FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Farmington’s student center will be the backdrop for a local inaugural ball Saturday, Jan. 24, giving Mainers an opportunity to dance and celebrate the election of Barack Obama as their new president.

The event, from 7 to midnight, is the brainchild of Tim Wallace, leader guitarist in the band Shepherd’s Pie, which will provide music for the celebration.

Attendees are urged to come as they are or to dress to the nines.

Shepherd’s Pie came together after a Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry mission trip to Quimistan, Honduras. Inspired by the upbeat and joyous music heard in a poor Central American church, several people from the UCC Old South Church in Farmington came back with songs to share and a desire to start a band for an alternative worship service at the church. That was the spring of 2005.

The band started small and now has five full-time members besides Wallace: Jon Abel, bass; Chris Yardley, drums; Jodie Gunther, keyboards; and Katerine Poulson and Patty Schoen, vocals. All band members are from the Farmington area. All are parents. All serve the community with various work and volunteer endeavors. And, all look to have a good time making music.

Beginning largely as a praise and worship band for intergenerational services at the church, Shepherd’s Pie has expanded its repertoire to include secular rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

Shepherd’s Pie has played at private parties and two annual Kindness Counts Kickoff Concert assemblies at Jay Middle School, and are booked to perform at Saddlback Ski area.

Tickets to the inaugural ball are $5 for adults, $3 for students with I.D. There will be a cash bar. Proceeds after expenses are earmarked for a local heating assistance fund.

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