Friday, July 12, 2019

Adventure experience on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Bath time
By Craig Bailey

This is the last of the three-part series of Reporter Bailey’s Allagash adventure.

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, the Windham Eagle Reporter and Registered Maine Guide, Craig Bailey, his sons Ian, Aaron, Ethan and Evan, and longtime friend, Patrick Bogan, left Raymond on the 6-hour drive north, to begin the ultimate Maine-based adventure on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW).

The destination was Pelletier’s Campground in St. Francis, near the Canadian border, to meet its proprietor, Norm L’Italien. In addition to serving as an outstanding host, L’Italien provides the shuttle service to transport adventurers to the various starting points (put-ins) along the AWW. L’Italien’s down-to-earth, jovial personality and Canadian-French accent, epitomizes the northern Mainer.

https://www.miracle-ear.com/locations/windham-me/?utm_source=Print&utm_campaign=Links&utm_medium=Short+URLsAfter transferring gear and provisions to L’Italien’s passenger van on Monday, the group was shuttled 85 miles over rough, dirt logging roads to the put-in at the north end of Umsaskis Lake. L’Italien made the 3-hour journey enjoyable with tales of adventurers escorted and the related mishaps he’s dealt with. All the while, the group was hoping their journey would not become fodder for one of his stories.

Along the way a bear was spotted foraging in the woods. L’Italien shared advice on dealing with bears encountered along the waterway, explaining they seem to respond better to commands in French versus English. Since the group didn’t speak much French, L’Italien offered the universal command one can shout to move bears along: “GIT!”

Once the van was unloaded and L’Italien drove away, a surreal mood ensued, as the group acknowledged they were now completely on their own, off the grid, left only with gear, provisions and their adventurous spirit fully immersed in nature.

The sun was shining, and a few flies were buzzing about, enough to warrant the first application of sunblock and insect repellent.

After loading the canoes and enjoying a wholesome lunch on the shore of Umsaskis Lake, the group launched their canoes and began paddling towards the Long Lake Dam campsite, approximately 8 miles away.

The map indicated nothing but smooth water ahead. Campsites were clearly marked along the river, serving as primary landmarks to track progress against the map. After a few hours of paddling the sound of rushing water could be heard, at which time the group realized they had arrived at the targeted campsite: Long Lake Dam.

At this point, the dam is a remnant of what it was during the logging industry’s primitive past, requiring the group to portage (unload canoes and carry gear) around the obstacle.

Once camp was setup and firewood gathered, Evan commenced to fishing. He had a good-sized trout on the line, but upon lifting it out of the water it fell back into the river. After this excitement, others began fishing. Ian caught two small trout, but no keepers.

Dinner consisted of teriyaki steak tips, potatoes and onions cooked over an open fire. After much conversation, reflecting on how long the group had been planning for the trip, it was time for bed.
Until experienced, one cannot imagine the rest achieved after a long day of paddling, with the peaceful sound of rushing water heard throughout the night. Ah, the way life should be.

Musky for dinner.
Mornings on the waterway began at daybreak, with the continued sound of rushing water, birds chirping, bright sunlight reflecting off the tents and fresh, crisp air. As one glances at the outstanding views of nature an overwhelming peace is experienced, realizing there likely isn’t another person around for miles, many, many miles. This, along with the complete absence of mobile phone notifications vying for attention.

After tending to nature’s call, the first duty was to get water from the river, boiling for coffee, on the coleman stove. In parallel, a fire was stoked for warmth and to keep flies away.

The crew knew to get up at first light, the sound of the whistling kettle or else receive a less peaceful greeting, in the form of a jostle from the guide, ensuring the entire group was involved in maintaining forward progress on the journey.

Once coffee was ready, a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes was prepared and promptly consumed by the crew.

Final duties before departing were then performed, including washing dishes, breaking down camp, dousing the fire, loading the canoes and ensuring the group “left no trace.” The approach the guide learned from his father, as a young lad, was to walk the campsite and pick up anything larger than a cigarette butt.

The group then began their second day on the waterway, with sights on the next campsite, Cunliffe Depot, approximately 25 miles away. The map indicated this leg of the trip would be more exciting, with several spans of class II rapids.

The map didn’t fail the group. A mishap occurred as the guide’s canoe became thoroughly hung up on a rock, which was just below the surface. At this point, all one thinks about is “we don’t want to capsize as our gear will be strewn all about the waterway!”

To dislodge the canoe the guide jumped into the frigid water, reducing weight in the stern (back) of the canoe, hanging on all the while. After precariously drifting downstream in the deep, rushing water, the guide was able to coax the canoe to shore. The entire crew was laughing at the spectacle. As full disclosure, this was a near repeat of an experience had on the very same rock, six years earlier.

Later, a moose was observed feeding in the waterway. Pausing to take pictures, some in the group were able to get close, prompting the guide to remind them that moose will charge! After a few minutes the moose became disinterested and trotted gracefully off into the wilderness.

Other wildlife, serving as constant companions during the day’s journey, included pairs of mergansers. These are waterfowl in the duck family, distinguished from their brethren by the mohawks they sport and their behavior: constantly diving (like loons) searching for fish.

After several hours of travel, the targeted campsite was spotted, from several hundred yards away. To the groups slight dismay, it was occupied. Upon glimpsing at the map the weary group agreed on another site, which was fortunately, just across the river.

The chosen site proved to be more than adequate, although the flies were a bit fierce. Out came the headnets, minus the guide, who refused to wear one for the duration, representing native Mainers, who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such a thing.

After another great night of camping the group prepared for the shortest leg of the trip, to the climax, Allagash Falls, only 6 miles away. This served as a well-deserved respite after the prior day’s lengthy journey.

On approaching Allagash Falls one experiences a bit of anxiety, resulting from the thunderous sound of the forty-foot falls and the fact that you don’t want to miss the take-out for fear of certain death.
While the day’s journey by canoe was the shortest of all, the portage was the longest: about a third of a mile.

Upon setting up the campsite it was bathtime. This consisted of each member of the group jumping into the raging river, just below Allagash Falls, with life vest on. Each had their own style of entering the rushing water, the guide doing his ritualistic back flip, others front-flipping or diving.
After cleaning up, the group napped on large slate rocks along the river, warmed by the mid-day’s sun.

Shortly thereafter, fishing commenced. Evan landed a 24-inch musky, which was had for dinner, with beans and hot dogs.

The final leg of the journey was to Allagash Village, about 13 miles away. Several spans of rapids along with many picturesque views made for another rewarding day.

On approaching Allagash Village it became important to not overshoot the take-out point, or the group would end up on the St. John River, not part of the plan.

Finally, White Birch Landing, a privately-owned access-point near the end of the Allagash River, was in view. Once landed, a short walk to the owner’s home was necessary, to pay a small landing fee and use their phone to call for transport services.

Within 30 minutes L’Italien showed up to load the gear and adventurers, dog-tired yet completely fulfilled at the completion of their journey, into his van for the short ride back to Pelletier’s Campground.

The evening’s dinner of pizza was enjoyed at the Forget Me Not Diner, a quaint establishment whose primary cook and server was a sweet little old lady. As the only diner in town, locals, most of whom admittedly never paddled the Allagash, frequently stopped by the table to ask about the waterway experience, being the primary reason strangers frequent the area.

After a good night’s sleep, the group acknowledged that the last leg, of an absolutely outstanding adventure, was at hand: the drive home. The group may have stopped at the Woodsman’s Museum, in Patton, but were pressed for time as Aaron’s girlfriend had tickets to a concert in Boston that night. 

Back to reality.

Craig Bailey is a Registered Maine Guide and owner of Maine Adventures, LLC. To learn more visit: www.MaineAdventuresLLC.com.

Garlic scapes are plentiful at the Windham Community Garden

By Lorraine Glowczak

In a recent email announcement, Priscilla Payne, a member of the Windham Community Garden shared with many gardeners in the area, “We have garlic scapes for sale. $8.00 a pound. That is a lot of scapes!”

 It seems they have too many of this herb/spice/vegetable member of the lily family and they are selling them for those who love the less spicy flavor found in the garlic clove. But what exactly is a garlic scape?

According to an online article in Cook’s Illustrated magazine, “Garlic scapes [are] slim, serpentine flower stems [that]grow from the tops of hardneck garlic. Farmers have long known that removing them encourages the plant to direct its energy toward growing a plump underground bulb, but only recently has this agricultural byproduct begun to find its way to farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture boxes.”

