Free Concert Celebrates Circus Music



BUCKSPORT — American circus music including lively marches favored by Barnum & Bailey will fill the Bucksport Performing Arts Center starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 10. The free annual Downeast Center Ring Circus Band Concert will involve concert-goers who get to dance with clowns and sing along to some musical selections.

Produced by Don Blodgett of Orland, the benefit concert is held annually to raise money to fund music scholarships for music students in Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties. Since its inception over a decade ago, the program has grown from two to 22 awarded in 2008. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Gene Nichols, associate professor of music at the University of Maine in Machias, will once again conduct a 40-piece circus band comprised of professional musicians, music educators and retired military band musicians from Washington, D.C., Florida, Connecticut, New Brunswick, New Hampshire and throughout the Northeast. Except the conductor, all the musicians volunteer their time and efforts, which include two rehearsals and the performance. Frequently, previous scholarship winners perform too.

Nichols, a showman who served as director of music and band director for the Clyde Beatty Circus and Wild West Show, has included marches, specialty numbers, an overture and a solo or two in this year’s program.

The Downeast Center Ring Circus Band Concert has received special program support from the town of Bucksport, Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bangor Band, and the Brewer Hometown Band. Martha Pedrick, Circus Band secretary and treasurer, will preside over the award announcements.

Students interested in applying for 2009 scholarships can obtain application information by contacting Pedrick at [email protected] or Joni Wardell, 480 Castine Road, Orland, ME 04472. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a student’s individual letter together with a letter of recommendation from the student’s music mentor. Scholarships are available to younger and older children and can be used for music lessons, music camp, musical instruments or music equipment.

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

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