Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 7 : Winter 2011 - Page 19

The Why of It Staging a production for the community is an outstanding experience, but as one can see, it takes a lot of work to provide the quality that the Presque Isle Community Players stands for. There are many varied reasons why the performers put all the effort into their work. One point of view from Elaine Moody is, “…Where else can I join with fellow music lovers to entertain and possibly inspire others in my community? These people are important to my sense of belonging in my community and to my desire to serve others in my community.” Martha Grant agrees, stating that, “it’s a great way to meet people and to give to the community – and the community must like it because they keep coming to the performances!” Linda Chalou joined because “I needed a little dose of “simplicity and joyful noise” in my life… I found it! It’s prayerful, uplifting, and embracing. Whether a performer or a listener of the performance, the music will cultivate goodness in each one.” Another point of view is stated by Melbourne Smith. He says, “Watching sports and news after a day’s work only takes you so far. Bonding with live people over songs fills me with a lot more joy than watching others do an end-zone dance.” Not only does personal satisfaction play a huge role in the motivation of the performers, but a sense of community and community service complete the picture. Early Productions The first music revue, A Celebration of Irving Berlin, was staged in the fall of 1989 at the Northeastland Hotel. The public’s enthusiastic response suggested that The Players had, indeed, found a niche that needed filling. In the spring of 1990, they performed two one-act plays: An Episode in the Life of An Author and A Thurber Carnival. Other early productions included Nunsense, You Can’t Take It With You, A Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Love Letters, 25 Years of the Great White Way, God’s Favorite, and Popcorn and Matinee Memories. Musicals In 2007, The Players staged their first full Broadway musical, The Music Man, with Jeff Ashby and Sherry Sullivan in the lead roles. The response was tremendous. The winter of 2008 saw Annie being staged, again to near capacity audiences, with the lead roles performed by Hannah Stoutamyer (Annie), Rodney Thompson (Daddy Warbucks), and A Celebration of American Folk Music. The audience was treated to, and often participated in a variety of songs, from the rousing welcome of Walk Right In, Sit Right Down to the softness of Turn, Turn, Turn. Spiritual folk songs such as Rock My Soul and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands were included, as well as Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song, performed by Melbourne Smith. Of course, a feast of folk music would not be complete without a serving of Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley and This Land Is Your Land. When the Saints Go Marching In, dedicated to founding member Margaret Coffin rounded out the first half, and If I Had a Hammer began the second half in recognition of those who have and continue to serve our country. L’acadie, an Acadian folk song written by newcomer Lin Chalou was performed by its composer. And, of course, what’s folk music without some comedy, so Cissy Libby and Rod Thompson protested and parodied with The Ode to the Little Brown Shack and Be Prepared. Oliver is tentatively sche