In that same article it was stated that raw garlic scapes have a garlic flavor that’s “less fiery and more grassy than that of raw cloves.” One recommendation for the scape is to puree it with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts – making a fabulous pesto to add to your favorite pasta (or other summer scape recipes below).

http://www.theroofdoc.com/Scapes provide a rich supply of nutrients and minerals, as well as certain active ingredients and antioxidants and provide dietary fibervitamin C, and provitamin A. They can be refrigerated in a zipper-lock bag, left slightly open, for up to three weeks and can be used in a variety of ways. They can be eaten raw or they can be grilled, stir fried, or used in a salad dressing.

If you are interested in trying fun recipes (see below) with fresh garlic scapes, there are plenty still available at the Windham Community Garden. Contact Payne at pmpayne1936@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing

Below are a few recipes using garlic scapes:

Garlic Scape Pesto by vanillaandbean.com
Ingredients
10 (154g) Garlic Scapes
1/3 C (44g) Pine Nuts* (see note)
1/3 C (38g) Parmesan Asiago or simply Parmesan ** (see note) dice or shredded
1/2 Lemon juiced
1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
A few grinds of Pepper
1/3 C (70g) Olive Oil
Instructions
Trim the garlic scapes by cutting just below the bulb. Discard the bulb and set the remaining scape aside.
In a food processor, add the scapes, twirling them around the center so that they all fit. Add the pine nuts, cheese, juice of the lemon and salt and pepper. Process by pulsing until the mixture begins to break down. Scrape the bowl down.
With the processor running, slowly add all the olive oil. Continue to process until all the ingredients are incorporated and broken down, about one minute.
Store in a covered container or lidded jar in the fridge and enjoy within a week. Also, you can freeze the pesto in a jar or in an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, in the ice-cube tray, remove and place in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Garlic Scape Hummus by Allrecipes.com
Ingredients
3 garlic scapes
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon snipped garlic chives (optional)
Instructions
Remove the blossom end and the opposite fibrous end of each garlic scape. Remove any fibrous skin by breaking the scapes into 1-inch pieces and peeling it off. Keep the skin on young and pliable scapes; chop coarsely.
Place drained garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor. Add chopped scapes, tahini, lime juice, and chili powder. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if hummus is too stiff. Pulse until hummus has the desired consistency. Season with salt.
Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with snipped garlic chives.

Garlic Scape and Scallop Stir Fry by Linda Ooi
Ingredients
3 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz garlic scapes (340g)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
8 oz bay scallops (225g)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
Salt to taste
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
Instructions
Wash and drain garlic scapes. Snap into 2-inch lengths starting from the bud end. As you near the stalk end, string the scape. Once it is too woody to break, discard.
Heat a wok or large fry pan. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Fry prepared garlic scapes for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the wok. Fry garlic for 30 seconds. Add scallops and continue to fry for another 1 minute.
Return garlic scapes to the wok.
Add soy sauce, cooking wine, and salt. Fry for another minute.
Stir in cornstarch mixture. Allow it to thicken. Turn off the stove.
Drizzle sesame oil on the top.
Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.


Education doesn’t stop in the summer


Building snacks (showing examples of erosion and 
preventing it) L to R: Lachlan Witten, Jacob Buckley, 
Elijah Duplissis, (Heidi Hackett in background), 
Liam Buckley, Kaylee Duplissis
With the combined effort of Loon Echo Land Trust, Crescent Lake Watershed Association, and RSU14, several young learners have the opportunity this summer to better understand our local ecosystem, watersheds and water health.

This past week, a group of nine to 12 year-olds joined Lanet Hane, RSU14 Director of Community Connections, on a trek through the Raymond Community Forest. Hane previously taught Outdoor Education in her home state of Minnesota and was excited for the opportunity to return to this experiential technique this summer.

“I take any chance I can to bring the outdoors into my work,” Hane stated, “These summer youth hikes provide a perfect chance for me to learn more about my new home while using my past experiences to benefit the community.” She hopes these hikes are just the beginning of an ongoing series of opportunities for youth to engage the environment in fun and interesting ways.

During last week’s hike, students focused their attention on learning the water cycle, understanding the basics of watersheds, and recognizing the characteristics of erosion. Most of the learning was disguised as games and activities, so students were barely even aware that it was happening. “The water cycle becomes much more interesting when it’s learned in a game that involves running, yelling, and hiding,” stated Hane.

Two more hikes have been scheduled with a recent hike on Tuesday, July 9th and another hike on Tuesday, July 23rd. The hikes focus on water creatures and identifying trees of the forest. A few spaces remain for the July 23rd outdoor adventure.

For full details, go to: https://crescentlakeassn.weebly.com/raymond-summer-hikes.html or reach out to Hane directly at lhane@rsu14.org











Before the memory fades: Honored Civil War veteran from Windham prepares for his driver’s test

Jason Pride behind the wheel of his Model-T in 1937
By Walter Lunt

Windham’s Jason C. Pride was frustrated over his application for a driver’s license. His word for the situation was “exasperated.” Pride, who at age 96 in August of 1937 and Windham’s last living Civil War veteran, was responding to a new state law, passed that year, requiring all motorists to pass a driving test and, “if the application indicated the need for it,” a physical.

“(My eyesight’s) not so good for reading (but) perfectly all right for ordinary use,” he told a newspaper reporter.

Pride’s nature, however, was one of confidence, determination, creativity and risk-taking.

Due to Pride’s advanced age, the Maine Secretary of State’s office had been foot-dragging on the application, but due to his persistence, he now had an appointment for the following week.

Sitting confidently behind the wheel of his 1921 Model-T Ford at his home in Windham Center, Pride told his interviewer, “I intend to have (a license) this year and every year until I’m a hundred.” He continued, “I’ve been driving since 1902. Back then the Ford was a 2-cylinder affair with the engine under the seat.”

karen.spring@fryeislandtown.orgPride, who spent winters in Florida at the St. Cloud’s Soldiers Colony near Orlando, said he owned a “newer” car there: a 1922 Model-T.

“Both are in pretty good shape, not a scratch on either of the two (cars), so you can see how dangerous I am on the highway.”

Pride was born in East Windham in 1841 and lived a colorful and adventurous life. He served with the 25th Maine Regiment in the Civil War in the defenses of Washington D.C. under Col. Francis Fessenden, the son of Maine’s U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Treasury William Pitt Fessenden.
Following the war, he established a “livery, hacking and boarding stable in Boston,” which he sold for $20,000.

“I lost most of it fooling around with stocks. (Then) I lost the rest gold mining in California.”
Eventually marrying and settling back in Windham, Pride dabbled with patents and inventions.
His daughter, Edith Pride Elliot (The Windham Eagle – June 21, 2019), seemed disappointed that her dad elected not to pursue a patent on a nifty little device he’d invented that was used for shelling beans. She demonstrated the contrivance for the interviewer, a converted clothespin into which a sharp pin had been inserted.

And that physical and driver’s test? History fails to reveal whether the ostentatious old soldier passed or failed. According to the Maine Secretary of State’s office and State Archives, driving records from that far back have not been kept. So, we’re left with our knowledge of Pride’s confidence and determination, which may suggest he was probably successful.

We do know that Pride did not drive until he was “a hundred.” He died the following year, 1938, the year of Windham’s bicentennial when he was honored as Windham’s oldest citizen. One town official noted, “Both father and daughter have contributed greatly to the making of Windham.”

Jason Pride is interred in Windham’s Smith Cemetery. 


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Preparing for an Allagash Wilderness Waterway adventure: Part two

Getting ready for the adventure
By Craig Bailey

The Windham Eagle Reporter and Registered Maine Guide, Craig Bailey, recently returned from an excursion on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW). This is the second article in a three-part series on the topic. If you missed the first part you can read it online at: frontpage.thewindhameagle.com/2019/06/the-allagash-wilderness-waterway.html

There are many factors to consider when planning an adventure on the AWW to achieve a safe and enjoyable journey. The basic objectives are ensuring everyone remains warm, dry, fed and hydrated. This should not be taken lightly, as once the journey begins there is no opportunity to obtain forgotten items or replenish provisions along the way. Being completely self-sufficient for the duration of the trip is essential. Think of it as camping without a safety net.

https://www.theplayhousekids.com/First, one must determine the absolute necessities. The importance of this cannot be overstated since canoe space is limited and gear will be handled numerous times daily. This includes loading/unloading canoes, lugging to/from campsites as well as portaging (carrying around unpassable river obstacles). One must also plan for contingencies such as delays due to weather, or other mishaps that may occur.

Logistics require the most advance coordination.

A trip on the Allagash begins at one of many access points, where the adventurous group is dropped off with gear and provisions for the multi-day excursion. From there, plans must be in place to ensure transportation is at the other end, so the group can get home. This is accomplished by engaging one of a few shuttle service-providers.

The options include: driving one’s vehicle over miles of rough, dirt, logging roads, to the put-in point and having the shuttle service drive the vehicle back, over rough roads, to the take-out point at the end of the Allagash River. Alternatively, one can drive their own vehicle over paved roads to St. Francis. Here the gear, provisions and group are transferred to the shuttle service-provider, who then drives their vehicle over the rough roads to the put-in, ensuring the group’s vehicle is ready at the end-point of the journey.

http://www.theroofdoc.com/The required gear includes typical camping equipment for cooking, eating and sleeping. 

Quality and durability are key to ensure the equipment stands up to the abuse it will take. That said, it is not necessary to spend a fortune as many items can be obtained at Walmart. 

While the excursion is in the middle of the woods, ready-cut, split and dried firewood is not to be expected unless a kind traveler left some behind during their visit to a particular campsite. Therefore, it is necessary to bring a machete and ax to cut and split wood at each campsite as well as multiple methods of starting a fire, each stored in separate, waterproof containers.

Other recommendations include a sleeping bag, rated 20 degrees less than the coldest temperature expected, and a tent that won’t leak in the rain, with space to hold personal gear.

To transport the group and gear along the waterway, 20’ Old Town XL Tripper canoes are recommended for the space, stability, and durability to take the beating they will sustain.
In addition, one must prepare for emergencies, the ability to self-rescue is a must. This includes carrying first-aid for minor cuts and abrasions, along with a trauma kit and satellite phone for severe injuries or mishaps that may occur.

http://www.windhammaine.us/Finally, one should not consider embarking on such an adventure without a map of the waterway, detailing campsites, ranger stations, rapids, and other points of interest.

Provisions (food and consumables) are the next area of consideration. 

Food should consist of tasty, nutritional meals and snacks to keep energy levels up for the duration of the excursion. In addition to bringing more than enough food to be consumed on the waterway it is important to carry a day’s extra in the event a mishap or inclement weather causes the group to stay an extra night in the wilderness.

Items that can be frozen serve as ice packs for the coolers. This includes meats and liquids, and anything that can be prepared and frozen in advance. Other perishables should be acquired one or two days in advance of departure.

To ensure everyone remains hydrated each should bring a high-quality water purification system. This enables the group to obtain, purify and consume water directly from the river, significantly reducing the load to be transported.

Finally, freshness of food, and cleanliness of cooking and eating gear is key to ensuring no-one falls ill while in the middle of nowhere.

Clothing, personal hygiene and related items are largely a matter of personal preference. 

Assume the worst-possible weather. To battle moisture-retention, nylon, long-sleeved shirts and pants are recommended. Light-colored clothing makes it easy to spot ticks and other insects, as well as generally being cooler. In addition, DEET-based insect repellent is required and for those especially sensitive to bugs, a headnet.

To protect oneself from the sun, a large-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunblock are a must.

Packing gear and provisions in such a way as to minimize the moving parts is the next step.

Each individual’s personal gear should be limited to what can fit into no more than two 40-liter drybags and a small backpack. All other gear must be packed into durable totes and coolers that can be sealed to ensure no entry of water should it rain, or a canoe capsizes. Packing gear into totes and coolers designated for tools, pantry, non-perishable and perishable food ensures things can easily be found.

Final pre-trip preparations can now be handled. 

http://windhampowersports.com/To start, one must become familiar with the AWW rules and regulations, found online. If anyone plans to fish this includes acquiring a license to do so. Carrying several hundred dollars of cash is required to cover Northwoods access, road-use, camping fees and other expenses incurred at establishments that don’t accept credit cards.

The final step is documenting and sharing a float plan with a responsible party who will remain behind and alert authorities if the group isn’t heard from at predetermined points of time. A float plan includes: the name and contact information of each individual, their emergency contact, dates of planned departure and return, the planned route, the watercraft involved, and other pertinent details.
With preparations complete, the group is ready to enjoy an off the grid, Northwoods adventure.
The final article will cover the AWW experience.

Craig Bailey is a Registered Maine Guide and owner of Maine Adventures, LLC. To learn more visit: www.MaineAdventuresLLC.com.

“Silver Lunches” provided for older adults at Saint Joseph’s College

The Institute for Integrative Aging, part of the Sebago Center at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, recently hosted the first Silver Lunch of the summer. Sixty-six older adults from the community came together for social interaction and a local, healthy meal. Each Wednesday through August 14th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Silver Lunches are provided in the beautiful Stone Barn on the Sebago Lake campus. 

