At the start of 2011, the BDN staff selected 11 people to watch in various categories of our coverage areas. It wasn’t an easy task, and while we hit some right on the nose, a few of our selections didn’t pull through the way we thought they would. The following is a look at what our select few in the arts and outdoors category accomplished — or didn’t — in 2011.
Alex Gray, Waterfront Concerts LLC
We predicted that Alex Gray would bring 12-15 shows to the Bangor Waterfront, and he did exactly that with big names including Toby Keith, BB King, Melissa Etheridge, Lady Antebellum and many more. We’re expecting the same for next year now that Gray and the City of Bangor have signed another contract to bring concerts to the transformed, revitalized Waterfront.
Hired to take the place of George Smith, who had served for 18 years as executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Tim Bell lasted less than four months on the job and was replaced before the end of January 2011. He was followed by interim director Matthew Dunlap, who is now running for the U.S. Senate, and David Trahan in what turned out to be a wild year for the organization.
Andy Shepard, president and CEO, Maine Winter Sports Center
Andy Shepard did just what he said he wanted to do during 2011. He staged two successful World Cup biathlon events in Aroostook County — one in Fort Kent, the other in Presque Isle. It may take years to fully evaluate if the events had the effect that many claimed was possible: To make Aroostook County an attractive winter sports destination for European tourists.
Lucas Richman, music director, Bangor Symphony Orchestra
Richman was welcomed with open arms into the community, and the BSO is now even more established as a modern, efficient organization with renewed creative vigor.
Jasmine Ireland, area actress, director and educator
During the summer of 2011, Ireland was named PTC’s director of outreach and education, replacing departing director Joye Cook-Levy. Ireland has been seen in PTC’s “Last Gas” and “A Christmas Story,” and she organized the 2011 Northern Writes New Play Festival. In June 2012, expect Ireland to present a new, revamped face for Northern Writes.
Timothy Lo, executive director, KahBang Festival
KahBang 2011 came and went, and though attendance wasn’t quite as high as 2010, it nevertheless gave Bangor a unique event that the community could be proud of. Next year’s KahBang Festival will be a four day affair, set for Aug. 9-12, that still will offer an eclectic mix of music, film, art and community.
Christopher Smith, Hermon novelist
The former Bangor Daily News movie critic, Smith ended his run with the newspaper in 2011 to focus on his blossoming career as a novelist. It began in October 2010 when Smith self-published the international best-seller “Fifth Avenue” on Amazon.com. In 2011, he published the young adult book series “Bullied” (May 3), “Revenge” (May 7), “Witch” (July 8) and “War” (Sept. 15), and “Running of the Bulls,” the sequel to “Fifth Avenue.” He also released “From Manhattan with Love,” an e-novel prequel to “Park Avenue,” his upcoming novel due out in early 2012. Movie deals may be in the future for Smith, whose cinematic writing style is ideal for translating onto the big screen.
In 2011, “Flannel Magazine,” an annually published art and culture publication, revamped their online presence at flannelcollective.com and moved operations to Portland, where they have since hosted three events featuring music and art galleries. Last spring, they released their fifth issue and were featured on the cover of the Portland Daily Sun, and next year, they plan to release issues six and seven. These books will be available in stores across the state.
Allison Melton, singer, artist and professional Lumberjill
Melton graduated from the University of Maine in December 2011 with a master’s degree in fine arts. As a part of her thesis work, she created a CD entitled “Stumped” by fictional pop singer Anna Log, written and performed by Melton in a variety of musical styles about being a Lumberjill. Melton continues to balance timber sports, visual art and music. She spent a good part of the summer working on a sculpture in Russia, and to finish off the year, she built a holiday art installation: two snowmen made out of soup cans at Hollywood Slots. She is now focusing on her work as lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter of “Temperature of the Sun,” which is recording its first full-length album in January.
Sarah Joy Chaples and Tom Roberts
These advocates for Maine farming are still planning to offer the yearly Maine Farmers’ Market Convention, to be held Jan. 27-28, 2012, in Freeport.
Though their plans for a large scale national tour didn’t quite pan out, the Bangor jam band did play a number of shows throughout the state, including festivals, and maintained their status as a crowd-pleasing live music favorite.
Bangor Daily News reporters Emily Burnham and Aislinn Sarnacki and Outdoor Editor John Holyoke contributed to this story.