Knapp’s Music Center (a downtown milestone)

When a monolithic event occurs, many times a memorial of sorts is erected, a standing ovation to its own accomplishments. It may be a statue, a building wing named after its benefactor, or a simple park bench. However, there are times when the icon speaks for itself. Such is the longstanding reign of Knapp’s Music Center. It has kept music alive in the area since 1952 with the avid learning of musical instruments through lessons, sold sheet music in its many varied forms to aid those who wish to mimic the original masters, and repaired countless instruments to their natural and original clarity. Nearly the oldest standing monumental store open to the public in the greater downtown area of its time. Dan, the owner, operator, and master repairman has given us insight into his humble beginnings. It had originally opened as merely a sales store to grant those promising musicians access to the sound of their choice. Knapp’s had simply expanded into repair once an assistant or apprentice had made his way into this world of music. Then after parting ways, Dan took on the mantle of repair in a self taught and not so easy task of learning every instruments ailment like a musical doctor. And since then he has maintained this outlet to the public at large. There are many choices to be made here. One can take lessons, purchase instruments, or simply have an old friend repaired and come back to life at the hands of its shopkeeper. A true monument to the business world of endurance.

Idomeneo from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

   In the midst of the Trojan war, a daughter of royalty fancies a prince who is doomed in his not too distant future unbeknownst to him. There are kind gestures of good will peppered about though the fathers in power are enemies. There is however, a hope to return to peace. The Greek kings jealousy of the clemency granted towards prisoners causes his passions of hate to flare. The furies of the hades are dreaded to be unleashed. Idomeneo is rescued by Neptune, god of the sea and brought to safety. Idomeneo realizes that the pending sacrifice entails him to surrender his own son for the ritual. Horrified, he flees into exile causing terrible grief to his beloved. A major battle against a monstrous serpent ensues. A broken love, a loss of a son, a blessing to restore a loving couple and peace to the land all fall into place in this endearing tale. Come see it for yourself on March 25th at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Paper Maker” by Monica Wood

 In a small city somewhere between somewhere and nowhere lies a paper mill in distress. However, this finely tuned business has come to a clash with it’s life’s blood…the workers, whose very hands are the heart of the industry in which it runs. It appears that management ,  ownership, and the many hands that keep it in motion disagree on some of the more integral portions that will ultimately decide if money or survival will triumph. The company itself exists as a benefactor for the working class and a sense of pride for the captains of industry. Eventually, the executive sees for himself just how this growing animosity between them truly affects the very existence of these people. They no longer merely remain the hands and feet propelling paper through the machines, they are now living beings suffering as a result of disagreement with no compromise in sight. When they meet entirely by accident, or unless providence moved its mighty hand, offering both parties, even within the bitter battle of a strike, an odd form of compassion grows from both sides remembering the forgotten workers who held the mill together. Delving deeper we see an inner quadrangle of personal difficulties begin to heal as a father and daughter come to see love perhaps for the first time, and the loss of a beloved wife to a loving husband enters into acceptance as his remaining days with her become more important than the strike and the prideful arrogance ensued against the industrial machine, even building her an arc to show his love for her. An endearing story unleashing ones truest feelings in the midst of crisis when we are all called to see what is most important in our lives.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

La Traviata from the Met at the Grand Autitorium in Ellsworth Maine

     The masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi, originally entitled Violetta, engages in lovers adoration raging from afar at lavish parties, drinking songs, celebrations, and of course the unrequited love of another. Violetta falls ill one evening, leaving the party with promises of seeing her lover again. A vow not taken lightly from her gentleman friend. She rests comfortably sometime in the not so distant future at a beautiful country house surrounded by a happy existence interrupted threats, left to weeping alone, drowning in her uncontrollable sadness by having to choose between her love and her family. There are Baron’s and duels, denouncements and sacrifices, followed by a storm of tragedy with a chance of death. See it happen on March 11 at 12:55 p.m. at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

 

Rusalka from the Met at the Grand Auditorium Ellsworth Maine

rscn3212_1254   rusalkaDvorak’s mystical journey delves into the mythical, near supernatural encounter with his highly imaginative escapade from a fairy tale like perspective. She treads upon the world in which she lives to enter a realm of love, unbeknownst to her that her own longing for such a prize will not only enchant her, but will also cause her pain and sorrow. Rusalka longs for these wondrous gifts, yet, finds only rejection at its core. Seeking redemption she thrusts herself deeper than she ever imagined into an embroiled path, misguided and lost, only to find that love and tragedy are forever intertwined where the heart is concerned. See the spectacular event on February 25th at 12:55 p.m. at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine from the Met.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Lumberjacks in Love” (they’re lumberjacks and they’re ok)

fscn1061_1668    Prepare yourself for a collision between Monty Python’s Flying Circus and modern day vaudeville in the midst of a time space continuum with a tumult of emotion peppered with fear of commitment throughout. A wonderful production skillfully prepared with the typical lumberjack testosterone flowing not so freely at times, and yet love conquering the hearts of even the most confirmed woodsmen. Lyrics and music compliment the sincere acting abilities as well as the amazing dance routines popping out at the most opportune times with laughter in abundance tailing the whole play. These “Shanty Boys” who have become “Lumberjacks in Love” being touched by the “Winds of Morning” are nothing more than a “Buncha Naked Lumberjacks” followed by a “Little Black Raincloud” with one of them hoping that “Someday I Will Be Clean” during a “Bachelors Prayer” understands “I only Have a little Time” and that “I Think I’m in Love with the Kid” waiting once again for “The Winds of Morning” knowing full well “It Would Be Enough For Me” even though a “Little Dress” leads to “Stupid, Stupid Love” becoming “Shanty in the Pines” making for “Happy Lumberjacks” who now know for sure that “It Would Be Enough for Me” in reprisal mode. Primo singing, dancing, and spirituous music are a complete recipe for a great play. So chop down trees, eat your lunch, and go to the lavatory.

Written by John D’Alessandrofscn1069_1671

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Maine Military Supply, Inc. (safety and education as your best weapon)

rscn1020_1622   Our world has changed. We’ve come a long way from leaving our doors unlocked when we lay down our heads at night. It’s become a world of security systems, codes, neighborhood watches, and rottweilers. And yet, bad things still happen. We’re practically forced to take advanced measures to protect our loved ones, and the things we’ve worked so hard for to merely have them taken away by some miscreants who simply won’t abide by the laws of the land. One step further would be to exercise our second amendment constitutional right to bear arms. Nothing is without responsibility, and learning how to use, maintain, and correctly fire a firearm is key to that understanding. Fortunately we have in our midst a most responsible institution in Maine Military Supply located in Holden Maine. fscn0983_1628  In our conversation with owner, Frank Spizuoco, we discovered the stores origins from humble beginnings, growing into a place which serves its community in every facet of the business they are in. In fact, sales and statistics strongly indicate that gun sales have not only increased, but are shared by people of all walks of life including women where even manufacturers have begun creating designs for guns catering to that population in colors and styles and ease of operation. All the while Maine Military has kept education, caution, and safety as a precursor to gun ownership. Our instructor, Tim, who was more than gracious to us with valuable knowledge and step by step instructions as to the mechanics, viable shooting details, and maintenance of the weapon exercised patience and ability to novices such as ourselves. His verbal and hands on instruction quickly built our confidence in handling and executing proper shooting. fscn1000_1644 Maine Military Supply provides a safe firing range, all the products you would ever need, and a weapon specifically suggested to meet your requirements. Whether for hunting, protection, or enjoyment, Maine Military soars above and beyond your expectations.

fscn1018_1660   Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro