May 27, 2024

Community news


BSO Sneak Peek series at Maine Center for the Arts

The Bangor Symphony Orchestra recently received a $3,000 grant from the Maine Charity Foundation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to support the organization’s Jan. 31 Sneak Peek series to be held at the newly renovated Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.

The orchestra will feature pianist Joel Fan, who has a CD that topped the Billboard charts. Fan regularly tours with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Yo-Yo Ma opened the Maine Center for the Arts 22 years ago, so it seems fitting to have Fan “open” the renovated hall next year.

Fan and the orchestra will rehearse Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73. The orchestra also will rehearse Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.

“The BSO is excited to have [the foundation’s] support for this new offering that will allow a broader audience to attend our performances,” said symphony board president Sam Lanham.

The Sneak Peek offers patrons a behind-the-scenes look at a symphony rehearsal, during which patrons are encouraged to dress casually, change seats during the course of the rehearsal, and clap when they want. Audience members will have a chance to meet the musicians and conductor after the rehearsal.

“Enjoy classical, be casual,” Executive Director David Whitehill said of the Sneak Peek series.

Tickets for the Saturday Sneak Peek and the Sunday full concert are available by calling the Maine Center for the Arts box office at 581-1755 or 800-MCA-TIXX or visit

Live Nativity

Neighborhood Church invites the community to attend its second annual Live Nativity at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at 263 Texas Ave. Snow date is 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14.

The presentation will be complete with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, Wise Men and live animals.

“Last year’s Nativity was a big success. With a gentle snow falling and the lights of the city in the background, it was perfect,” said Brian Haggerty, senior pastor of Neighborhood Church. “And the kids loved being able to go inside the corral and pet the animals after the program. Dress warmly and join us this year.”

Located at the old Dow chapel on the University College of Bangor campus, Neighborhood Church has plenty of parking and will provide hot chocolate, coffee and snacks.

The presentation will last under one hour. Attendees are invited to warm up in the meeting hall after the presentation.

For information on the Live Nativity or Neighborhood Church, visit or call the church office at 945-9937. Office hours are 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday.

Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Bangor Grange Hall, 1192 Ohio St.

There will be activities, fun and treats. Every child gets a bag of reindeer food for Christmas Eve. Admission is by a donation of $2 per person or $6 per family. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Call 745-5737 for information.

The Vintage Singers

Once upon a time in a city not far from Old Town, when a church group was unable to attend a service, a small group of residents at Ross Manor decided to sing some hymns.

Fortunately, their leader, Jennifer Collins, activity director of Stillwater Healthcare, enjoyed music and the company of older adults. She was inspired to create a choir.

Weekly rehearsals led to programs for every season – a Christmas program of popular favorites and novelty songs, romping Irish tunes for St. Patrick’s Day, and patriotic, nostalgic programs for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

That was five years ago.

The choir now has a membership of 30 to 40 performers from Stillwater Health Care and Ross Manor, bolstered by residents from Orono Commons, Country Villa and the Maine Veterans Home.

The singers take their programs on the road – most recently at Marsh Island apartments, with other bookings scheduled for Old Town, Orono Commons, Westgate Manor and the Maine Veterans’ Home.

The Vintage Singers will perform:

. On Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Ross Manor and Rehabilitation Center, Bangor. A limited amount of seating available to the public. Call 941-8400, ext. 226, to make a reservation.

. 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, Stillwater Health Care, Bangor. Call 947-1111, ext. 232 for seating availability.

The Vintage Singers rehearse at 10 a.m. Tuesdays at Stillwater Health Care, and at 2 p.m. Wednesdays at Ross Manor. For information about programs, bookings or joining the choir, call 947-1111, ext. 232.

Ageless Treasure

A little known gift shop right in the heart of downtown Bangor offers shoppers the uncommon opportunity to acquire artwork and handcrafts created by exclusively senior artisans.

Ageless Treasure is on the first floor in the Hammond Street Senior Center, 2 Hammond St. Tucked behind the Grasshopper Shop, the three-story former Merrill Bank building often goes unnoticed by those who don’t know all the activity that takes place.

As part of its diverse programming, Hammond Street Senior Center offers arts classes and open studio space for Greater Bangor residents age 60 and older.

Members may take as many courses as they desire in specialties including watercolor, oil, pastel and acrylic painting; pottery; sewing and quilting; jewelry making; and card design. Classes are offered in eight-week semesters year-round for a nominal fee.

Many of the artists sell their work through Ageless Treasure Gift Shop, donating some or all of their sales to the Senior Center, which in turn applies 100 percent of the profit generated back into supporting the arts and crafts departments and programs for its members.

“Shopping at our Ageless Treasure Gift Shop is a win-win-win scenario for all involved,” said Kathryn Bernier, Hammond Street Senior Center executive director.

“Seniors get great visibility and positive affirmation of their talents by exhibiting and selling their works,” she said. “The senior center gets recognition for the tangible programs and activities we provide, and [money] from the sales which we put back into our programs. Plus, the public gets the opportunity to benefit from – and appreciate – our region’s seniors by purchasing great artworks and handcrafts.”

Ageless Treasure is open to the public 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, at 2 Hammond St. For information, call 262-5532.

Fun with space

Challenger Learning Center of Maine, 30 Venture Way, Bangor, has announced Space Fun programs led by a certified teacher. A snack is provided during camp sessions. Pre-registration is required by calling 990-2900, ext. 3. The schedule is:

. Planets, 9-11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 29, for children in kindergarten to grade three, $16, or from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., $48.

. Astronaut Life, 1-3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 29, for children in kindergarten to grade three. Learn what it takes to be an astronaut. $16.

. Space Station, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 30, for children in grade three to grade eight. Build your own model of a space station and find out what happens in the real international space station lab. $48. Bring a bag lunch.

. Constellations, 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, for children in grade three to eight. Make a constellation that will fit in your pocket. $16.

. Kids’ overnight, 5 p.m.-10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, to Thursday, Jan. 1. New Year’s Eve star party. Pizza, star-gazing, games, snacks, big-screen movie, breakfast, moon mission. $85.

Pete Seeger film

“Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” will be shown at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 170 Park St. The event is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a discussion and perhaps a singalong.

The film documents the life of one of the greatest American singer-songwriters of the last century. Largely misunderstood by critics for his views on peace, unionism, civil rights and ecology, Seeger was targeted by the communist witch hunt of the 1950s. He was picketed, protested, blacklisted and, in spite of enormous popularity, banned from American television for some 17 years. With a combination of never-before-seen archival footage and personal films made by Seeger and his wife, the film chronicles the life of this legendary artist-activist.

Blue Christmas Service

A Blue Christmas service for those struggling with grief, depression or loss during the Christmas season will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at First Baptist Church, 56 Center St. All are welcome. For information or directions, call the church office at 945-9694.

Freese Pop art show

The public is invited 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, to the opening reception of the Freese Pop art show featuring works by graduate students in the new University of Maine intermedia Master of Fine Arts program. The show will be in the former Freese’s building on Main Street.

Experience site-specific installations, explore themes relating to the building, its history and the artists’ relationship to the community. The installations alter the space by using a variety of media and materials, including pancakes, old clothing, graffiti, wheat grass and interactive digital technologies.

The show will be held in the unoccupied spaces of the old Freese’s department store, next to the Maine Discovery Museum, downtown. Artwork will be displayed on the first and third floors of the building.

The show is organized by students, with the support of visiting art professor Vanessa Vobis. Participants are John Bell, Richard Corey, Gabriella D’Italia, Bethany Engstrom, Julian Epps, William Giordano, Alexander Gross, Ryan Guerrero, Allison Melton and Abigail Stiers.

Freese Pop will run 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, and 3-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 15-17.

The Freese’s Building is at 10 Water St., at the corner of Water and Main streets. For information, visit

Master Gardener training

The Penobscot County Extension office announced the 2009 Master Gardener training program, which will concentrate on ornamental crops.

Instruction will include basic soils, botany and pest management training. The program fee is $100. Master Gardeners receive a reference manual, a lot of opportunity to interact with other gardeners and opportunities to work on a variety of volunteer projects.

Forty hours of volunteer time is required of each trainee as part of the overall program.

Training begins Tuesday, Feb. 3. Application deadline is Friday, Jan. 9. Training sessions will be held at the Extension office, 307 Maine Ave. Application packets may be obtained by calling 942-7396 or 800-287-1485, or e-mail Theresa Tilton at

Warming Centers

First United Methodist Church, 703 Essex St., is the host of a warming center from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays. The center is free to Bangor residents and provides a soup dinner and a warm place for community fellowship.

