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Sunday, Sept. 10 Members of MSO & Friends of the Franco Center Fundraiser: Several Midcoast Symphony Orchestra musicians and friends who support the Franco Center’s mission work and the performing arts in general, got together and decided they would like to play in a fundraiser for all the good things the Franco Center does in the community. These musicians play in symphony orchestras and other gigs, and we are proud to have them on our stage.
Prices include fees: $20 advance – $25 door. Students 17 and under admitted free with an accompanying adult.
Saturday, Sept. 30 Davidson County Line Band: Davidson County Line is a three-piece band from Central Maine established in 2015. They perform a mix of rockabilly, blues, rock, and country music. All members have over 30 years of experience and the mix of music is a “crowd pleaser.” They will be playing some Johnny Cash! Tickets range from $20 in advance to $25 at the door.
Saturday, Oct. 7 Runnin’ Down a Dream: Tom Petty Tribute: Each musician in the band faithfully replicates the style and feel of a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert, allowing the audience to experience the music of this extraordinary artist. When five veteran musicians from Maine, with local and national experience, play Petty’s music together, the feeling, meaning, and very soul of these songs are undeniable. Tickets range from $25 to $35.
Friday, Oct. 13 Sweet Baby James Tribute: America’s #1 James Taylor tribute artist Bill Griese will perform his acclaimed Sweet Baby James show with a performance that needs to be heard. Griese brings the songs and stories of Taylor in a refreshingly authentic way, using only his spot-on vocals and skillful guitar playing. It’s a natural and respectful homage to an American original. Whether you’re a lifelong or casual JT fan, this show is one not-to-miss. Tickets range from $25 to $35.
Sunday, Oct. 15 Piano Series Duo mundi George & Guli: Concert artist and teacher George Sebastian Lopez with pianist Gulimina Mahamuti will open the 2023-24 Piano Series season with a four-hand concert at the Franco Center at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. The duo explores music for both one piano four-hands and two pianos four-hands in the standard and contemporary repertoire as well as commissioned new works by national and international composers. Students 21 and under admission at no charge; adults $20.
Oct. 19, 20, 21 Fright Night Walk fundraiser: The Franco Center once again transforms its basement into a Halloween-themed scary event complete with costumed actors who will be more than happy to make you scream! Day and night walks. Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Daytime hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Evening hours: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Daytime: $ 10 advance $15 door
Nightime: $15 advance $20 door
Sunday, Oct. 29 Fiddle-icious: Fiddle-icious is a community-based orchestra whose members are determined to preserve the cultural heritage of Maine’s traditional fiddle music, dances, and songs passed down from Scottish, Irish, Quebecois, and Acadian ancestors. 2 p.m. showtime. Doors and cash bar 1 p.m.
Tickets in advance:
Tier 1 at $25 and Tier 2 at $20.
Tickets at the door:
Tier 1 at $30 and Tier 2 at $25.
Friday, Nov. 3 Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom, Malinda Haslett: “The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom” is a program about women composers who established a resistance network in 1941 Paris. “They put themselves at great peril as they were Jewish and they sought to save French music, culture, and lives. Only the music of men at that time is remembered,” said Grammy-nominated soprano Malinda Haslett, the University of Southern Maine’s School of Music leader of the Voice Department. She will be accompanied by Scott Wheatley on piano. Admission is free but seats need to be reserved. There will also be a slideshow accompanying the concert showing the women composers discussed by Haslett. Doors open at 5 p.m. Concert starts at 6 p.m. Free admission but must reserve your seat. Only 428 seats available.
Nov. 9, 10, 11 Bricks & Bridges Comedy Fest: The event is a celebration of laughter, showcasing the growing comedy scene in the Twin Cities. The Franco Center will host the Fest in its beautiful Heritage Hall, a spacious room with tables, comfortable seats, and professional sound and lighting, making it a perfect setting for comedy. Doors open at 6 p.m. each night and show starts at 7 p.m.
$15 in advance
$20 at door
Friday or Saturday tickets
$20 in advance
$25 at door
Friday, Nov. 17 Robert Washington: Elvis & James Brown Tribute Concert: Facebook fans of World Champion Elvis Impersonator, Robert Washington, who is sometimes known as The Black Elvis, say that Washington is “the best Elvis Impersonator on the planet.” Washington is the first black man to win the “Elvis Impersonator World Championship” title, and he did it in the heart of the South: Memphis, Tennessee. Winning that title was a historic event for Washington and other black Elvis impersonators. Washington will also perform some James Brown hits. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door day of show.
Dec. 15, 16 Sights & Sounds of Christmas Variety & Light Show fundraiser: Dozens of performers will sing, dance, act, and produce an energetic and vibrant festive Christmas show complete with an immersive light show. The overall emphasis is to give the feeling of an old-fashioned homestyle Christmas. The matinee show will not have a light show or projection because Performance Hall cannot be darkened during the day. Show producer is Jacob Hodgkin. Friday and Saturday shows. Tickets:
Advance Evening shows
Tier 1 Adults $20 – Kids/Students $15
Tier 2 Adults $15 – Kids/Students $10
Door Evening Shows
Tier 1 Adults $25 – Kids/Students $20
Tier 2 Adults $20 – Kids/Students $15
Tier 1 Adults $15 – Kids/Students $10
Tier 2 Adults $10 – Kids/Students $7
Tier 1 Adults $20 – Kids/Students $15
Tier 2 Adults $15 – Kids/Students $12
Friday, Jan. 26 Piano Men: The Music of Elton & Billy Tribute Concert: This concert is a tribute to the amazing songs of Billy Joel and Elton John. This concert combines a 4-piece pop group featuring Joe Boucher on piano and vocals. The music of “Piano Men” concentrates heavily on the recordings by Elton and Billy during their 1970s heyday. You’ll hear popular songs such as “Your Song,” “My Life,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Movin’ Out,” “Pressure,” and “Rocket Man.” https://www.theirsongs.com/piano-men Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door day of show.
Saturday, Feb. 3 Welcome to Maine comedy show: Maine-based comedians Ian Stuart and James Theberge began filming the Welcome to Maine series in late 2020. As part of the comedy show, Ian portrays Mark and James portrays Troy, fictional Mainers. They were joined by Cousin Luke, portrayed by comedian Paul Hunt in late 2021. Aiming to be both funny and informative, Welcome to Maine blends a mix of updated traditional Maine humor with historical facts and a whole bunch of “yuhts.” Doors open at 6 p.m. Comedy show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door day of show.
Saturday, Feb. 10 Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers: Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers have committed 22 years to sharing the beautiful art of bellydancing with nursing homes and hospitals throughout Maine on a volunteer basis. The dancers spend their summers entertaining at family festivals and charity events region-wide. A Mystical Journey of the Magic Lantern and the Quest of the Golden Veils, A Theatrical Dance Performance is a fundraiser. Cash bar opens at noon. Performance starts at 1 p.m. (Snow date Sunday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m.)
Prices include fees:
Tier 1 Adults $25 advance – $30 door
Students $20 advance – $25 door
Tier 2 Adults $20 advance – $25 door
Students $15 advance – $20 door
Saturday, Feb. 17 Josee Vachon, Franco-American, afternoon concert: Through her music, Josee Vachon will share her Franco American joie de vivre–her joy of living as a Franco American. Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, Vachon has been sharing her Franco American upbringing for over 40 years, through traditional and contemporary folksongs from Quebec and Acadia, as well as her own compositions. Our audiences love her. Cash bar opens at noon. Concert starts at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door day of show.
Saturday, March 9 Magic Bus: The Who Tribute: The Who, one of rock’s most iconic bands, made the charts in 1964 with their hit song, “Can’t Explain.” That was the beginning of their amazing journey. Still performing more than 50 years later, The Who can be heard in commercials, television theme songs and on the radio. Magic Bus, a tribute band based in Portland, Maine, captures the sound and feel of The Who. Let them take you on a tour of the rock band’s discography, covering songs from “My Generation” to “Who Are You.” They also perform select songs from the rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”
Cash bar opens at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m.
Tier 1 $30 advance – $35 door
Tier 2 $25 advance – $30 door
Wednesday, April 3 Windham Chamber Singers: The choir gained international attention in 1996 by winning the Prize of Vienna at the 25th International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria. Since then, they have captured the hearts of audiences everywhere. Their accomplishments have been recognized on the NBC Nightly News and National Public Radio. The Chamber Singers have appeared on CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and in their own prime time holiday special broadcast on WGME TV. The choir has performed at major venues including Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Notre Dame Basilica (Montreal) and the White House. Cash bar opens at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets: Pay what you can $5 – $20
Friday, April 5: Studio Two: The Beatles Tribute: Band members are experienced musicians of today’s generation dedicated to preserving the memory and fan culture of The Beatles generation. By recreating the Fab Four’s music, appearance, instruments, and onstage banter, Studio Two performs favorite Beatles hits that will bring people to the dance floor. They return to the Franco Center by audience request. Cash bar opens at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door day of show.
