Michael Cooper, a visual artist and virtuoso mime who’s entertained audiences for nearly 30 years, will be one of the performers providing entertainment Dec. 31 during New Year’s Bethel.

Cooper will present a one-man extravaganza at Gould Academy’s Bingham Hall that combines his handcrafted masks, original stories, stilt dancing and a physical repertoire ranging from madcap to sublime.

Others featured during the evening will be Maine humorist Norbert Twitchell, the State Street Traditional Jazz Band, the Hobohemians (bluegrass fiddle to contemporary favorites), and Ti Acadie who will accompany and lead a contradance with waltzes, polkas, hambos and Cajun two-steps. Also during the afternoon and evening, there will be an ecumenical vesper service, children’s crafts, dragon parade, horse-drawn wagon rides, community bonfire with marshmallows, food court, fireworks and community bell ringing.

Inside info

Peter Gammons Jr., aka Norbert Twitchell, from Vienna, Maine, has been a Yankee humorist for 15 years. With his “inside information” on Bethel’s local characters, he’ll be certain to keep audiences “rolling in the aisles” with his Maine humor, according to organizers of the event. He will appear in the West Parish Congregational Church at 7 p.m. and in the Dr. Moses Mason House meeting room at 8:15 p.m. during this Bethel Historical Society’s seventh annual New Year’s Bethel.

The Hobohemians, a father and daughter duo (Bruce and April Hobart), features two-part family harmony and multi-instrumental renderings of a variety of original compositions steeped in traditional American music, as well as interpretations of everything from bluegrass fiddle tunes to contemporary favorites.

The duo likes to get the crowd involved with an occasional audience participation tune or fast dance song. They’ll appear in the Mason House meeting room at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on December 31 during Bethel Historical Society’s 7th annual New Year’s Bethel.

The State Street Traditional Jazz Band of Portland will be playing two programs in the West Paris Congregational Church. The programs will present authentic New Orleans jazz, including hymns, spirituals, parade tunes and popular songs. Featured will be the band’s leader, Mark Finds, who was born and raised in Maine and later recorded with veteran New Orleans musicians.

Advance tickets are $10 for adult, $8 for children ages 6 to 18, or $12 for adults and $10 for children at the door. Children 5 and under are admitted free. FMI: call the society at (207) 824-2908 or (800) 824-2910.


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