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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago
The University of Maine Museum of Art will benefit from a fall 2014 Tourism Enterprise Marketing Grant, according to the Portland Press Herald. The Maine Office of Tourism recently announced eight recipients for the grants that aim to support tourism marketing projects in 2015 that will increase visitor traffic to Maine, the article states. The Maine Art Museum Trail, which UMMA is a member, will receive $8,591. The trail is a collaborative of eight art museums that plans to rebrand since it’s initial development in 1997. The funding will go toward efforts such as creating a new brochure, an updated map and distribution of those products, according to the Press Herald.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release advancing a student-run concert that will celebrate UMaine’s 150th anniversary and serve as a School of Performing Arts fundraiser. “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” will feature performances by a full big band, string orchestra and singing groups, as well as 13 featured vocal soloists. More than 75 students will bring to the stage selections from the Great American Songbook during the Jan. 23 concert at the Collins Center for the Arts. Proceeds benefit the UMaine School of Performing Arts student initiatives and outreach programs. Music Industry Today also posted the release.
Videos created by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were mentioned in a Caledonian-Record article about pruning fruit trees. The best time to prune tree fruit and small fruit, such as berries, is late winter to early spring while the plants are dormant, according to the article. The article stated UMaine Extension “has a couple of great videos for pruning blueberries and apples,” and included a link to the videos.
Foster’s Daily Democrat reported the deadline has been extended for applications for the 2015 University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer training in York County. Friday, Jan. 23 is the new deadline to apply for the training that begins Jan. 27 at the Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale.
Friends of Maine Hockey will host the annual Skate with the Bears event from 4:15–5:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11 at the Alfond Arena. Members of the University of Maine men’s and women’s ice hockey teams will be on the ice meeting fans, signing autographs and posing for photos.
Friends of Maine Hockey board members also will be in attendance to answer questions, sign up new members and sell merchandise in support of the teams.
The event is free and open to the public. There is a limited supply of free skate rentals available. Hot cocoa, coffee and doughnuts will be provided by Dunkin Donuts, as well as pizza from Domino’s.
University of Maine alumnus and Broadway performer Merritt David Janes “DJ” will return to his alma mater in January as a guest artist in the School of Performing Arts benefit concert, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine.”
In recognition of UMaine’s 150th anniversary, more than 75 students in the School of Performing Arts will present selections from the Great American Songbook in a concert that aims to raise awareness of the school and funds for outreach programs. The student-run production takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 in the Collins Center for the Arts.
While on campus, Janes will teach a free master class on musical theater that is open to the public. University and area high school students will perform for and be coached by Janes at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 in Minsky Recital Hall.
Janes is currently on a national Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera.” He is a Colchester, Vermont native who graduated from UMaine in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in music education with concentrations in voice and trumpet.
What will your role be in the School of Performing Arts benefit concert?
I am honored to be the guest artist and cannot wait for this event. I will be singing six songs with the very talented jazz musicians in the UMaine big band. When I was a student, I never would have guessed I would be so excited to go to Maine in January.
Describe the master class you will be teaching:
I am really looking forward to this. My job as an actor allows me to stay in touch with my love of teaching with master classes like this one. I will be working with students on music they are in the process of preparing. The focus of our time will be on combining the technical aspects of musical performance with the artistic; bringing yourself to the material by relating artistically and technically with the intention and circumstance of the material.
I attended the Maine Summer Youth Music Program from seventh grade through my senior year in high school and was inspired to enroll in UMaine’s music school by the excellent teachers I worked with there.
Why did you decide to come back and support your alma mater in this way?
The School of Performing Arts and the Maine Center for the Arts — now the Collins Center for the Arts — are very special places for me. I have had so many great memories on the MCA stage in so many different flavors of performance with the UMaine Symphonic Band, UMaine Singers, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Maine Steiners, and then coming back with the Broadway tour of “Sweeney Todd.”
I have always jumped at every opportunity to perform there since I was in middle school, so when they asked me to come up this time, it was a no-brainer.
Describe your career path since graduation:
In my final year at UMaine, I had the privilege of student teaching at Windham High School with Richard Nickerson and the world-famous Windham Chamber Singers. After graduation, I was faced with the difficult decision to choose to begin my teaching career or pursue a career in performing. Call it fate or a total lack of practicality, but I decided to roll the dice and give performing a shot.
I then attended The Circle in the Square Theatre School (in New York City) for two years. In the last two months of my time there, in an effort to “practice auditioning,” I booked my first professional role as Robbie Hart in “The Wedding Singer” Broadway tour.
