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Historical Society exhibits for Maine Bicentennial

An 1820 map of what is now downtown Lewiston and Auburn, redrawn from the original in the collection of Maine Historical Society.

The Androscoggin Historical Society has installed exhibits that recognize local participation in the separation of Maine from Massachusetts in 1819 to 1820.

For each town that existed in 1819 in what became Androscoggin County, these displays include election returns on the question of separation, as well as the returns concerning adoption of the State’s constitution. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention from these towns are also listed.

Of particular interest to residents of the Twin Cities is a map used by Pejepscot Proprietor Josiah Little in 1820 of the area that includes the Great Falls and the confluence of the Little Androscoggin with the Great Androscoggin River. This now is the downtown area of Lewiston and Auburn. The map was redrawn from a digital copy of the original map in the Maine Historical Society’s collection.

These documents are found, along with artifacts representative of the period, one in a display case in the entrance of Auburn Hall and two in a display case on the second floor of the Lewiston Public Library. 

For more information, call 784-0586 or email info@androhist.org.

Franco Center cancellations and postponements

At the Gendron Franco Center, the safety of their patrons is always of primary concern. The Center will continue to follow the guidelines from state and local health officials to help ensure the safety of patrons and staff.  Given this consideration, The Gendron Franco Center administration and staff have made a decision to postpone the following events: the Josee Vachon Concert scheduled for March 18 is re-scheduled to June 10; the 4th Annual Comedy Invitational scheduled for March 20 is re-scheduled to June 19; Skosh: Celebration of the Music of Prince scheduled for April 18 is re-scheduled to June 20; and the Medieval Feast scheduled for March 27/28 re-scheduled to July 24/25.  Cancellations include La Rencontre, March 19; Scottish Fiddle Orchestra April 1; La Rencontre, April 9; the Piano Concert with David Fung, April 17, and the Adult Prom Apr 11.  We ask that people not to visit in person at this time regarding tickets, but to contact us by phone (207-689-2000) or email boxoffice@francocenter.org with any questions or concerns.

WLU prom gown giveaway

Looking for a free dress for prom? You can get one at the 7th Annual Fairy Godmother Gown Giveaway on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Foss Mansion located at 19 Elm Street, Auburn. 

Sponsored by the Woman’s Literary Union, donating gowns is a good cause. It benefits you cleaning out your closet and donors become a fairy godmother by helping girls find the perfect gown for the perfect evening. For more information or to donate your extra gowns call 795-6134. 

The Woman’s Literary Union was organized in 1892 with a mission of intellectual, cultural, and educational advancement of the community and to preserve the Foss Mansion which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The WLU of Androscoggin County is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. For more information check womansliteraryunion.org 

POSTPONED – date TBD

Franco-American singer performs at the center

Franco-American singer, Josee Vachon, performs at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.  Born in Québec and raised in Maine, Josée Vachon has been sharing her Franco-American upbringing for over 25 years through traditional and contemporary folksongs from Québec and Acadia and through her own compositions.

Though she often entertained at family gatherings, she began singing publicly with the support of the Franco-American Center at the University of Maine, where she discovered others who shared her rich heritage. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages in 1984, she continued to perform, quickly gaining recognition as a new Franco-American voice through early performances at state festivals in Maine and at schools and parish soirées.

Josee has won special awards including a bronze medal from La Société Académique ARTS-SCIENCES-LETTRES of Paris, France, 2019 in recognition of her musical career and receiving the Franco-American of the Year 2018 award from the Franco-American Center of New Hampshire.  She has served as the Franco-American Ambassadrice, presenting at Constitution Hall, Washington D.C.; Women’s Singing Traditions of New England Tour; and L’Institut Francais in Berlin, Germany.  Her International television appearances included “Bonjour!” from March 1987 to April 1998, hosting over 500 tapings of the most widely seen French-language television show in the US and airing on cable and public television stations in Louisiana, the Northeastern US and Canada.

Ms. Vachon has 12 solo recordings to her credit and continues to perform and record the music that best represents her love of Franco-American culture.

Reserved tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Box Office, calling 689-2000 or online at francocenter.org.  All ticket-buyers are welcome to a reception prior to the concert at 5 p.m.  Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

I and You opens Friday at The Public Theatre

Emma Wisniewski as Caroline and London Carlisle as Anthony in I and You

When was the last time you saw a play about a pair of compelling teenage characters that in its final moments left you breathless? I And You is that play—a youthful, humorous, powerful and profoundly moving story now playing at The Public Theatre. 

High school seniors Caroline and Anthony have more in common than they know. Mysteriously forced together to complete an English project, this unlikely duo discovers a shocking secret that will unite them forever. 

