A group representing various aspects of the local music scene is gathering regularly at Museum L-A to help plan a three-year, six-series exhibit highlighting the rich history of music in the Twin Cities and how it has shaped the community—then and now.
The series, titled “The Power of Music,” will launch in late July with “The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and their Musical Instruments, 1860-1915” and will continue chronologically with five more exhibits through April 2015.
“Delving into our oral histories for inspiration, we have learned about the importance of music not only for individuals but for the whole community,” said Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A’s executive director. “Music is collective and communal. It is a connector between generations, as well as an industry that brings and binds people together, fitting right in with the museum’s mission.”
On Thursday, January 19, Desgrosseilliers and committee introduced the exhibit series to a group of music-related organizations and individuals. “We are looking for partners to work with us to make this a community-wide celebration of our music history,” Desgrosseilliers said.
A Timeline building from 1860 to the present will unfold as the series moves forward. Research will highlight the various genres of each era, music-related technological developments, popular instruments, dance, food and current events to provide context. Plans are under way for students of the Bates College Music Department to begin work on researching material to be included.
The exhibit opening July features subjects with an amazing array of instruments and conveying a sense of pride and accomplishment—as well as a love for music. It is part of a national tour containing 61 photographic images reproduced from the original card-mounted photos, cabinet cards, tintypes, carte de visites and photographic postcards.
Period instruments and artifacts from local collections will be included in each exhibit, along with programming and events reflecting each time period and theme. “We are looking to partner with a variety of local performance venues, musicians and cultural organizations to make this a community-wide celebration,” Desgrosseilliers said. “This exhibit goes beyond music since music is a universal language that reaches deep into the human spirit to create an esprit de corps, create a common bond and inspire creativity. This is especially important at a time when both communities are focusing on continued revitalization.”
In October, the series continues with “The Jazz Age 1916-1930,” followed in March 2013 with “The Way We Worked,” a travelling exhibit from the Smithsonian. “Echoes in Time 1930-1970” follows from May 2013 through January 2014 covering the Big Band Sound and rock ’n’ roll, then “Instrument Manufacturing” from February to early May.
The exhibit will finish with the signature “Portraits and Voices: Music Makers 1971-2015” showcasing our present musical genius. A Heritage Festival and Musical Flash Mob special events will celebrate the series and mark its finale.
Members of the committee include: Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Gina Catterson, Susan Beane, Diane Williams and Joan Beal of Museum L-A, Dale Chapman of the Bates College Music Department, Bill Low and Anthony Shostak of the Bates College Museum of Art, Bates College African-American Studies professor Myron Beasley, cultural anthropologist and documentary photographer Mark Silber of the University of Southern Maine, Ed Boucher of EAB International, local musician and music enthusiast Edward Walworth, Jim Brown of Heritage Radio Society, and Ray Michaud of Androscoggin Bank.
Chairing the committee is Kevin Callahan, local art preparatory and member of the Museum’s Board of Directors.
The Museum welcomes donations of photographs related to the history of music in the Lewiston-Auburn area. For example: musicians, music groups, bands, organizations, performances, parades, music halls and other venues. Contact Susan Beane at email@example.com or 333-3881.
Look for future announcements and ways the community can get involved as planning for the series progresses.