As luck would have it, I’ve been touring ever since for the last seven years in five other Broadway tours: “Sweeney Todd,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Shrek,” “Catch Me if You Can,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Describe your current job on the National Broadway Tour of “Phantom of the Opera”:
I think it’s safe to say the 25th anniversary Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” is the most prestigious production I’ve been a part of. For the first time in my career I am in an understudy position. I perform nightly as a featured ensemble member and it is my pleasure to understudy the wickedly talented, Helen Hayes Award nominee Edward Staudenmayer in the role of Andre. It has been quite the adventurous ride and I can’t believe that it has already been a year.
What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has made all the difference in the world. Receiving a great experience at an excellent music school is an invaluable and very unique tool that gives any performer on today’s stage the gift of versatility and consistency. I would not have had the ability or stamina to perform any of my previous roles without the experiences I was given at UMaine.
How does UMaine continue to influence your life?
My experience at UMaine continues to help me in many ways. My time there really taught me how to think outside the box and allowed me to sharpen my ability to anticipate, create and seize new and exciting opportunities.
When you were at UMaine, what was your favorite place on campus?
I was very fortunate to have regular access to Minsky Recital Hall which became my favorite place to rehearse and even served as a calming escape from time to time.
What’s your most memorable UMaine moment?
My time on the European concert tours with the Singers, Steiners and Oratorio Society were filled with irreplaceable memories of singing all over Europe in some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Particularly on my last European tour with the Singers and the Steiners where I had the opportunity to conduct a combination of both the Steiners and Renaissance a cappella groups.
Tickets for “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” are $25, $12 for students with a valid MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center box office, by calling 581.1755 or online. For more information about the performance or to request a disability accommodation, call 581.1755. The event’s snow date is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. More about the concert is online.
The University of Maine Humanities Center will host the third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day at various locations Jan. 24 with a kickoff event Jan. 23.
Free events for participants of all ages will be offered at venues including the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA), Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum. This year’s Humanities Day is co–hosted by the Maine Folklife Center and UMMA.
The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day began in 2013 to create a better forum for connecting UMaine faculty, staff and students with the general public in the region, according to UMHC director and UMaine history professor Liam Riordan.
Local partners of the day are the Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum.
Free bus service will be available from the UMaine campus to Bangor and is supported by the UMaine Office of Student Life.
The events kick off 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 with a humanities-themed PechaKucha presentation at Coe Space, 48 Columbia Street in Bangor. Speakers will include UMaine faculty and local cultural leaders. Refreshments will be provided and a $6 donation is suggested.
Events on Saturday, Jan. 24 are:
- 11 a.m.–11:45 a.m. at Maine Discovery Museum — Bangor Children’s Choir performance
- Noon–12:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — Brown bag luncheon discussion of the “Future of the Book” with Michael Alpert of UMaine Press, Deb Rollins of Fogler Library, Joshua Bodwell of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and Barbara McDade of the Bangor Public Library
- 1–2:45 p.m. at University of Maine Museum of Art — Exhibit tour led by George Kinghorn, UMMA’s director and curator, at 1 p.m. and artist lecture by Brenton Hamilton at 2 p.m.
- 3–3:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — “Philosophy Tea” and group discussion of Edith Cobb’s “The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood” with Kirsten Jacobson, an associate professor of philosophy at UMaine, and members of the club, Philosophy Across the Ages
- 4–4:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — “An Oral Historian’s Work” lecture and discussion by David Weiss, founder of Northeast Historic Film
The UMHC has partnered with the Bangor Daily News on “My Maine Culture,” a project to celebrate Maine’s sense of place. In December, members of the public were invited to submit a digital postcard — an image or video with accompanying text — that captures participants’ Maine culture or what they love about the state.
The BDN will publish highlights from the digital postcard collection before the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day to contribute to the day’s events, and BDN editor Erin Rhoda will share examples during the PechaKucha event Jan. 23. The Maine Folklife Center also may choose to preserve the digital postcards in its archives.
The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day is one of several UMHC events planned for 2015. The UMaine Humanities Center, housed in UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2010, advances the teaching, research and public engagement of the arts and humanities to create richer collaboration among Maine residents. More about UMHC is online.
For more information about the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center, at 581.1848 or email@example.com, or visit the Facebook event page.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Sun Journal for an article about insects that are common in Maine during the winter. Dill spoke about several pests and how to cope with them, including snow fleas, western conifer seed bugs, northern house mosquitoes, winter moths and spiders and Asian lady beetles. “It used to be when I first started, people would say, ‘Oh, boy, it must be boring during the winter being an entomologist,’” Dill said. “With the things that have come in, and looking at pests and you name it, there’s truly not a slow time of year anymore.”
