Posts Tagged ‘rob duquette’


MAC Teaching Artist Roster

February 15, 2018

7 new artists

Seven Maine Artists Added to Arts Commission’s Teaching Roster

Maine Arts Commission’s roster provides additional resources for teachers and schools

AUGUSTA, ME, February 8, 2018—The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the addition of seven new artists to its online Teaching Artist Roster.  Selected by the Arts Commission through an application process, teaching artists provide greater access for teachers, schools, and community groups to area artists who are trained and knowledgeable in classroom requirements throughout Maine. The following teaching artists have been recently listed on the roster:

  • Nicole Cardano

    Nicole Cardano, an actress who teaches elementary and middle school improvisational skills as well as theatre productions and show choir. She lives in Seal Cove.

  • Emilia Dahlin, a musician who teaches students to explore literary devices in songwriting to create powerful imagery and foster a strong sense of authorship. Emilia resides in Gorham.
  • Rob Duquette, a musician and songwriter whose lessons teach themes of resilience, compassion, kindness, gratitude, and a sense of purpose. Rob is from York.
  • Emilia Dahlin

    Kal Elmore, a printmaker who collaborates with teachers to develop lessons that help students experience a new media, a new technique, and/or a different way of thinking about visual art. She is from Old Town.

  • Russell Kaback, a musician and a storyteller who writes songs that tell the story of his grandfather’s life as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.  Through lyrics and song, students make a lasting connection with the experience of a concentration camp survivor from the Nazi era to the present. Russell resides in South Portland.
  • Dana Legawiec, an actress whose recent teachings involve grade 3-5 students in mask, improvisational, physical theatre, and yoga. She is from Bowdoinham.
  • Rob Duquette

    Tom Luther, a musician who teaches piano and multimedia art. Tom applies traditional composition, improvisation, generative, and interactive techniques in his teaching, drawing freely from his experiences in numerous musical forms.  Tom is from Union.

“We are really proud of the learning opportunities that each artist on the roster provides to our schools and communities in Maine,” said Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Arts Commission.

In addition to overseeing the teaching artist roster along with many other arts education programs and services offered by the Arts

Kal Elmore

Commission, Argy organizes the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Mega-Regional Conferences. Maine educators from PK-higher education are invited to participate in this year’s professional development opportunity at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Friday, March 23 at 8:30 – 3:15 p.m.  The workshop facilitators are Maine arts educators who will have dynamic ideas to share.

Since 2011, MALI has provided opportunities for hundreds of educators with inspirational workshops, presentations, and webinars at the school, district, regional, state, and national level. More information and event registration for the 2018 MALI Mega Regional is available here.

Russell Kaback

The Maine Arts Commission currently administers the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as part of one of its five priorities, fostering PK-12 lifelong arts education programs, in its five-year cultural plan, Fortifying Maine’s Creativity & Culture. To learn more about any of the Maine Arts Commission’s arts education funding opportunities or programs, please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at or 207/287-2713.

Dana Legaweic

Tom Luther

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at



“Coffee in the Dark”

June 28, 2017

Album release, July 22

On Sunday while listening to public radio they played “Coffee in the Dark” by Maine musician, Rob Duquette. I remembered visiting the artist, while he was presenting a music program on “kindness” at a Maine elementary school. (For blog post from December 2015, CLICK HERE). I followed up with an email to Rob congratulating him on the song and the upcoming release of his album.

I’ve been aware that Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders Jake Sturtevant and Rob’s wife, Andrea Wollstadt join in Rob’s endeavors as well. I saw Andrea on Monday and she confirmed that she and Jake are both on the record. Below is the press release on the upcoming album. Pretty exciting for everyone involved! FMI on the album, CLICK HERE.

Some local musicians spend their entire careers as sidemen, backing up and sitting in as needed for band leaders and assorted singers. Saco resident Rob Duquette has made his career since the mid-1990s as a well respected and in-demand sideman, most notably as a member of Jonathan Edwards’  touring band. He has also regularly played with other notables like Jack Sonni (Dire Straits) and the legendary composer David Amram over the last 15 years.  He gained national attention as part of the jazz-folk-pop group “Cactus Highway” in the early 2000s, who the Boston Herald called “a duo of true sophistication,” and the Village Voice called, “amazing”.

But it wasn’t until the release of duquette’s first album “This Time” in 2014 that he finally stepped out of the shadows. With the release of duquette’s new 2017 album “Trust the Night”, he further comes into his own as both a writer and bandleader, forging an indie-folk, singer-songwriter sound while mixing in touches of his extensive jazz and world music background, “Trust The Night” showcases Duquette’s many musical talents in a way that he has not revealed before.

