Veazie Community School music teacher using talents to help others

Michael Arell plays the keyboard in his home.
Michael Arell plays the keyboard in his home.(Emily Tadlock)
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 4:15 PM EST
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BREWER, Maine (WABI) - A music teacher from Veazie Community School heard the great need by the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The statistics for food insecurity in the state really struck a chord with him. “There’s about 178,000 Mainers living with food insecurity. I heard 1 in 5 children in Maine live with food insecurity,” says Michael Arell.

As a teacher, Arell found that number astonishing.

“I kept saying, ‘I wish I was rich and could just write them a check. I wish I could do something.’”

Then an idea struck him. “I don’t have any sort of Christmas performance this year but I know all this music, I’ve played it so many times. Why couldn’t I record something,” he asked.

Arell got to work. “I kind of play the basic melodies everyone knows, ‘oh this is the song’ and then I kind of improvise around it. I know of make up my own ideas in between,” he says.

Arell says recording the album was easy. It only took him about 45 minutes. But, the editing took a bit longer. He says, “It took about a day or two to get them all together and make sure it’s all the way I wanted.”

To save on costs and make sure all sales benefit the food bank, Arell is making the album available for digital download. “It’s $10. They can download the album directly to any device they want and that $10 goes directly to the food bank,” he says.

The food bank says that for every $1 they can provide three meals. So, every album would provide 30 meals. Arell says, “It’s kind of empowering knowing that one person can spread the word about a good cause and can make a difference even if you can’t write a check for $1 million.”

The album became available for download Thanksgiving Day.

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