May 23, 2018
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Fiddling with politics: Lewiston trio promotes Franco Day at state capital

By Scott Taylor, Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Only one thing could get a roomful of city residents and state legislators’ minds off politics Saturday morning: fiddle music.

Lewiston Middle School eighth-grade fiddler Victor So and Dan Cunningham, 63, a Lewiston guitar player, brought a political roundtable to a close with a peppy Irish tune, “The Swallowtail Jig.”

The pair, joined by 77-year-old Lewiston resident Aliette Couturier on spoons, came to the legislators’ monthly public forum to promote a contradance that night at the library, a St. Patrick’s Day evening celebration at the Calumet Club in Augusta and Franco-American Day at the state Capitol on March 20.

“Oh, this is a lot more fun than politics,” state Sen. Margaret Craven said.

The second Saturday of the month at the Lewiston Public Library is usually reserved for sober discussions of Maine’s political issues — not toe-tapping fiddle music. Saturday’s discussion brought Craven and state Reps. Wayne Werts, Michel Lajoie, Michael Carey and Peggy Rotundo to meet with 16 Lewiston residents.

The city’s legislative representatives and senators have kept that date in their calendars filled for quite some time. It’s an opportunity to meet with their constituents, fill them in on the latest news from Augusta and find out what’s on their minds.

There was plenty of that as the Lewiston delegates talked about health care costs, state budgets and Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to repay debt owed to Maine hospitals.

But then Cunningham, So, Couturier and organizer Cindy Larock came in and unpacked their equipment. Larock, artistic director for the Maine Folque Co-op, said it was her idea to bring the musicians. Her group works to get Mainers of all ages interested in listening and dancing to traditional Irish and French Canadian folk music.

“We have several generations here in the little band, and we’re going to get them to play an Irish tune to get (Craven) on board,” Larock said.

Larock said her goal was to get the legislators dancing Saturday morning, but that didn’t happen. Most slipped out quietly after the three wrapped up their jig.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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