The community music center 317 Main, at that address in Yarmouth, celebrated its 20th anniversary May 17 with the “Platinum Edition” of its annual house party, raising $59,000 to support educational programs.

A year after the center’s expansion and grand opening of the new concert and event venue called Founders Hall, nearly 200 people attended the sold-out anniversary celebration, wearing “platinum record” nametags. A cocktail party in the garden and lobby was followed by an auction and live music by pianist Mesa Shubeck and folk band Yard Sauce, showcasing the acoustics in Founders Hall.

“The expansion doubles the center’s capacity to teach music and allows for more opportunities to share music as well,” said Executive Director John Williams. “We have over 800 people enrolled in programs and more than 40 of the best teaching artists in the Northeast. You know, many people think this is a Yarmouth thing, but people from 41 towns come here. About 30 percent are from Yarmouth.”

In addition to lessons for all ages, 317 Main offers ensembles, various styles of drop-in jams in the in-house cafe, a Django club, contra dances, concerts, and partnerships with schools.

“I can bring my daughters to a lesson or Little Roots, grab a coffee in the café and see other members of the community,” said board member Emily Muther of Yarmouth.

Evan Weston of Harpswell learned to play the double bass here in his 50s – and found a community that supports him as he fights cancer. “I’ve been welcomed into this family,” he said. “The combination of music and 317 Main is incomparable.”


“It’s a music school but so much more,” said Tanuja Desai Hidier, who has been a member of Local Vocals and a ukelele group. “It’s a place to play together and share music.”

Her husband has taken guitar and drum lessons, her older daughter is learning mandolin, and her younger daughter is studying fiddle.

“Even if you come in feeling a bit low, you leave standing a little bit taller,” Hidier said. “There’s an intrinsic joy in music.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: