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Sally Bouchard

A New Cultural Center in Millinocket
By Sally Bouchard
Mar 17, 2006 - 3:55:00 PM

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With high unemployment, lowering wages, and rising costs for food, fuel and eveything else going up, $900,000 cultural center isn't exactly what Millinocket needs.

Millinocket has been rich in talent for many years, with artists and musicians. We didnít have a cultural center then, but still we all enjoyed what Millinocket had to offer in this great talent.

We've had band concerts at the park. They were for all ages and the bands were made up of students, as well as men and wome of all ages who enjoyed giving their music to the town.

We've had art displayed at the library, the artists ranging from children from the grade school to artists who have been out of school for years.

We had the Millinocket Players, who would put on plays for the public. We didnít have a theater, but we do have a great auditorium at the high school.

Any child who wanted to learn how to play an instrument could find someone who would teach him, and some of the teachers did it out of their homes.

For many years, Millinocket had a great marching band, made up of the many students who took up instruments in school. They performed at football games and marched in all of the parades that Millinocket had, for a variety of holidays, from Labor Day to the 4th of July parade.

But there are no more concerts at the park. There is no longer a marching band at the parades. We no longer have the Millinocket Players. It isnít that the town wouldnít support them, but that the people stopped getting involved in the effort and without people you cannot have plays, marching bands or concerts at the park.

Our Recreation department had after school activities and Millinocket has had teen centers. These were dropped because there werenít enough children who were interested in going. The teen center closed because of too much disruptive behavior from the teens.

Still, there are arts and cultural events in Millinocket. Most of them are at the great auditorium at Stearns High School. The last event there was a full house - the variety show put on by the Millinocket Hospital staff.

Plays and musicals are also put on at the auditorium by the students at Stearns. Culture is alive in Millinocket and the citizens of Millinocket turn out and appreciate all that is done.

Millinocket has the Philharmonic which puts on a very nice event before Christmas. The Philharmonic has been in Millinocket for years and like everything else, the people are getting older and the group is getting smaller.

Millinocket has a historical society that was formed over twenty years ago. The people who started it worked very hard to get items for this museum and they were all volunteers. They wanted to preserve the history of their town for the younger generations.

Some of the people of the Millinocket Historical Society have been working to be able to open the museum to the public again. It is under lock and key, as security is an issue for all museums and, to many of us, the items in the museum are valued for the memories they bring, not how much money we might be able to make off these items.

If the people want to donate their money, they should support their museum and for $900,000 we could have a very nice home for all the items that we have, plus we would have enough money to preserve the items we have and acquire additional pieces.

We, the people of Millinocket, want to protect and preserve our history. We are volunteers and none of us expect to get paid $46,000 to do it. It is our history and we are proud to be part of what Millinocket was and to remember all of the great people that made up our community.

For over a hundred years, Millinocket has had culture, yet now we have people from away telling us that we donít. We didnít have a cultural center before, nor do we need one now, and certainly not a 900,000 dollar one.

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