Chef Mary Paine prepares an amazing three-course farm-to-table dining experience with fresh ingredients from local farms. “I love this community,” said Chef Paine, “I was born in Portland and raised my family in Limington. People around here have been helping me my whole life and making great lunches for the older community is one small way I can say ‘Thanks!’” 

Heather DiYenno, Director of the Institute for Integrative Aging, said, “We are aware that older adults in rural Maine—and everywhere—face the challenge of social isolation as they age. It is our intent to combat this form of loneliness, and Silver Lunches are intended to be a fun way to gather and build our community of older adults.”

Consistent with the leadership role Saint Joseph’s College plays in the state, the Institute for Integrative Aging is committed to creating events that will enhance social connectivity and build a stronger sense of community—addressing needs of Maine’s growing population of older adults. 

Silver Lunches, along with our other activities and programs at the Sebago Center, are open to the public. The Sebago Center is an initiative of the College designed to actively and intentionally welcome the broader community to the campus to help achieve the strategic goal of diversifying the College community and leveraging campus assets in support of the region.

Please visit sebagocenter.org/aging/ site for Silver Lunches tickets and more information pertaining to the Institute for Integrative Aging at the Sebago Center and the many ways we are building a stronger, more sustainable future for our community. 

Saint Joseph’s College recently launched the Institute for Integrative Aging (IIA)—a center for research, unique cross-generational learning opportunities, and community-centered programs and activities geared towards wellness, social engagement, and longevity. The IIA’s first initiative was partnering with Tivity Health, bringing SilverSneakers®, a nationwide health program, focused on adults 65 years and older, to campus earlier this year.

Schoolhouse Arts Center makes it rain on stage

By Neil Ruecker

Once again, Schoolhouse Arts Center in Standish prepares to push the limits of community theater to new heights as they celebrate their 30th year of live theater and education in our community. On July 11, the Schoolhouse will present the classic musical “Singing in the Rain” which will include a rollicking dance number performed in the midst of an indoor rain storm. 

Last week, after months of planning and designing, the cast of about 25 sat breathless in the theater as pumps whirred and water filled pipes high above the stage and suddenly rain began to fall indoors at a rate of 18 gallons per minute. The whole cast broke into applause as their expectations were finally met. 

After months of exhausting rehearsal, they have mastered humorous dialog, great musical numbers, and impressive dance routines.  But, it would all come to naught unless set designer, Collin Lemont was successful in making it rain. Now they are ready. “Singing in the Rain” will be performed for three weekends from July 11 through 28. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. 

Under the inspired leadership of new Artistic Director, Zachariah Stearn, the Schoolhouse has been successfully exploring new horizons in community theater. In April, they entertained record crowds with the uproarious comedy, “Noises Off”, which required Lemont to construct a 24-foot wide two-story stage that could be rotated twice during each performance. Audiences often chose to spend intermissions watching stage crew rotate the huge set. 

https://bbcultivation.com/And once again, the Schoolhouse is ready to astound local audiences with new technical accomplishments.  “We want our 30th year to be really special,” stated Schoolhouse President, Cristina McBreairty. “We are hoping to raise the bar and bring our community a level of entertainment that they haven’t seen before.” 

The Schoolhouse Arts Center was started in 1989 by retiring Broadway director Hank Beebe and his wife Nancy of Portland. They bought the Standish High School building and converted into a non-profit organization dedicated to be a local educational organization where members of our community could experience live theater and explore new skills. “’Singing in the Rain’ will offer actors, director, and crews a new challenge,” McBreairty said.  “And it will bring our audiences a new level of entertainment that they have not experienced.”

“Getting it to rain on stage is only half of the battle,” stated Stearn. “We also have to get rid of many gallons of water that land on the stage and keep front rows of the audience from getting wet in the process.” 

Patrons sitting in the two front rows of each performance will be issued rain ponchos and warned that they will be sitting in the splash zone. Crews will take advantage of intermissions to clear the results of an indoor rainstorm from the stage and prepare for the elaborate dance routines that follow. 

This is destined to be a live stage show that you don’t want to miss!  Tickets are already on sale at www.SchoolhouseArts.org and they are selling fast. Adult tickets are $19, seniors or students are $17 and VIP tickets are $25 (includes special parking, a signed poster, and a tour of the set and rain-making machine). A $2 discount is available by using the coupon code SAC30 when ordering your tickets online before July 9. The Schoolhouse Arts Center is located just seven miles from North Windham or Gorham Center at 16 Richville Road (Route 114) in Standish.