Deer Isle-Stonington High School to Celebrate Arts Week

Submitted by REACH Performing Arts Center.

The fourth annual Deer Isle – Stonington High School Arts Week will run January 27-31, culminating in a public dinner and performance on Friday Jan, 31 at 5:15 PM.

In previous years grades 9-12 were split into four teams, each writing and creating a devised theater piece answering an essential question, this year’s Arts Week will have students in grades 8-12 identifying the projects most intriguing to them. They will then be assigned to one group based on their interest, working within that discipline for the entire week.

This year, Arts Week is celebrating the bicentennial of Maine with projects that will focus on the history and culture of our state. Funding for the week is made possible by the REACH Performing Arts Center, and additionally, is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Projects include 3D Printing with James Rutter and Screen Printing with Hope Rovelto of Portland’s Little Chair Printing, who have both worked for Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Mural Making with DISHS Art Teacher Cynthia Pease. A culinary project hosted by Healthy Island Project’s Edible Island exploring native Maine food pathways with Chef Cheryl Wixson. A music through technology workshop run by Mark Churchill. The traditional theater Arts Week theater project with veteran director Jesse Gorden and Opera House Arts’ Joshua McCarey. A filmmaking experience with Current Harbor’s Jamie Watkins, and a week building in the shop with DISHS teacher Steve Zembrusky.

The public event on Friday Jan 31st will begin at 5:15 at the Elementary School Cafeteria with a meal created, prepared, and served by the culinary group led by Chef Wixson. At 6:00, all will move to the REACH Performing Arts Center for presentations by each of the disciplines.

There are no tickets required for any events, though donations will be accepted by the REACH Performing Arts Center to offset the costs of Arts Week.

We hope to see you there!

Cape Elizabeth Students Honored at DOE Arts Showcase Celebration

Forty-two student artists from Cape Elizabeth Middle School were honored on December 10, 2019 in the Hall of Flags of the Maine State House in Augusta as part of the Maine Arts Showcase celebration.

IMG_1672The students were each awarded a certificate from the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and a letter from Governor Janet T. Mills for their outstanding artwork that is currently on display at the Maine DOE.

The Maine Arts Showcase is a program of the Maine DOE that displays the artwork of Maine students in the halls of the Maine DOE in a series of exhibits throughout the year. The program and the celebration event serve as a way for the Department to celebrate arts education in Maine and give Maine students the opportunity to have an impact with their art outside the walls of their own schools.

Maine DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Jason Anderson

“The process of making art is where all the ‘hard work’ happens,” said Maine DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Jason Anderson in his opening remarks at the event. “The displaying of artwork is where we (as artists) get to sit back, take it in, and hear how the work affects others. For many students, making art is the activity where they feel the most creative and engaged with their world,” he added.

Maine DOE Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta also spoke at the event to congratulate the students, and thank everyone for coming including educators, students and their families, and arts education supporters. During his remarks he took note of the important work of arts educators across the state in their efforts to provide quality arts education programming to Maine students. “In addition to promoting creativity, involvement in the arts helps students build the important skills of problem solving, collaboration, and perseverance.”

L to R: Cape Elizabeth Superintendent Donna Wolfrom, Maine DOE Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta, Cape Elizabeth Middle School Art Teacher and 2004 Maine Teacher of the Year Marguerite Lawler-Roher, and Cape Elizabeth Middle School Principal Troy Eastman.

Also in attendance at the event was Cape Elizabeth Middle School Art Teacher and 2004 Maine Teacher of the Year Marguerite Lawler-Roher, Cape Elizabeth Middle School Principal Troy Eastman, and Cape Elizabeth Superintendent Donna Wolfrom, along with Maine State Board of Education Chairman Wilson Hess, and Senator Rebecca Millet from Maine’s 29th District, representing South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and part of Scarborough.

Following the awards ceremony, students, educators, and family members were invited to the Maine Department of Education to tour the facility and find their artwork on the wall. The artwork has been on display since October 2019 and will be up until February 2020.



Maine Music Educators Help Root Modern Band Curriculum into Maine Schools

Spencer Hale

Educators from across the state gathered at Orono High School recently for their Modern Band 102 lesson, a second professional learning opportunity available through the Maine Kids Rock Program. Delivered by Little Kids Rock Educator Spencer Hale, the class gave educators the opportunity to fine tune their technique, and to build upon what they had learned in the previous modern band lessons they’ve been participating. Through the Maine Kids Rock program, each of these educators accepted $5,000 worth of modern band instruments, along with resources and hands-on learning opportunities to help them run modern band programs in their schools, an opportunity they would otherwise not be able to give to their students.

