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ORONO – The Collins Center for the Arts is back at it, bringing its usual collection of entertaining and engaging shows to the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.

The CCA – formerly known as the Maine Center for the Arts – has been a major hub for the region’s performing arts ever since the Bangor Symphony Orchestra christened its stage all the way back in 1986. The iconic building has played host to memorable acts large and small over the years, bringing a wonderful variety of arts and entertainment to our area.

The Collins Center is a foundational piece of the region’s cultural community; for over three decades, they have been a key part of the scene, offering quality programming at affordable prices year after year.

Even with the challenges that they – and all arts organizations and venues – have faced over the last two-plus years, the key figures at the CCA, from Executive Director Danny Williams on down, have pushed onward. Despite the obstacles – some new, some longstanding – they have managed to assemble a wonderful variety of music, theater and dance aimed at audiences of all ages. As per usual, the powers that be at the CCA have managed to ensure that there really is something for everyone. No surprise there – accessibility has always been a watchword for the organization.

The slate of performers in the 2022-23 season is a strong one, giving audiences a much more robust set of options than they’ve seen over the past couple of years, both in terms of their own scheduled offerings and their various partnerships.

There’s a lot to see, is what I’m saying.

Published in Cover Story

ORONO – A homegrown Black Bear is taking a shot at the next level after signing a free agent contract following the 2022 NFL Draft.

The University of Maine announced on May 1 that wide receiver Andre Miller has signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants.

It’s a relative rarity for local athletes to make the leap to Division I football at UMaine, but Miller – an Old Town native – not only survived but thrived, becoming an integral part of the Black Bears offense.

Published in Sports

ORONO – A beloved former Black Bear is returning to the men’s basketball team, but this time, he’ll be the one steering the ship.

Chris Markwood was announced as the new coach of the University of Maine’s men’s basketball team. He will be the 23rd to hold that position at the university. While this is his first collegiate head coaching gig, he has plenty of experience on the bench – he has spent the past 16 years as an assistant coach at various DI programs (including a previous stint at his alma mater).

Markwood comes to UMaine from his previous spot at Boston College, where he served as an assistant to this year’s squad. Before that he spent seven years on the staff at Northeastern, serving in a variety of capacities – after this arrival in 2014, he was an assistant coach for four years before being elevated to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator in his final three seasons with the Huskies. The three years prior to his time at Northeastern were spent as an assistant at the University of Vermont.

However, Maine fans will remember Markwood for his time here in the state – both on the floor and on the bench.

Markwood played his high school ball at South Portland High School, where he was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2000. He matriculated at Notre Dame, playing two seasons for the Fighting Irish before transferring to his home state’s flagship university. Markwood played two seasons for the Black Bears and was the team captain in his senior year; he graduated in 2005.

After graduation, he spent six years on the University of Maine coaching staff before leaving for the Vermont job.

It seems like a great hire for the Black Bears, a native Mainer and school alum taking the reins for a program that has struggled to find its way in recent years. Over the course of his coaching career, he has shown himself to be a good tactician and a solid recruiter – he’ll need to utilize both skills to the fullest to maximize the potential of what can admittedly be a tough sell of a situation.

We’ll have to wait and see what Markwood does with this opportunity – it’s his first head coaching gig, and again, UMaine’s program has faced ample obstacles in the past and has plenty looming in its future. But with a talented young coach like Markwood taking the lead, there’s reason for optimism going forward for the Black Bears.

Published in Sports

ORONO – Our history books are filled with the names of those who were first, the intrepid figures who undertook the seemingly impossible in the name of exploration and discovery. But what about the names of those lost along the way?

That’s the underlying question of “Terra Nova,” the current show from the University of Maine’s School of Performing Arts. Written by Ted Tally and directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet and running through Feb. 20, it’s the story of the ill-fated British expedition to the South Pole. The race to be first was ultimately won by the Norwegians, but what these five brave men lost was not just the race to glory, but their very lives.

Adapted from the journals of Robert Scott, the leader of the British expedition, this is a story of what it means to sacrifice everything in the name of knowing the unknown. As these men struggle across a seemingly unending sheet of ice, we’re left to watch as their time slowly, inexorably ticks away. But even as all seemed lost, the one thing that these men never lost … was their courage.

Published in Style

ORONO – There’s something inherently fun about outdoor theatre. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it; it’s more a combination of things. The sun, the fresh air - it just feels like a nice mix with theatre in general and Shakespeare in particular, at least to me. Watching people tell you a story while the sun sets is a heck of a way to spend an evening.

