Northern School Notebook: March 30

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HMS middle-schoolers use their imaginations

The Classy Clippers, a team of sixth-graders from Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, came in first place at the state Destination Imagination tournament held March 18-19 in Orono.

The students came out on top in a crowded middle school field of six to eighth-graders. They competed in the Show and Tech challenge, in which they designed a stage that could carry a team member across a performance area. The wheeled stage was pulled by an electric motor bolted to a platform. Coupled were two technical effects, one of which was a series of flashing LED bulbs, and the other a silhouette musical performance using a large opaque screen and projector, complete with singing, piano, fiddle and dancing. Over a 22-week period, the students did all the work, including generating ideas, writing scripts, designing brochures, and building the stage and props. They wired the lighting and motor, built the stage and screen, printed a brochure and did the budget for the project. 

They were initially named second at the tournament, but were notified the next morning that a scoring error had occurred, and the Classy Clippers had actually come in first place. The team is now deciding whether to fundraise and go to Tennessee for Global Finals. The team members were Evie King, Stuart Baybutt, John Raymond, Jonny Cody, Darby Brennan, Emily Waaler, and Nate Hagedorn. Coaches were Chris Waaler and Al Raymond. 

Many other teams from Yarmouth competed, and several placed in their categories. At the elementary level, the Jitterbugs and the Spotlights placed second and third, respectively, in Show and Tech; the #Imaginators, Vegan Cows, and Double Trouble placed second, third, and fourth, respectively, in Top Secret; and the Yarmouth Mindcrafters placed third in Vanished. 

Falmouth Middle School Jazz band earns gold 

Falmouth Middle School’s Iron Twinkies jazz band earned gold at the 2017 Maine State Middle School Instrumental Jazz Festival in Division I on March 25 in Millinocket. The band, under the direction of music teacher Jerry Barry, scored 98 out of 100 possible points to earn the highest award presented at the festival, to bands that receive a score of 95 or higher.

Tenor saxophonist Cole Matthews and clarinetist Sofie Matson were awarded the Festival’s Outstanding Musicianship award, presented to the top five student performers in all of Division 1.

Twelve additional individual Falmouth musicians also received Jazz Festival Awards for excellent improvisation, including Matthew Hafener, Kate Kinley, Katie Lamarre, Sophia Lambert, James Leavitt, Joey Lavallee, John Longinetti, Matthew Mitschele, Trevor Neff, John Peelen, Joey Rouhana and Anna Sharp.

Rounding out the jazz band’s roster this year are Paul Calcagni, Vinnie Hanrahan, Shruti Joshi, Max Peters, Aaron Tabenken, Abe Thayer, Pyper Ward and Pema Williams.

The band performed three selections of varying styles for a panel of three judges. The student musicians are adjudicated for their ability to perform stylistically in the jazz idiom. Judging categories include technical merit, artistic merit, solo/improvisation, and programming/presentation, which also includes the degree of difficulty of musical selections performed.

The music performed by Falmouth Middle School included a blues swing tune entitled “Foot Pattin’ Time” by Lou Donaldson arranged by Terry White, the Woody Herman classic ballad, “Early Autumn” arranged by John Berry, and the exciting jazz rock closer “Maximum Impact” by Larry Neeck.

The judges commented that the band’s music was “well played” and performed “with great style and in tune.” They also remarked about the band’s “nice ensemble sound” and called their performance a “super set!” The judges were additionally impressed with the high quality of student jazz improvisations and the large number of soloists in the band.

Iron Twinkies Jazz Band members are selected each December by audition. The band rehearses two mornings a week January through March to prepare for district and state level jazz festivals, as well as numerous school and community performances.

RSU5 high school student art on display

Artwork by Durham, Freeport and Pownal high school students will be on display through the month of April in the Freeport Community Library’s main reading room. The large annual exhibit of mixed-media which showcases the talent of over 70 area youth is sponsored and juried by the Freeport Woman’s Club.

“The artwork on display is a testimony to the exceptional instruction provided by teachers Kim Medsker-Mehalic and Charles Andreson, and the creativity they inspire in their very talented art students,” said Belinda Stewart of FCL. The exhibit can be viewed during normal library business hours found on the library’s website at

Cumberland group to sign anthem at Sox game 

The Sounds of Silence, an American Sign Language program for students in Cumberland, will be performing the national anthem at Fenway Park before the April 12 game between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.

Students in Sounds of Silence learn sign language skills and develop an awareness of deaf culture. The SOS experience includes private lessons taught by the program’s founder, Robin Sidders, as well as classes through the Cumberland Recreation Department. The students have performed the National Anthem for the Maine Red Claws and the Portland Sea Dogs, have given holiday performances at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport, and are appearing on various television stations in a Reny’s commercial.

Durham firefighter completes Officer Academy 

A Durham man was among 26 graduates of Maine Fire Service Institute’s Fire Officer Academy at Southern Maine Community College.

Adam Salve, who serves with Durham Fire Rescue, completed the rigorous training program and graduated from the Maine Fire Service Institute’s Officer Academy to prepare for a leadership role within the local fire department.

A graduation ceremony was held March 18, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The Maine Fire Service Institute is a department of SMCC and provides training and education services to Maine’s firefighters. It is located on SMCC’s Midcoast Campus in Brunswick.

The week-long academy focused on legal issues, budgeting, media relations, conflict resolution and other topics that are part of the job for chiefs and other fire officials. Those who complete the academy meet the training requirements for national fire officer certification through the Pro Board Fire Service Professional Qualifications System, also known as Pro Board.

Falmouth student art featured at State House

Several pieces of artwork by students in Falmouth schools are on display at the State House in Augusta. On April 25 at 2 p.m., First Lady Ann LePage will host a reception in the Hall of Flags to celebrate all of the students featured in this year’s show. Students and their families are invited to attend the reception. The artwork, by students from all over Maine, will be on display through May 31.

Evelyn King and Emily Waaler (in the car), along with Stuart Baybutt, Darby Brennan, John Raymond, Jonathan Cody and Nate Hagedorn, took first place at the Destination Imagination state competition held in Orono the weekend of March 18-19.