There are currently 35 Maine schools offering modern band programs through the Maine Kids Rock program. To be eligible for participation, districts agreed to offer modern band – taught by a certified music teacher, with priority given to schools who serve 50% or more free or reduced meals to eligible students.

During introductions at Modern Band 102, educators in attendance shared their name, school, the age group they are teaching, and the music the kids are working on. Their students were learning a wide-range of modern music selections, of their choosing, like Lost Boy by Ruth B., Count on Me by Bruno Mars, Best Day of My Life by American Authors, Ho Hey by The Lumineers, and Happy People by Little Big Town, on a variety of modern band instruments provided through the Maine Kids Rock Program.

Orono High School Music Teacher and Band Director Jen Acosta, who has been hosting the modern band professional learning in her music room for the past 3 years as a central location in Maine, only recently joined the program and currently offers modern band programming and instruments to her students.

Jen Acosta and Jason Anderson

“This is revitalizing [music] programs,” said Acosta. “It gives people the opportunity to use whatever resources they have to get kids playing music,” she added. Acosta went on to explain that it also serves as a gateway to music education in general. Being able to play and sing the songs they are listening to on the radio and on TV gets so many more students interested in music education than otherwise would be. Once they learn how to play one instrument, they most likely will pick up another she explained.

“The approach is so open it gives teachers a lot of autonomy,” added Maine DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Jason Anderson. New to the Department, Anderson recently came from his long-time position as Vocal Music Director at Houlton High School, one of the original 10 pilot schools awarded instruments and modern band resources when Maine Kids Rock was created.

Developed between the Maine Department of Education and national nonprofit Little Kids Rock in 2017, the Maine Kids Rock program is funded through a combination of Little Kids Rock donors and a portion of the State of Maine’s education budget, which is approved each year by the Maine State Legislature.

“I think the biggest standout – from top down – is that it represents the ‘do’ approach. Getting them [the kids] to do something,” said Acosta. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” She went on to explain that music education like this is going to change music culture. While students are still in the midst of learning modern band right now, they will eventually graduate and move on to post-secondary options and careers, having learned modern music at a much earlier age than students have been able to previously. This will more than likely result in new and innovative music creations and performances to come from our next generation of musicians.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine DOE to Host Student Arts Showcase Celebration 12/10 at Maine State House

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to invite the media to attend a celebration of the Maine Arts Showcase, where the selected artwork of 42 young artists from Cape Elizabeth Middle School will be recognized. Since October, these students’ work has been on exhibit throughout the Maine DOE, where it will remain until February 2020. The Arts Showcase is a long standing tradition of the Maine DOE where artwork of students from all over the state is showcased at the Department in a series of exhibits that happen throughout the year.


  • 42 student visual artists from Cape Elizabeth Middle School
  • Visual Arts Educator – Marguerite Lawler-Roher, former Maine Teacher of the Year (2004)
  • Cape Elizabeth Middle School Principal – Troy Eastman
  • Cape Elizabeth Superintendent – Donna Wolfrom
  • Deputy Commissioner Chuhta, Maine Department of Education
  • Chairman Wilson Hess, State Board of Education
  • Members of the Maine State Legislature have also been invited.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 10:00 A.M.

WHERE: Hall of Flags, Maine State House, 210 State Street, Augusta, Maine 04330

For further information please contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Kelli Deveaux at

MLTI Student Conference 2020 Musical Performance Applications Due February 24th, 2020

The MLTI Student Conference has included live musical performances over the past several years, and this year, we would like to feature students from our PK-12 schools or local universities. There are several potential opportunities which could be filled by students from one school or from a two schools. A tentative schedule is below.

  • 8am – 9:40am – Musical performances as schools arrive, National Anthem, and performances as schools depart for sessions.
  • 12:45pm – 3:00pm – Musical performances as schools return from lunch, at some point during the UBER session, and as schools depart.

We are looking for musical performances that fit this year’s conference theme: “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial” and will judge applications based on how well the musical selections fit the theme, as well as how creative ideas are for the performance itself.

Ready to apply? View the application or copy and paste this link into your browser:


  • Application Due: Monday, February 24th, 2020
  • Selection Process: February 24th – March 13th, 2020

Please note that we only have limited funding available to help reduce the cost of attendance or of travel. Because of this, invitations to perform will happen over the course of three weeks. Thank you for understanding!

Additionally, the school is responsible for ensuring students and families are okay with the students performing at an event where they will be recorded (video and photograph). These videos and photos may be shared on the local news and on social media. Families will also be asked to sign a media release form for the Department of Education and to understand that we are unable to prevent their student from being photographed or video recorded during the event if they are performing on stage. 

For answers to questions or for more information, please contact