Kingfield POPS to return for summer 2023

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KINGFIELD – Following community efforts to save the beloved summer concert, the Kingfield POPS is on track for the 19th annual concert on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

On December 1, the board of directors announced their decision to cease the annual summer concert due to a severely depleted board. Members of the community in Maine’s High Peaks region stepped forward to find a way to preserve and continue the POPS, and last week, a new board was voted in to take over the operations of the POPS summer concert and school programming.

Marie Daigle was appointed as the board president and Julia Eggleston stepped in as the vice president. Leslie Norton was appointed to serve as secretary for the board.  Bruce Turcotte, previous treasurer, stayed on with Chris Rushton as his co-treasurer. Shannon Garwich, who joined the board in 2022 and was instrumental in pulling off the concert last summer, remained on the board. In addition, other new and returning board members include Taylor Jordan, Bobby Brown, Polly MacMichael, Annie Twitchell, Jed Nickerson, Michelle Veilleux, Nicola Hanczar, Stephanie Rushton, and Baylis Eggleston as a student representative to the board. 

Newly elected board president Marie Daigle writes, “The Kingfield POPS have been a cherished event that I have shared with my family, young and old, since its inception. Having been raised in an area with a diversity of options for access to the arts, I have greatly appreciated what the POPS bring to this community in terms of the summer event, the school programming and the scholarships for local students. Research shows that those who live long, live well. Ensuring that access to the arts is a critical part of this. In a region with a superior quality of living and a gateway to the great outdoors, I believe with conviction that we must not only preserve what the POPS currently offers to our community, but grow this organization with a vision for the future. I have been a project manager and programming developer within the science education and leadership context, and I believe that with these skills and my passion for ensuring a future for the Pops long term will help us to set goals, and to effectively achieve them.”

Vice president Julia Eggleston shares, “I have a passion for providing cultural and artistic opportunities in under-served regions. I truly see this moment as an opportunity to create a long-term vision for sustainable arts organization in the region.”

Board secretary Leslie Norton says, “I’m excited to join the Kingfield POPS Board as Secretary! My passion for the arts, as well as a background in fundraising, event planning, donor management and stewardship, and bookkeeping, have led me to this role. It’s been wonderful watching the growth of the POPS over the years, from the very first one held in the field now owned by Poland Springs, to a much anticipated and treasured event that is considered by many to be the official kickoff of summer. I look forward to serving the community by continuing to provide access to music through live performances as well as school programming and scholarships.”

Plans are underway to hold the summer concert in 2023. The Bangor Symphony Orchestra has been penciled in for June 24, 2023, and the scenic location at the Kennedy Farm has been secured for the show. Other critical components such as the stage and sound set-up, the fireworks display, and the fields off Salem Road that allow for parking and access to the POPS, have been arranged. While the board will be working throughout the winter and spring to hold the concert, this effort cannot be successful without the support of the community, so please stay tuned for ways to help.

The POPS began in 2003 and has hosted the summer concert annually, with a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition the POPS has expanded to offer school programming in area school districts, both with an instrument repair and loan program and by bringing performers into the schools. 

“I’m honored to be considered for the position of liaison between the school district and the Kingfield POPS,” newly appointed School Program Liaison Jed Nickerson writes. “As a special education teacher I will bring my classroom management styles and established contacts within the district to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with which to pursue an expansion of music appreciation throughout the community.”

Visitors come from across the United States to this event, which showcases regional musicians, youth performers, and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in a unique venue: a large field nestled at the foot of Mount Abraham in Kingfield. Picnics, lawn chairs, and yard games are encouraged, and with free admission for youth seventeen and under, the concert is a fun-filled evening for families from Franklin County and beyond. 

The Kingfield POPS provides visual and performing arts experiences through a local vibrant arts environment enhancing both quality of life and economic growth while celebrating our heritage, our families and all that life has to offer.

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