The South Portland High School marching band won its 14th consecutive gold medal Nov. 2 at the Maine Band Directors Association’s final competition. Courtesy photo

South Portland marching band wins gold

The South Portland high school marching band won a gold medal at the Maine Band Directors Association’s final competition on Nov. 2, at Sanford High School. The 70-plus member band was led this season by senior drum major Blake Morin, senior assistant drum major Ethan Blier, and senior color guard captain Mia Youells. The 2019 Imagine show was built around music from the movies “Harry Potter,” “How to Train your Dragon,” “Avatar,” and “Lord of the Rings.” From mid-September until Nov. 2, the band traveled and competed in shows in Fairfield, Westbrook, Marshwood, Wells, Old Orchard Beach and Sanford. This is the South Portland High School marching band’s 14th consecutive gold medal (19th overall) under the direction of band director Craig Skeffington.

South Portland Sewing Centre awards International Sewing Month prize

South Portland Sewing Centre is announced Deborah Freedman as a prizewinner for International Sewing Month 2019. She has won a Singer Fashion Mate sewing machine. Freedman registered for the prize drawing during South Portland Sewing Centre’s Sewing Month celebration.

The lucky prize winner’s prize registration slip was chosen at random from thousands of other drawing entries at the VDTA/SDTA in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 18. The association, along with numerous manufacturers in the sewing industry, help sponsor prize giveaways to promote September as International Sewing Month.

International Sewing Month, held each September, is a way for independent sewing dealers to thank current customers for their business and show new customers the quality products and services they can provide.

“It’s always exciting to see one of your own customers win a prize. We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by the store,” said Debbie Clement, South Portland Sewing Centre manager, in a press release. “You’ve made sewing month a success.”

Annual Rotary Christmas tree sale begins

The South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club will receive its first truckload of Christmas trees early on Friday, Nov. 29 and begin sales that same day at 9 a.m. at Mill Creek Park in South Portland.

This is the 58th consecutive year for the club’s major annual fundraiser. The club has ordered in excess of 2,000 Maine-grown trees this year.

Each year since 1962, the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club has sold Christmas trees to raise money for community charitable causes.

“This for us as Rotary, a service club, is a major fundraising event that permits us to support local initiatives in our communities throughout the year,” said Michael Geneseo, the club’s tree sale chairman for 2019. “It it also provides us the opportunity to spread good cheer throughout the area, not to mention high quality trees.”

Rotary President, David Lourie of Cape Elizabeth, said that 100 percent of profits obtained through this sale goes to charity. Because of demand in past seasons, Rotary’s trees will continue to be primarily in the 6-8 foot range. There will also be some in the 5-6 foot category and some 8-10 footers.

Advent wreath-making event set for South Portland

Free gatherings to make Advent wreaths will be held at five different churches in the next week.

Advent is the four-week period leading up to Christmas, a time of preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s birth in which Christians celebrate the way the Lord comes into our lives each day. It is a time of heightened prayer, penance, and preparations.

Advent wreaths traditionally consist of a circle of evergreen branches with four candles, three purple and one pink or rose colored (pictured below). During Advent, candles are progressively lit week by week, beginning with a single purple candle. During the second week, two purple candles are lit, followed by two purple candles and the pink candle during the third week, and then all four candles. The rose-colored or pink candle coincides with the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday), on which the priest also wears pink or rose, is a time of celebration, noting that Advent is nearing completion and Christmas is near.

Individuals and families are invited to come together on Sunday, Dec. 1, to make Advent wreaths and Christmas ornaments at Holy Cross Church, located on 124 Cottage Road in South Portland. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The suggested donation for this event is $10 per individual/family.

The blessing of an Advent Wreath traditionally takes place on the First Sunday of Advent (Dec. 1, 2019) or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent. When the blessing of the Advent Wreath is celebrated in the home, it is appropriate that it be blessed by a parent or another member of the family. To view a blessing from “Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers,” visit A special Advent section has been created on the Diocese of Portland’s website and will be updated throughout November and December with new material. The section includes many useful features and resources including a variety of prayers, blessings, and reflections; downloadable and interactive calendars; giving opportunities at parishes; and event listings for the diocese. The section can be found at

240 Strings Community Concert: At Twilight

The Portland Piano Trio will present a concert on Sunday, Dec. 15 at Mechanics’ Hall. The concert begins at dusk (4 p.m.) and is free, although donations are encouraged. All proceeds to benefit 240 Strings students in their violin, cello, piano, and chamber music studies.

Musicians of the Portland Piano Trio – Tracey Jasas-Hardel (violin), Wayne Smith (cello), and Anastasia Antonacos (piano) – have performed in concert halls around the world, including in New York, Washington D.C., Europe, and China, to name a few. Recognized as “among the city’s must-hear groups” by critic Allan Kozinn, the trio is committed to bringing “energy, understanding, technique, insight, great beauty, humor, impressive ensemble, and shared musical values” to the music they play. Their varied programs feature traditional repertoire alongside newer works. The trio was chosen for a week-long residency two years in a row at the prestigious Avaloch Farm Institute in New Hampshire.

The program will feature the E-Flat Trio by Schubert, written in the twilight of his life, and Night Scenes by Donald Crockett, Los Angeles-based composer and conductor. Crockett is the recipient of a 2013 Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for outstanding artistic achievement, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. He has also received grants and prizes from the Barlow Endowment, Bogliasco Foundation, Copland Fund, Copland House, Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA and many others. His music is published by Keiser Classical and Doberman/Yppan and recorded on the Albany, BMOP Sound, CRI, Doberman/Yppan, ECM, Innova, Laurel, New World, Orion and Pro Arte/Fanfare labels. Deeply committed to education, Donald Crockett is Professor and chair of the Composition Program, director of Thornton Edge new music ensemble and assistant dean for Faculty Affairs at the USC Thornton School of Music, as well as Senior Composer-in-Residence with the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.

240 Strings, founded in 2016, cultivates young minds and hearts by providing free classical music education, while building community along the way. To learn more about 240 Strings or the performers, visit or call 221-2613.