Even people who might not normally choose to spend an hour and a half with teenagers are advised to put I And You at the top of their “must-see” list. Audiences have been so stunned by the show’s unexpected final moment, that many of them return for a second time for the pure joy of re-experiencing this stunner of a play.I and You will be performed at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn’s Professional Theatre, March 13 through 22, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., with a Saturday matinee on March 21 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for groups.  For tickets visit thepublictheatre.org or call 782-3200. The Theatre is located at 31 Maple Street, Lewiston.

Governor Mills: Preparing for the Coronavirus in Maine

By now I am sure you have heard of the coronavirus, which is sometimes referred to as COVID-19. The Maine CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, reports that the risk to Maine residents remains low, but that doesn’t mean we’re not preparing.

The Maine CDC began working on our preparedness and our response efforts last year, and now with federal officials informing us that this virus is likely to spread further in the United States, we have scaled up our efforts.

We are:

Adjusting our emergency response protocols; communicating frequently with public health and medical professionals, with our hospital systems, school officials, EMS providers, county governments, Tribal governments, and many others to make sure they all have the most up to date information and resources; ensuring that potential cases are rapidly identified and investigated and that isolation procedures are in place, if and when needed; updating our lab equipment to allow us to test for the coronavirus?here in Maine as soon as this very weekend and engaging public health nurses as part of? our?emergency response, among other measures.

I also convened the Coronavirus Response Team. Under the leadership of the Maine CDC and Doctor Nirav Shah, all departments in my administration are reviewing our State Government readiness plans and coordinating with local agencies, with health authorities, and others to respond to the potential spread of the coronavirus. Our State agency leaders continue to be in constant contact with each other regarding preparedness for any potential coronavirus cases in our State.

So, what can you do? The Maine CDC urges all of us to take precautions and follow the federal guidelines from the U.S. CDC. That means whether you’ve been traveling or not taking the following steps to make sure you and your family are safe: First, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Second, avoid shaking hands as a greeting. That’s tough for somebody like me, I meet a lot of people, but now I’m just saying, “You know what, the CDC has advised us not to shake hands, so with all due respect, I’m not going to be shaking hands.” Thirdly, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Fourth, avoid close contact with anybody who’s sick. Fifth, stay home if you are sick. Now that’s not always easy, but please for the sake of the safety of your community and your friends, stay home if you are sick. Also, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

And finally, clean and disinfect frequently the things you touch—the surfaces and objects that we all handle every day, your cellphone, your computer, your door handles—disinfect them with disinfecting wipes and then throw the wipes away.

Take these simple, important steps to help protect you, your family, your neighbors, and your co-workers from both the coronavirus and the common flu at the same time.

So, this virus is a quickly evolving situation and I am recording this radio address Friday afternoon so it’s possible by the time you hear my voice, there could be new developments. I encourage you to stay-up-to-date by seeking information from credible sources, the Maine CDC being one of them, and the U.S. CDC. On their websites, they keep posting updates every couple of hours and that’s the most important source of information for all of us.

If you are considering travel, I urge you to visit the U.S. CDC’s travel guidance on their website at CDC.GOV. That’s C-D-C.GOV. And if you’ve recently traveled to Italy, South Korea, China or Iran, please stay at home and avoid social contact for 14 days. It’s really important.

If you have symptoms, cough or fever, or shortness of breath, call the doctor’s office. Do not go to the emergency room or to the local clinic but call first. Tell them what your symptoms are, and they’ll help you.

You know, preparing with facts and science and proven public health measures, and commonsense precautions—these are the best measures we can take to protect both the people we serve at work and our friends and families at home and protecting all the people of Maine.

Chiharu Naruse to present special piano series

Concert artist and teacher Chiharu Naruse performs at the Gendron Franco Center, 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston, at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 6. This 3rd recital in the 2019-2020 Piano Series season will highlight her interest in bringing live classical music to young listeners.  During the first half of the program Naruse will feature works by Liszt, Ravel, and Chopin that will appeal to school age children as well as adults.  She will also perform a composition by a former pupil, 9-year-old Quinn Brennan, prizewinner in the 2020 Golden Key Piano Composition Competition.  Following intermission, the artist will perform Schumann’s Kreisleriana.

Praised for her keyboard talents in her native Japan, Chiharu Naruse went on to study in Germany with Klaus Baessler and received master’s degrees in music performance and in music instruction from the Hochschule für Musik “Hans Eisler” in Berlin, where she also studied lied accompaniment under Wolfram Riegar.  In 2002, she came to the United States to study with the late Frank Glazer, renowned pianist and teacher. 