Now, our current circumstances have made it a bit more difficult. Take the University of Maine School of Performing Arts, for instance. Their plan was to present an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will” in the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden on the UMaine campus in Orono. Unfortunately, the ever-changing pandemic dynamics meant that they could not perform for audiences.

Well … not LIVE audiences, anyway.

See, rather than let the situation defeat them, they went ahead and did the show anyway. They’re theatre kids, folks – you’re not going to stop them.

And so, the University of Maine School of Performing Arts is presenting their filmed version of “Twelfth Night” for streaming through May 9. Directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet, the show is available through the UMaine SPA website – just visit www.umaine.edu/spa/tickets and you’ll be on your way. Tickets are $12 for the general public and just $3 for UMaine students.

Published in Style

Teenage pressure is universal. It comes in different forms and flavors for every generation, but every generation must deal with it. And remarkably, for many, the memories of those pressures largely dissipate as we grow older, leaving behind gauzy memories of pleasant vagaries. We forget because it hurts to remember.

Being a teenager is HARD. And in many ways, it has never been harder than it is today.

The demands on their time, the unending deluge of activities and extracurriculars, all in service to a relentless pursuit of what comes next. You have to get the right scholarship to the right school. You have to fill your calendar to bursting, leaving nary a minute unspoken for, all so that you might have a shot at whatever brass ring of higher education you’ve spent the last decade grasping at.

The latest production from the University of Maine School of Performing Arts is a reflection and representation of that struggle. SPA is presenting Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves,” directed by Marcia Joy Douglas; due to COVID-19 restrictions, the show cannot be performed live, but on-demand streaming is available through March 14. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased through the School of Performing Arts website at www.umaine.edu/spa.

The play looks at this omnipresent pressure through the lens of a girls’ soccer team. It is a sharp, darkly funny glimpse at the inner lives of teenagers who have spent their entire existence defined by expectations of the looming future. It is a world where adults are rarely heard and even more rarely seen, leaving the girls to play out all of their hopes and fears alongside one another, even as they play the beautiful game on the field.

Published in Buzz

ORONO - What do you do for an encore if you’re the University of Maine football team, coming off the most successful season in school history? “Elevate The Standard.”

That’s the message that new boss Nick Charlton has preached since he got the job after the departure of Joe Harasymiak to the University of Minnesota.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 11:26

A celebration of statehood at UMaine

ORONO – A big anniversary is looming for the State of Maine.

Specifically, the state’s bicentennial. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until it voted to secede in 1820. Maine was then added to the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise on March 15 of that year, becoming the 23rd state.

As part of the ongoing celebration of that momentous occasion, the University of Maine is playing host to the Maine Statehood and Bicentennial Conference from May 30 through June 1. Through a series of panel discussions, keynote speakers and other presentations, scholars from all over Maine and beyond will delve into the state’s history and what its path to statehood meant both back then and now, two centuries later.

Dr. Liam Riordan is a professor of history at the University of Maine. He is the primary organizer of the conference and was kind enough to answer a few questions for The Maine Edge.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 27 February 2019 13:57

A hack day’s night – Hack AE hits UMaine

ORONO – The University of Maine is preparing to play host to a unique weekend of problem solving.

UMaine is the site for America East Hackathon 2019. Known as Hack AE, the event takes place March 2-3 on the University of Maine Campus in Orono. Scores of students from all over the country will be landing in Orono, primed to use their myriad skills to find unconventional solutions to specific problems.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:26

UMaine football defeats Weber State 23-18

The 2018 Black Bears are boldly going where no UMaine football team has gone before – the FCS semifinals.

They are doing so courtesy of a 23-18 victory over Weber State. The seventh-ranked Black Bears took down the second-ranked Wildcats, thanks in large part to a phenomenal defensive effort and a few opportunistic plays by the offense. The win means that they’ll be heading to the West Coast for another showdown, this time on the red turf (also known as “The Inferno”) of the Eastern Washington Eagles in Cheney, Washington.

The Black Bears won their seventh game in a row with this one; it also marked their seventh consecutive victory when facing a ranked opponent. This UMaine team is one that has no fear and believes that it can play with any team in the country – because they can.

That was certainly the case with Weber State, an excellent team that was handled quite efficiently by the Black Bears.

Published in Sports
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