celebration of recent music education achievements from throughout the state. From 7pm – 8pm, everyone is invited to join us in the main hall for a conversation between Music Director Robert Moody and Jamie Bernstein about the impact that music education has had in their lives. This event is free although registration is required:

Additionally, we’re happy to announce that our Spring KinderKonzerts have been posted to our website. KinderKonzerts are a fun, interactive introduction to live orchestral music for children ages 3-7. Through instrument demonstration, active listening, and narrative story-telling, audience members learn all about the families of instruments that make up an orchestra. Concerts last about 40 minutes. A partial schedule is currently available on our website. We will be adding more dates soon for Portland, Kennebunk, Waldoboro, Lewiston, and Fryeburg. Visit to learn more.


Camden Hills Travel to VA

April 25, 2013

Camden Hills Receives High Marks at Music Festivals

Virginia Beach trophiesOn April 3rd, 140 Camden Hills Regional High School Band and Chorus students and 14 chaperones boarded three Cyr coaches to travel to Virginia Beach to take part in the Fiesta-val Music Competition.  Despite the 17 hour bus ride, the students were excited to have the chance to sing and play at a National music festival.  A last minute change in plans by the Fiesta-val company to change the festival location from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, actually became a boon for the ensembles; as they were able to also take part in a concurrent music festival in Williamsburg, hosted by Heritage festivals.

Friday, April 5th began with a 6:30 AM departure for one bus load of students.  The CHRHS Chamber Singers and Women’s Choir, plus a few loyal supporters, climbed on board for the lengthy ride to Williamsburg to sing before a panel of three judges at the historic Kimball Theater.  While there, the students had a chance to hear choirs from other schools, with fine performances by Lakeland High School from northern New Jersey.  The choral ensembles finished their performing and quickly boarded the bus, with some students changing outfits into Band uniforms, in order to meet the other two buses of students at WarHill High School for the Fiesta-val portion of the day.

The CHRHS Jazz Band performed first, and students quickly grabbed gear and instruments from beneath the bus in their efforts to set up the Jazz Band in time for their warm up and competition performance.  The schedule continued with the CHRHS Concert Band performance, followed by the three CHRHS chorus ensembles: Chorale, Women’s Choir, and Chamber Singers.  Lunch was a dizzying dance of schedules in between the performances, with some students changing outfits from Band uniform to Choral formal wear.

Finally the last leg of the full performance day was near: three buses were scheduled to travel to Heritage High School in Newport News, VA for the Concert and Jazz Band Heritage Festival performances.  Unfortunately, it was at that time that a major snag hit the stream-lined plans.  One bus broke down, refusing to move from the War Hill HS parking lot.  Suddenly, students, instruments, and chaperones were juggled to allow all instrumental students and gear to load on to two buses to quickly travel to the next performance destination.

While the busload of students left behind relaxed in the parking lot, another unforeseen calamity occurred. A major traffic emergency stalled the two functioning buses for over an hour on the freeway- delaying the performance times of the two CHRHS instrumental ensembles. Finally, with determination and goodwill by all; the stranded students were picked up and the 140 students, instruments, and chaperones squeezed onto two buses to make the last leg of the journey back to the hotel in Virginia Beach.

On Saturday, the students had a chance to relax and ride at Busch Gardens and the day culminated in two Award ceremonies. At the Fiesta-val Award Ceremony, schools were graded on a national scale of standards with awards of  Superior, Excellent, Good and Fair.  We are happy to say that Camden Hills students swept the awards:  The CHRHS Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir and Chorale received Superior awards and the CHRHS Concert Band and Jazz Band received Excellent Awards with the Concert Band being only a tenth of a point away from a Superior Award.  Special recognition was given to the Jazz Band as they received the “Outstanding Brass Section Award.”  Judges’ Commendation Awards were given to four individuals: Rebekah Johnson, soprano; Aidan Kaczynski, tenor; Alex Crans, tuba and Camilla Walker, French horn.  The Chorale received a Champion award in their category, and the Concert and Jazz Bands swept the competition with 1st place awards, the Grand Champion Award, and a Highly Distinguished Conductor Award to Nancy Rowe.

Later in the evening, the Heritage Festival Awards were announced. Again, CHRHS proved that they could perform well, even under the pressure of a long and arduous day. The CHRHS Women’s Choir and Chamber Singers both received Gold Awards with Women’s Choir placing 2nd and Chamber Singers placing 1st. Aidan Kaczynski was again recognized for his solo with a Maestro Award. Both chorale ensembles received invitations to next year’s Heritage Festivals of Gold and Carnegie Hall. The CHRHS Concert and Jazz Bands received Silver Awards, with the Jazz Band receiving special recognition; and Orion Krause received the Maestro Award for his solo in “Mr. G. K.”

The musical travelers arrived safely home on Sunday, April 7th, with many thanks to the chaperones and the bus drivers. Ms. Rowe and Mrs. Murphy would like to thank the Five Town Community for their support of the Band and Chorus students.

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