Maine has a rich history of music and musicians. Check out a local show when you can, you will be delighted at the music and its performances.
In the colonial era, the talented composer, singer, and compiler of tune books and Maine resident Supply Belcher (1751-1836) was known in his time as "the Handel of Maine." Belcher organized the first choir in Maine.
The state is home to several prominent country music organizations, including Maine Country Music Association Hall of Fame, Down East Country Musica Association and the Maine Academy of Country Music (www.macmhome.org).
Musical institutions include the Maine State Music Theater in Brunswick, which has been in operation since 1959 and is one of Three professional music theaters in the state; the others are Northport Music Theater in Northport which opened in 2007 and Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunguit which opened in 1933.
The oldest continually operated symphony orchestra in the country is the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. The only other professional orchestra is the Portland Symphony Orchestra; Portland is also home to the Portland Choral Arts Society and the Portland String Quartet. The DaPonte String Quartet is the only other professional string quartet in Maine. The Portland Opera Repertory Theatre and OperaMaine are the main outlets for opera in the state.
Portland is also home to One Longfellow Square, which promotes music and other aspects of expression, utilizing a small downtown space to present a wide variety of artists in an intimate setting.
Port City Music Hall has gathered up some great musical performance most recently...
Outside of Portland, there are pockets of people who keep the traditional musical styles of their ancestors, including the Swedish music of Stockholm and New Sweden, the French-Maine community across the state, especially in Upper St. John Valley, home to the Acadian Festival, and the ethnic Russian music of the Kennebec River community in Richmond, Maine.
Maine's musical heritage also include the long-standing men's a cappella group, the Meddiebempsters, at Bowdoin College, and Bates College's all-male Manic Optimists. Bowdoin is also home to the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music. Other Maine festivals which focus on Western classical music are the Atlantic Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, and the Sebago-Long Lake Festival Players.
Original compositions about Maine and by Maine composers are stored in the Maine Collection at the Bagaduce Music Lending Library in Blue Hill. With over 225,000 separate titles, this library houses the largest publicly available sheet music collection in North America.
Maine has had a long folk fiddling tradition, which has helped inspire many modern bluegrass musicians. Maine's bluegrass and fiddling tradition celebrated at the Eastern Maine Music Festival; there is also a Bluegrass Music Association of Maine. Maine's contributions to bluegrass include Clarence and Roland White of the Kentucky Colonels and Jimmy Cox. Many prominent singer-songwriters grew up in Maine, Patty Griffin, Ellis Paul, Slaid Cleaves, and Rod Picott. Slaid Cleaves and Rod PIcott were childhood friends in South Berkwick. Randy Browning of the Late Bloomer moved to South Berwick.
The Freewill Folk Society at Bates College also continues the folk tradition. There are also more traditional folk acts like Schooner Fare, Maine's best-known folk trio-turned-duo following the death of Tom Rowe in 2004, and the Dave Rowe Trio founded by the late Tom's son. Newer, Progressive folk artists in Maine have been emerging since the 1990s, including artists such as Heather Caston and Nancy Cartonio.
Although not prominent for its rock music, Maine is still home to numerous venues and bands that play a diverse range of rock, punk, metal and more. Bands and artists like Howie Day, Ray Lamontagne, Rustic Overtones, The Elliotts, Sparks The Rescue, Jeremiah Freed, and Corey Beaulieu, the lead guitarist of Trivium, have found a large amount of success outside the state. Hardcore punk band A Global Threat originally hail from Maine.