Music and arts festival to help fight cancer

By Joni Averill,
Posted July 09, 2010, at 7:22 p.m.

People who know Mike Billings of Eddington might know him as the music-arts-fashion organizer who has brought this area such popular events as the winter Bangor Meltdown and the follow-up Lover’s Leap.

Others may know him as Myx Productions of Main Street Music Studios, but today he is simply a man who wants to help his brother and others who have cancer.

Musician Randy Billings, 33, of Billings Brew and the Napper Tandies fame, is undergoing treatment for stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

To make things a little more complicated, about the time the University of Maine and Brewer High School graduate was diagnosed, he and his wife, Rachel Bodkin-Robino Billings, had just moved into their new home in Gray.

Needless to say, it has been a difficult few months for this family.

So, Mike has taken on the task not only of helping raise funds to assist his brother, but also to achieve the greater goal of bringing “to light the necessity for taking care of ourselves and realizing the importance of good health, cancer prevention and stepping up for those in need,” he said.

To that end, Mike will hold Bloom207, an Arts-Music Showcase: Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, beginning with an early evening wine and cheese open house and social Friday, July 30, hosted by Bangor Fusion at Union Street Brick Church in Bangor, and followed by the daylong Bloom207 featuring music, art, dance, food and raffles from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at the church.

There will be no admission charge or cover charge for these events, but organizers will collect donations and conduct raffles throughout the day to raise funds for Randy.

Bloom207 will conclude with a Celtic music session at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, at Geaghan’s Pub in downtown Bangor, where 10 percent of all proceeds will benefit the cause.

To help make this entire event a success, Mike needs bands and artists. If you want to take part, he wants to hear from you.

To register or receive more information, contact Myx Productions at myxstudio@gmail.com.

Artists will be offered space to display their work first come, first served.

Shanna Merola, who will receive her Master of Fine Arts degree next year from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Minnesota, will be the curator for the Bloom207 art show.

Artists who e-mail Mike will be linked with her for more details, he said.

And while Mike had no registration deadline, for purposes of organizing this large-scale event, he would really like to hear from potential participants at least one week before the event, about or on July 20.

Mike also is seeking sponsors and donors for the raffles, and you can reach him at the e-mail address above.

Mike is producing Bloom207 “to provide a venue for local artists to showcase their talents,” and to bring the community together to create awareness of cancer and how it affects the lives of those we know and love, he said.

He has the support of many great groups, organizations and individuals, including Anne Marie’s Kitchen, which will cater the event.

Among the entertainers will be Sukulis, the Penobscot Nation group performing traditional dance-drum and song and accompanied by a Penobscot Nation historian, and Tracy Crawford leading an Old Town-Orono YMCA Zumba workshop-party. In addition to watching this new fitness activity, those in attendance will be invited to join the fun.

Also, attendees will enjoy the belly dancing of Paradigm East and the Arts Royale School of Irish Dance, featuring step dancers and Celtic musicians.

Although the list is incomplete, current participants-partners also include WERU, The Maine Edge, Bangor Media Collective, Downtown Arts Collaborative, New Empire Apparel, WKIT 100.3 FM, the Maine Arts Commission and Bacon Printing.

Bloom207 will have something for everyone, of all ages, and Mike is looking forward to seeing you there.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/07/09/news/music-and-arts-festival-to-help-fight-cancer/ printed on August 1, 2014