In addition to making her solo appearances, she is a well-respected chamber music player and coach, teacher, and juror at music competitions.  Since her critically acclaimed Franco Center debut in December 2006, she has given solo recitals and appeared with chamber groups in Europe and Japan, as well as here in Maine, including appearances at Bates College, Gould Academy, the University of Maine at Augusta, and the Ocean Park Music Festival.  In 2016, she performed at the Bowdoin College Klavierfest celebrating Elliott Schwartz’s 80th birthday, and played a program devoted to Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for Piano to a full house at the Bates College Museum of Art.

An engaging chamber musician, she has performed with cellists James Kennedy and Benjamin and Joel Noyes and violinist Dean Stein.  She has appeared with the Portland String Quartet, the Daponte String Quartet, and Venti Cordi and, as concerto soloist, with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra and the Maine Promusica Orchestra.  Last September, accompanied by James Kennerley on Merrill Auditorium’s Kotzschmar organ, she performed Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2. She has also been part of the Massachusetts Suzuki Festival at the New England Conservatory.  In addition to holding her private studio, Naruse teaches at Bates College and the Portland Conservatory.  She lives in Gray with her husband, two growing children, and a menagerie of animals, including several chickens.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Box Office, calling 689-2000 or online at francocenter.org. Students are admitted at no charge to all Piano Series events, and for this recital, adults accompanying students will also be admitted at no charge. 

Spoiler alert for a “must see” show at The Public Theatre

When was the last time you saw a contemporary coming-of-age story that featured a pair of compelling and complex teenage characters that in its final moments left you breathless? I and You, is that play—youthful, humorous, powerful and profoundly moving.  Some reviewers have called it, “the most life-affirming play you’ll ever see onstage”.

Even people who might not normally choose to spend an hour and a half with a pair of seventeen-year-olds are advised to put I and You at the top of their “must-see” list. Audiences have been so stunned by the show’s unexpected plot twists in the final moments, that many of them return a second time for the pure joy of re-experiencing them.

High school seniors Caroline and Anthony have more in common than they know. She’s a smart, cynical teenager. He’s an easy-going athlete with a love of waffle fries. Mysteriously forced together to complete an English project on Walt Whitman, this unlikely duo discovers a shocking secret that will unite them forever. 

“I and You contains a stunner of a spoiler” says director Christopher Schario, “and we are hopeful that audiences and reviewers who see it will protect the secret of the show so that others can enjoy the thrill of discovering it for themselves”.

Lauren Gunderson’s I and You was one of the most produced plays in America in 2017, as well as the winner of the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. A recently acclaimed London production featured Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones (Arya) in the role of Caroline.

The Public Theatre’s production of I and You features professional actors Emma Wisniewski as Caroline and London Carlisle as Anthony. Set design is by Jennifer Madigan, lighting by Christopher Burkhardt, and sound design by John Morrison.

Once again, The Public Theatre will continue its special pre-show events with 1-cent beer samples compliments of Baxter Brewing on opening night, March 13, and a free wine-tasting in the lobby provided by The Vault before the Thursday, March 19 performance. A free post-show discussion featuring the cast and director will also directly follow the Sunday, March 15 matinee.

I and You will be performed at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn’s Professional Theatre, March 13 through 22 Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. with a Saturday matinee on March 21 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for groups. For tickets visit thepublictheatre.org or call 782-3200. The Theatre is located at 31 Maple Street, Lewiston.

Concerts for a Cause

Concerts for a Cause is proud to host Chris Robley & Friends on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the First Universalist Church of Auburn. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Get ready for an intimate evening of politically conscious songs and a few fun covers, too. Chris Robley is a singer-songwriter and award-winning poet who’s made his home in the mill town of Lewiston. Robley’s orchestral indie-pop and folk music has been praised by The LA Times, The Boston Globe, NPR’s “Second Stage,” Performer, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time” and the premiere journal for American roots music called him “the very real deal.”

Robley’s poetry has been published in POETRY Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry, and more. He is the winner of Boulevard’s Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers, a recipient of a Maine Literary Award in poetry, and was selected by former United States poet laureate Robert Pinsky as a finalist for the Dorset Prize.

Robley will be backed by Portland folk mainstays Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, on vocals, and Jeff Christmas, on upright bass and vocals. Both are fixtures of the Portland folk/singer-songwriter scene.

Concerts for a Cause brings special concerts to the LA community to raise money for Auburn UU and local charities. 

The First Universalist Church of Auburn is located at 169 Pleasant St. (across from Dairy Joy on Spring across from Dairy Joy). Parking is accessible. For more information call 783-0461 or visit www.auburnuu.org.


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