Mallett Brothers Band plays afternoon show for Washington County students
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Narraguagus Junior-Senior High School hasn’t had a music program since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, due to a lack of applicants to teach music and head up a program.
Thursday afternoon, the Maine Academy of Modern Music brought The Mallett Brothers Band to the Narraguagus gym for a special concert in an effort to raise awareness about the lack of music teachers across rural Maine.
It’s not that Narraguagus didn’t want a music program for their students, but without a music teacher or director, it’s been impossible to have one.
And Narraguagus is not alone.
“There have been some struggles with finding music teachers in rural Maine and we want to answer by bringing some music to them,” said Maine Academy of Modern Music Executive Director Jeff Shaw, who is also a graduate of Narraguagus. “Recruiting teachers to rural Maine has been a challenge for schools and districts all over the state.”
“The tradition here at this school has been a huge band,” Narraguagus Principal Mary Ellen Day said. “It’s just gone down, down, down so that there’s very few kids playing instruments anymore. That’s a sad, sad thought for Narraguagus.”
The Mallett Brothers Band are one of Maine’s most successful touring bands and according to band member Luke Mallett, coming to play for students in Washington County was an easy gig to agree to.
“Growing up in dead central Maine up near Sebec Lake, to think then that I’d be kind of making a living playing music was kind of unheard of,” Mallett said. “So I think it’s important to let people know it’s an option. You never know. You never know where you can end up.”
And while the ultimate goal of Thursday’s show was to expose students in Washington County to the power of music, While hopefully creating a spark for students to play music on their own, the show was also still about what concerts are always about.
“Oh my gosh, they’re fantastic,” said Day. “They’re fantastic. The kids came alive as soon as they started.”
“We just want to have fun you know, let’s show these kids a good time,” added Shaw. “It’s been a long winter. It’s been a long few years and if we can, you know, come and bring some live music to Washington County, all the better.”
To learn more about the Maine Academy of Modern Music and its programs, or how you can get involved, visit maineacademyofmodernmusic.org.
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