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Youth bands to perform at Skye
SO. CARTHAGE -- New England Celtic Arts will present The Franklin County Fiddlers; The Abbott Hill Ramblers; and The Pineland Fiddlers at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7.
Skye Theatre Director Phill McIntyre has been working with the three groups for the past four years, providing workshops and hosting concerts that involved the bands and International touring artists. This year, all three bands will be brought together to share the stage in an afternoon of collaboration. It will be a wonderful day of song and music with three of Maine's finest youth bands. The magic will fly with a great variety of styles.
There has been a very strong music component with the Franklin County Fiddlers for nearly two decades. The program is so strong that it has fostered a music culture within the region under the leadership of Steve Muise in MSAD #9. Muise created and founded the Franklin County Fiddlers program in 1993. He was searching for a way to motivate his orchestra students and it seemed natural to blend his "alternative styles" string playing into a group that can perform and explore a variety of non-classical string playing.
The Pineland Fiddlers is a touring ensemble of 30-plus children ages 8 to 16 who play traditional fiddle music from Maine and Canada. All are students of Ellen Gawler, one of Maine’s top folk fiddlers, and most also study classical violin at the Pineland Suzuki School.
They perform throughout Maine at fairs, festivals, concerts and dances and their big, lively fiddle-orchestra sound has impressed crowds at venues such as the Chocolate Church in Bath, the Common Ground Fair, the L.L. Bean concert series, Johnson Hall Live, the Franco-American Heritage Center and the Kingfield POPS and the Skye Theater.
They toured Ireland recently, and in the summer of 2007 they were invited to play in Turkmenistan. They have traveled twice to Quebec City to perform and study with traditional Quebecois fiddlers, and performed in Prince Edward Island last year.
Bluegrass and American Roots music is alive and well in the central Maine area, and it looks like the youthful Abbott Hill Ramblers will help see that its popularity continues. Under the mentorship of Dexter Middle School teacher Chris Prickitt, himself an experienced performer and long-term member of the popular band Evergreen, the Ramblers are composed of middle and high school students from S.A.D. 46. The program has been going strong since the fall of 2000, kick-started by a Century 21 grant to promote after-school activities. In their early years, they also received significant financial support from the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine. The program is now a legitimate S.A.D. 46 extra-curricular activity.
Skye Theater is located three miles west of East Dixfield village at 2 Higland Dr. off Winter Hill Rd and Rt. 2 in South Carthage. Ticket price is $15 at the door. For reservations at the theater you wish to attend, call Skye Theatre at 562-4445.