The band formerly known as Mama Tried, now Brunswick City Limits. Photo courtesy of Mama Tried

After performing at the Crooker Theater in April, a group of Brunswick High School teachers raised $3,400 in funds for Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.

Brunswick City Limits band features six members: Bill Clarke, a Technology teacher at Brunswick High School who plays the bass; Paul Barron, a Special Education teacher who plays the guitar and sings vocals; Jenny Strout, the school nurse who sings and plays the harmonica; Clark Porter, a Mathematics teacher who plays guitar and sing songs, Pete Hutchinson, a guidance counselor at Lewiston High School who plays the drum and John Parker, an area physician who plays the keyboard.

The “nonprofessional” band was initially called Mama Tried. It started in the 1990s with Porter, Clarke, Barron and Hutchinson, who would get together on Fridays to jam. When Porter and Barron relocated to BHS, they continued playing before John Parker and Jenny Strout joined years later.

“I started playing music with Mr. Porter a long time ago when we were fairly new teachers, ” Clarke said. “We decided to enter a talent show at the high school, and we won the talent show. We have been playing music ever since. It is a creative outlet and a moment of joy for me. I love playing music with my friends.”

He added: “More importantly, raising money to make school more affordable and accessible to the students of the Brunswick community is critical. The fact that we can put on a show as teachers and raise money for students is an absolute honor.”

Porter echoed Clarke’s sentiments.


“It is hard for students financially when trying to advance their education,” he said. “Most of us are in the education field, so we thought it was a natural fit to provide some money to help students further their plans.”

The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund awards scholarships to eligible high school graduates from Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham. They pursue post-secondary education at four-year colleges and universities, trade schools, technical schools, junior colleges, and similar institutions. Since its inception in the 1950s, $9 million have been awarded to local students.

“The cost of a college education is very prohibitive for some families,” Kara Douglas, member of the board of directors for BASAF and chairperson of the development committee, said. “Part of the mission of the student aid fund is to help defray some of that cost so that more people can go on to some type of higher education, whether a career training program or a technical school.”

According to, a website powered by public data from the US Department of Education, Maine’s average annual in-state college tuition was $18,370 for the 2020-2021 academic year. This is $3,450 higher than the U.S. average and ranks Maine amongst the costliest as the 11th most expensive and 42nd most affordable state or district to attend college.

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