JONI AVERILL

Summer Solstice to be celebrated early in Bangor

Posted June 16, 2011, at 10:09 p.m.

The longest day, as well as the shortest night, of the year is known as the Summer Solstice and it occurs, this year, on Wednesday, June 21.

And while many communities host gatherings to recognize this event on that day, it is not something that has occurred in the Bangor area in recent years, Kay Carter of Hampden told me.

“So many things are not hopeful in this world today,” she said.

“We know there is hope in growing.

“Winter is gone and, hopefully, the rain will be gone soon. The Solstice is the longest day of the year, and we should celebrate it.”

To that end, several individuals, and the organizations and groups they belong to, have joined together, as a community, to recognize the 2011 Solstice on a day they hope many will find convenient.

The Community Summer Solstice Celebration begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St. in Bangor.

The event features a craft show and sale, a farmers market and, especially, the opportunity to socialize with members of your community.

One of the highlights of the celebration will be a concert, beginning at 7 p.m., and featuring the vocal entertainment of Voices for Peace, Women with Wings and Circle Voice.

The suggested donation is $10 for individuals and $25 for families.

Titled “A Growing Time!” proceeds from the celebration will benefit the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine and the Barka Foundation which, Kay said, is a United Nations affiliate organization working with the people of Burkina Faso, Africa, to improve their quality of life by building and repairing wells and improving sanitation and other conditions in that extremely poor country.

Kay said many people and groups have joined forces to help make the Solstice Celebration an enjoyable and successful occasion.

Some are decorating the church with flowers and others are working on “the arts and crafts piece of the celebration.

“We hope this is the first of many such celebrations, even though it’s not exactly on the solstice,” she said, adding the organizers thought a Saturday night might draw more people to the event.

“We will have music, dancing, arts and crafts displays and an Open Drum Circle,” Kay said.

“We just think this is a great way to celebrate.”

Working with Kay are Marty Kelley, director of Voices for Peace, and Linda Koehler, director of Women with Wings.

Women with Wings will perform songs written by its own members, and Circle Voice will perform compositions by its musical director, Leah Wolfson.

Voices for Peace will be accompanied by Tracey Bigney on keyboard, Laurie Cartier on drum, Dana Williams on guitar and David Stillman on guitar and harmonica.

Kay said that perhaps the best part of this event is how it is all coming together, in what is really a loosely organized but very determined manner, with many different groups and organizations lending support in a variety of ways.

In addition to their own performances, the choral groups will join together for several songs and, before the celebration ends, ask the audience to sing along with them.

More information about this event, and the work of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, is available at http://www.peacectr.org.

More information about the work of the Barka Foundation is available at http://thebarkafoundation.org.

Cathy Billings emailed to ask me to clarify that the Walk to Beat ALS, which I wrote about June 15 and which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Hayford Park in Bangor, is not dedicated solely to the memory one one person but all who died of ALS and that people are encouraged to form their own teams for the fundraiser to benefit the Northern New England Chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.

For more information about the walk, visit http://webnne.alsa.org.

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

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