A warming center also is available at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 540 Essex St.

For information, call the church at 945-9567. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’

Husson University Theatre will present “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Dec. 13-14, at Kominsky Auditorium, Husson University. The show is a true story about the children of Terezin during the Holocaust. Tickets are $5, $3 students, free with Husson or NESCom ID. Call Shanna at 890-1169 to reserve tickets.


At Next Generation Theatre

These events are scheduled at Next Generation Theatre, Between Friends Art Center. 39 Center St.:

. Bob Fillion with special guest Don Havel, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. Originals and mixed contemporary. $5, $3 students.

. Mark “Guitar” Miller and Friends, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27. A combination of blues, folk and originals. $5, $3 students.

. Next Generation Dancers annual Winter Dance Recital, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. Times to be announced. Many styles of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater dance and Irish step dance. $5, $3 students.

. Harmony Hill concert, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31. Roots, bluegrass, Americana music. $5, $3 students.

. Spirited Folk concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13. Folk music for young and old. $5, $3 students.

. Anna Mae Mitchell and Rising Tide, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 13-14. Bluegrass. $7 at the door, $5 in advance, $3 students.

. “Honk!” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 27-28; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29. A musical based on the story of the ugly duckling. $5, $3 students.

For tickets and information, call 989-7100.


Art classes

These art classes are scheduled at Fields Pond Audubon Center, 216 Fields Pond Road:

. Adult art lesson, Carolyn Wallace-Zani, 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 13. Learn drawing techniques to capture the essence of the local fauna and flora. Bring a regular school pencil, sketch pad, eraser and enthusiasm. $10 Audubon members, $12 others.

. Drawing class for children ages 4 to 10, Carolyn Wallace-Zani, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate. Bring favorite art supplies. $10 Audubon member, $12 others, (one adult and one child).

For information about programs at Fields Pond Audubon Center, call 989-2591.

Old Town

Regifting sale

The Old Town Orono Animal Orphanage will hold its annual re-gifting sale 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town-Orono YMCA.

Proceeds benefit the Animal Orphanage, which takes in stray animals from the Old Town-Orono area and gives them a safe place to live while they wait to be adopted. The dedication of everyone involved is high but so are expenses, organizers of the sale said.

Some animals, not adoptable for various reasons, live out their lives at the orphanage.


‘The Gnome’s Winter Walk’

Ellsworth actress Frances Idlebrook will perform her original holiday show, “The Gnome’s Winter Walk,” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Keith Anderson Community House in Orono.

The show is a celebration of little-known holiday songs, stories and poems of Christmas, Hanukkah and solstice. In spirit, it follows in the footsteps of traveling performers who have been ushering in the holiday season for centuries. Audience members are invited to arrive 45 minutes before the show to learn a song and be part of the performance.

Idlebrook has worked with a host of internationally recognized artists, including film directors Daniel Petrie Sr., of “Sybil,” and Richard Pearce of “The Long Walk Home.” She has toured as an actor-director with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, performed numerous roles at the Dorset Theater Festival, and is a regular actor-in-residence at Maine Film Workshops. Favorite local roles have included Rosalind in Ten Bucks Theatre’s “As You Like It” and Romaine Patterson in a production of “The Laramie Project,” which performed in high schools throughout Maine.

“The Gnome’s Winter Walk” will be a family affair for Idlebrook. The short story that gives the show its title was written by her husband, Craig Idlebrook, a writer whose essays and articles have appeared in Mothering Magazine, Mother Earth News, Funny Times and Bangor Metro Magazine.

Her mother, Cathy Jacobs, a veteran musician and a member of Flash in the Pans steel band, will sing with her daughter and play the hammered dulcimer.

Suggested donation is $10, $5 children, $25 family. Call Frances at 667-5947 or e-mail for more information.

Tea with Santa

The Orono Parks and Recreation Department and the Orono Public Library will present two holiday programs for children:

. “Tea with Santa,” 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at the Keith Anderson Community House. Preschoolers and children up to age 5 are invited to have tea and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each child will have the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Mrs. Claus will distribute a small gift to each child.

. Children in grades one through five are invited to make gingerbread houses 4-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Keith Anderson Community House.

Pre-registration for both events is required by calling 866-5065.

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