The new album features the multi-instrumentalist Duquette as well as a stellar backing band anchored by John Kumnick (Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie) on bass and Duquette’s high school bandmate Nick Luca (Iron and Wine, Sheryl Crow) on guitar and synths. Jonathan Edwards plays harmonica on several songs, and sings on “Coffee in the Dark”, a tale about a strong woman who leaves her privileged upbringing to forge her own way as a fish monger. Rob elaborates on one the new songs saying “the album features original stories of the human condition, taken from my daily observations…..most notably on ‘Perfect Stranger’ a song about the author’s teenage experience of sitting next to a random person on a plane trip, and discovering the kindness of strangers.”

Interestingly, Rob’s day job is bringing his original children’s music to schools, festivals and libraries across the northeast, spreading lessons of love and kindness. With this new album release, he hopes to turn the attention to leading his own four piece band and headlining club and theater gigs throughout New England.

“Trust The Night” will have an official CD release event on July 22 at One Longfellow Square in Portland Maine featuring the full band and special guests. It will be available exclusively at Bull Moose stores throughout Maine beginning on June 4.

“Rob is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, on percussion, guitar, vocals and whatever else he can fit in the van!”

-Jonathan Edwards

“Rob Duquette really knocked me out!”

-Legendary drummer Joe Porcaro

For fans of: Dawes, David Gray, Jackson Browne

For more info contact: Cornmeal Artist Management, Charlie Gaylord, 23 Canterbury Circle, Kennebunk ME 04043  – 207-967-3996 office – 207-294-1575 cell



December 1, 2015

Rob Duquette On Kindness!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 6.41.58 PMI like having the first post in December on this topic: KINDNESS. I capitalize it because I want to emphasize how important it is to me. Yes, I am shouting! Often the arts infuse a sense of kindness perhaps because most often the arts are positive!  We know that when students are making art or music, dancing or acting it involves their heart and soul. And, audiences watching, listening, learning, looking, discussing, and/or feeling the arts involve their emotions. This covers the big picture, whether people are engaged in creating and/or people appreciating.

Rob Duquette is a musician who brings the topic of kindness to students through his music. Rob kindly answered questions about the work that he does and you can learn more about his goals in this blog post.

Some of you might know Rob’s wife and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader from phase 2, Andrea Wollstadt. Andrea teaches, K-5 music at John F. Kennedy Memorial School in Biddeford. One of MALI’s teacher videos on assessment in a standards-based arts classroom highlights the work that is going on in Andrea’s classroom and school. You can view it at

And, many of you also know music educator from Bonny Eagle High School and MALI Teacher Leader, Jake Sturtevant. Jake collaborates with Rob – learn more below.

Rob’s website is at and his email is Feel free to contact him if you have a question or wish to learn more.

  1. What is your Kindness program about – what are your goals, what do you hope the outcome(s) to be?

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 6.41.33 PMIt’s about taking some of these songs I’ve written and using them as a vehicle to talk about some very serious issues that need to be addressed at their age. It’s too late to start in Middle School in this day and age, they need to hear about kindness and about the importance of how we treat each other. Ultimately its about teaching students how to interact in a way that creates an environment where everyone is heard, everyone can be themselves, everybody is treated in a manner that they too would like to be treated. That’s some of the things, and I know that’s a tall order, but you know, I’d take one of them, and then we can work on the next one! I think a lot of our contemporary problems are no different from any other time, we all struggle to find a way to communicate what we want, or what we don’t want in a way that is not violent, or confrontational, in a way that we can take the time to understand each other. It’s simple, but so hard to do when everyone is busy, or maybe angry about something we don’t know about.

A long term goal for me is to be out of a job frankly. I want all these things I bring to schools to be part of a curriculum, so it would be addressed and talked about every school day. I want kids to come out of school knowing that they can do anything they want in life and they can reach their goals while helping and being kind to others. It’s not just about them, it’s about everyone they come into contact with!

  1. Tell us about your song writing – what inspires you to write/work with students sharing your songs?

I love to connect with an audience, and from the start I was able to instantly connect to the K-5 audience, I’m not sure why, maybe cause I’m a goofball, or they relate to the music. But as far as songwriting goes, I try not to get in the way too much, I think there’s a message in every tune I come up with, or maybe it’s just meant to be silly, and for a laugh, which is good too! But I just try to get as deep into what it’s trying to say as possible, without being too wordy or deep too. As eclectic as I get as a listener and a student, I still love a good catchy melody, a pop hook if you will. Speaking of silly, I just wrote a “gown up” song about how many people have beards now, AND how difficult it was for me to grow a beard at one point! There’s no message, it’s just fun, it’s called “the decade of the beard”.

