May 25, 2018
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Families shake, rattle and roll counting up to new year

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — “What does it take to make you shake?” the Flannery Brothers sang on the baseball diamond inside the Maine Discovery Museum.

The obvious answer was just some good ol’ rock ’n’ roll as youngsters jumped up and down, twirled around and shook the New Year’s noisemakers they had made earlier in the day.

Families gathered in the late afternoon Thursday at the museum as part of the city’s annual Downtown Countdown. The events, many of them musical, were scheduled from noon to midnight Thursday at 14 venues.

Alexis Moran, 4½, danced while her grandparents Jim Horan and Beth Woodson, of Dixmont, watched in a room devoted to baseball at the museum in the former Freese’s Department Store.

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The girl was too bashful to say what she had made that evening as part of the museum’s program, but her shyness disappeared when the talk turned to dancing.

“I like dancing,” she declared. “I go to dancing class.”

The Bangor-based Flannery Brothers, who have recorded several albums of original songs for children, performed for about 30 minutes at the museum, then led the annual “Count Up” to the new year around the facility.

A few blocks away at the Bangor Public Library, the Fighting Giants closed their 30-minute set with The Beatles’ song “I Am the Walrus.” The duo performed in the marble-floored lobby of the library.

Hana Lee, 14, of Bangor, played guitar and Ben Salinas, 13, of Bangor, joined her on the drums. Salinas is not a member of the Fighting Giants, but when all the other members of the band had other commitments and couldn’t make it to the library on New Year’s Eve, Lee went looking for a drummer and found him. The two practiced for just three days.

“I loved it,” Salinas said of playing in the library’s lobby, where patrons have checked out books for nearly a century. “There’s a lot of reverb, so we have to turn everything down, but it’s great.”

A short walk away at the University of Maine Museum of Art, Alyssa Damon, 14, of Eddington, glued pink, purple and aqua plastic jewels onto her gold paper crown. She said that she and her four friends planned to wear them later in the evening when they went to see the movie “The Princess and the Frog.”

“You never outgrow your need for a crown,” she said.

This was the second year the museum has taken part in the Downtown Countdown, according to director George Kinghorn.

“We think of the museum as a vital and important player in the downtown,” he said as the crown-making session got under way. “So it’s natural for the museum to play a prominent part in the New Year’s Eve festival.

“Part of our mission is to provide art-making opportunities,” he continued, “and this allows us to get parents and kids here together. It helps with our goal to bring people into the museum who haven’t been here before.”

Events at venues in downtown Bangor were scheduled until about 11:30 p.m., when people were expected to gather in West Market Square for the countdown to a new decade and to see a giant ball covered with lights tossed from the top of the building where Paddy Murphy’s Pub is located.


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