Research by Robert Milardo, a professor of family relations at the University of Maine, was cited in a News-Press parenting column about the important role aunts and uncles play in children’s lives. Milardo’s writings show aunts and uncles help parents care for their children, give parents breaks and lend advice to both children and adults, according to the article. “Not all nieces and nephews are close with uncles and aunts, but for some, their relationships are truly extraordinary — they fuse elements of parent-like obligations with friendship,” Milardo said. “When adult siblings have reasonably close relationships, without question everyone can benefit.”
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine is investigating an offensive and unauthorized tweet that was posted using an official university Twitter account. The tweet has been deleted and security on the account has been updated. “There is no evidence that any of the systems at the University of Maine were compromised,” according to John Forker, chief information security officer for the University of Maine System. Sun Journal carried the BDN report.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with news organizations, including The Ellsworth American and WLBZ (Channel 2), about the 2014 blueberry harvest. Yarborough said although the federal figures for the harvest won’t come out until the end of the month, the crop will exceed 100 million pounds, making it the second largest blueberry harvest in Maine’s history, according to the article. The largest wild blueberry crop was 110.6 million pounds in 2000, the article states. The Associated Press also reported on Yarborough’s figures. The Boston Globe, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Portland Press Herald and Daily Reporter carried the AP report. Mainebiz cited the Ellsworth American article.
WABI (Channel 5) advanced the family-friendly activities offered at the University of Maine Museum of Art as part of Bangor’s Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve celebration. The museum offered a free workshop for children to make a crown or tiara. The museum’s education coordinator, Eva Wagner, said the event is a safe, family-friendly way to celebrate the New Year.
The University of Maine’s offshore wind efforts were mentioned in the Portland Press Herald article, “Top 10 Maine business stories of 2014.” In May, the University of Maine’s offshore wind project was selected as an alternate by the U.S. Department of Energy for its next phase of the Advanced Technology Demonstration Program. The UMaine project received $3 million for further research and development, and will be considered for more funding should additional funds become available.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with University of Maine student Matt Dexter about Eastern Trek for Cancer, a nonprofit he created to help support cancer patients. “There’s been a lot of research done on how effective social support can be to enhance the psychological well-being on the patient, but also the physical health,” Dexter said. Over the summer of 2014, Dexter raised $7,300 for the Ulman Cancer Foundation while participating in 4K for Cancer, a 42-day cross-country run to raise money for and awareness of cancer. Since completing the 4,000-mile team relay run, Dexter formed his nonprofit and has planned a 29-day, 400-mile relay run that starts June 27, 2015 in Kittery, Maine, and ends July 25, 2015 in Surf City, New Jersey.
The Free Press reported the University of Maine School of Social Work is adding a three-year online option for its master’s in social work program starting September 2015. Online courses will be taught by the school’s regular MSW faculty and field practicums may be completed at qualifying organizations geographically convenient to students, the article states. Applications are being accepted for the program and application review will begin Feb. 15.
Family-friendly activities at the University of Maine Museum of Art are part of Bangor’s Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve celebration, according to the Bangor Daily News. Free activities at the museum from 6–8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31 will include making a crown or tiara.
The University of Maine was mentioned in a Sun Journal article about the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum officially changing its name to the Maine Forestry Museum. For the past several years, the museum has broadened its geographic range across the state and country with the main purpose of educating and entertaining people about Maine’s forest and its importance to the state’s future, according to the article. The museum’s board of directors say a partnership is being formed with UMaine to help students further enhance their studies and career opportunities, the article states.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert, spoke with the Sun Journal about UMaine Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer training program and the need for participants in Oxford County. Every year the Paris-based program attracts between 25 and 30 applicants to take a 15-week course in farming basics, according to the article. Food produced from the program is given back to area families in need. “The purpose behind the whole program is a group of people who want to use their skills to benefit the community,” Murphy said.
CounterPunch published an opinion piece by Doug Allen, a philosophy professor at the University of Maine, titled “Nelson Mandela: His meaning for us today.” The article includes a section about UMaine and Mandela where Allen writes about an effort that began in the 1970s to convince the University of Maine System to sell all of its investments in companies that were doing business with South Africa. The effort succeeded in 1982.
The Ellsworth American reported Paul Hansen, a Bucksport real estate agent, and several volunteers have secured the town’s permission to start a wood bank at the municipal transfer station. The wood bank would work similar to a food pantry by providing firewood to those who can’t afford or chop it themselves, according to the article. Hansen said he decided to create the bank after reading a report on the subject by Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources at the University of Maine, and Sabrina Vivian, a UMaine senior studying ecology and environmental sciences.