Sunday, April 7: Bob Marley Comedy Show featuring Maine humor and audience engagement. He asks the audience questions and then has fun with their answers. If you’re sitting in any seat, you might get called on! Bob usually brings a comedian to open the show, too.
Cash bar opens at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Advanced $44.00 (includes fees)
At the door if available $49.00 (includes fees)
Saturday, July 13: Heather Pierson Trio: Heather Pierson is a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, song leader, and performer whose inspiring live performances and growing catalog of releases delve into Americana, blues, New Orleans jazz, vocal chants, instrumental piano, and folk. Heather’s sound is evolving once again with her current trio, with Shawn Nadeau on bass and Craig Bryan on drums, performing her equal-parts-New-Orleans-Oscar-Brubeck piano leanings. This trio performs a rich variety of Heather’s originals, jazz and blues standards, and unique reworkings of familiar classics. They are also known for their beloved annual Charlie Brown Christmas tour, wherein they present their interpretations of the work of the late great jazz pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi. Cash bar opens at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door day of show.
THURSDAY NOON TUNES La Rencontre Series: This quarterly event is open to everyone and is meant for the community of Franco-American and French-speaking families in the area to reconnect with each other and with their neighbors of diverse cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Meals and stories are shared, friends are reunited, and memories are made. Governor Janet Mills, Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline, and Marie-Claude Francoeur of Quebec Delegation Boston are all regular attendees, usually the June event. Funded in part by FACE Foundation, TV5 Monde, and Quebec Delegation Boston.
Tickets are $17 and must be purchased by the Monday before the day of show so that we know how many lunches to prepare. Tickets are not sold at the door. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. followed by 45 minutes to an hour of entertainment.
Books & Stories Series at noon. Free admission. The Books and Stories program is a simple format of hosting an author who will read from his/her book, have books available for purchase and signing, and follow up with engagement between author and audience through questions and comments. Buy your books ahead at Quiet City Books, Amazon or other online book stores. The program brings people together of all ages and backgrounds to explore and share ideas about culture, heritage, and historical identities through book signings and author talks and storytelling events with authors and storytellers. Funded in part by the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Arts Commission.
Sept. 13 Suzanne Roy, author of “The Enclave” and “The Legacy.” “The Enclave” A French-Canadian immigrant girl attempts to keep her dreams alive as she grows into womanhood in the “Little Canada” enclave her culture created to protect itself from the American melting pot. Her journey toward self-discovery and self-determination is one that women of all cultures are still struggling to complete.
“The Legacy” In this stand-alone sequel to the historical novel THE ENCLAVE, a Franco-American woman in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine, struggles to complete the journey toward self-discovery and self-determination she began as a French-Canadian immigrant girl in Lewiston’s “Little Canada.”
About the author: Suzanne, a retired independent compliance consultant, taught English at University of Maine Orono from 1972 to 1974 and later taught writing as a member of the adjunct faculty of UMA. She wrote the bilingual children’s television series “La Bonne Adventure” in the mid 1970s, did Franco American research housed at USM, taught a local history class at St. Dom’s in 1980, and wrote several plays about Franco Americans, two of which were produced and won awards in Australia. Suzanne is a native and resident of Lewiston and is currently working on her third historical novel.
Sept. 27 David Vermette, author of “A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife.” In the later 19th century, French-Canadian Roman Catholic immigrants from Quebec were deemed a threat to the United States, potential terrorists in service of the Pope. Books and newspapers floated the conspiracy theory that the immigrants seeking work in New England’s burgeoning textile industry were actually plotting to annex parts of the United States to a newly independent Quebec. Vermette’s groundbreaking study sets this neglected and poignant tale in the broader context of North American history. He traces individuals and families, from the textile barons who created a new industry to the poor farmers and laborers of Quebec who crowded into the mills in the post-Civil War period. David Vermette is a writer, researcher, editor, and a speaker on Franco-American history and identity. He is originally from Massachusetts.
Oct. 4 Paul Dionne, “The Priestess and the Pope” and new “Madeleine’s Inquisition.” Both books have the basic theme that the religious subordination of one sex to the other is wrong. About the author: Paul Roger Dionne was born in Lewiston, Maine, and graduated from Lewiston High School and Kents Hill Preparatory School where he played hockey and baseball. He then graduated from Providence College where he received his bachelor’s degree in history followed by a commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-1968). He saw action in Vietnam. After his discharge, he returned to Maine and attended the University of Maine Law School where he received a Juris Doctorate degree. He practiced law in Maine, and was elected as Mayor of Lewiston (1980-1984).
SCROLL THROUGH OUR CALENDAR for events at the Franco Center produced by other organizations! CLICK HERE