  1. What does a typical Kindness session look like/contain when you work with a group of students.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 6.41.06 PMWell K-5 is the typical age group, sometimes it’s split into K-3 and then 4 and 5, I don’t think one way is better than the other at this point. Sometimes its better to have everyone together, 5th graders can get swept up in the excitement of the show a bit more I think when they’re bunched in with everyone, otherwise I tend to approach 4 and 5 a little different, it’s always a balance between how much I talk and how much I play and interact! It’s a balance that is different every show! That’s where my jazz training comes in!

Also I’ve lately been playing an occasional daycare or pre-school, which has been real fun!

  1. Tell the meartsed readers about your background.

Fortunately, I didn’t have too much pressure as an early music “student”. I had an old Yamaha guitar and a very old electric organ around the house that I would explore on. That is how I’ve approached all my subsequent instruments! With a sense of curiosity and an exploratory nature, because I didn’t have anyone telling me how it was supposed to be done. In 4th grade I played the clarinet in school and only left that to finally join the percussion section in middle school. And although I was always playing in rock bands from that time on, my 4-12 experiences in school bands were invaluable and as important to my development as was the less structured, improvisational learning that has always been important to me. I went on to get my undergrad in classical percussion and jazz drum-set performance, and my Masters in jazz studies with a focus in World Music. I still take lessons every few months. Still exploring……

  1. What is your philosophy about living in a world that sometimes seems challenging?

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 3.42.42 PMI have different practices that help me; yoga, meditation, exercise. I find that helps everything! I also find reading different spirituals texts helpful, not one in particular, but along with my studies in world musics, I also study some of the spiritual practices that accompany the genres, I particularly like Buddhism, but I’d never pick just one! And everything I put in my songs I try to do everyday. They’re lessons for us too. I think it comes down to what I try to attach to each song, a lesson, or a tool, getting tools in your “kit” that you can use when you’re angry, when you’re not feeling open, when you’re fearful. I’ve been working on this for twenty years exactly, and I’m still getting deeper and deeper into what it means to be kind and to serve others. And I’m definitely not kind all the time!! But I try to use these tools and practice what I preach.

  1. What advice might you offer to students or adults in dealing with what is happening in the world and/or in some cases individual communities?

Well I think it’s easy to get caught up in all the fear that’s being generated. I’m not saying it’s unwarranted, but I think getting swept up in it can keep us from taking time to be present, and see things around us that are good. When that’s happening, I think we’re less likely to want to make someone else feel good. I think it’s been proven enough by now that one simple act will make a ripple effect and would make multiple people see the good in the world. One simple act can be very powerful and one simple song can be too! There’s so much good in the world, but with media, social media and everything in our faces like it presently is, we sometimes miss the kindness that’s all around us. Some days are hard. It’s hard to see that. There’s so many aspect to it, like if you can find your Dharma – what you’re meant to do – then your work is going to make you happy, you’re doing what fulfills you. I think we all are at better places when we’re interacting with face to face with each other and being creative in some way.

  1. You have a relationship with Michael Chase. Tell us a bit about his work and how what the two of you do, connects/intersects?

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 6.41.53 PMWell Michael is a dear friend, and we share a common goal of wanting to change the world basically. And we joke that my program is the feeder program, just like sports! I keep it relatively light and introduce important aspects and make it fun and interactive, I love when students play in my band, I mean let’s face it, they don’t want to hear me just talk to them! Michael on the other hand can show up and just talk to students 6-12 and engage them. And of course, unfortunately he needs to address some heavy topics like suicide, drug use, etc,. And of course that’s stuff that I bring up in my presentations by talking about being kind to your body, finding that Dharma I mentioned earlier, I try to lay the groundwork with my program, but still keep it fun. We get together regularly to talk about this stuff, it’s of the utmost importance to us.

  1. You not only create for the school programs but you also perform. Tell us about that part of your work (and play).

Well I started writing music partially because of Jonathan Edwards when I was an early teen. He inspired me to write, he was singing about the earth and matters of the heart, and spirit, and it made sense to me. So playing with him over the past few years has been fabulous. I also run my own group called “duquette” although a lot of those shows have been solo, or maybe just with bassist John Kumnick, who used to play with David Bowie and Cyndie Lauper, and others. But I don’t play bars anymore, so even the “grown up” shows I come with stories and songs, and sometimes all that takes is a guitar, and a song, as much as I’d like to play in a bigger band, it’s all about that connection. When we have the budget I ask Jake Sturtevant – a fabulous pianist but a great educator as well – to join. Then we can add more of that improvisational element I love. But it’s about the connection, and the stories, and nobody does that better that Jonathan Edwards, so I get to watch him every concert!

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