KINGFIELD — Not every bride-to-be gets to have military police fire off a World War II howitzer at her bachelorette party during an 80-piece orchestra’s performance of Tchaichovsky’s 1812 Overture.

But that’s what Jay native Rachel Gagnon of Jackman would experience Saturday evening. She and her sister Christine Knudsen of Falmouth and her friend Megan McCrum of Bangor spent the evening at the seventh annual Kingfield Pops concert off Route 142.

“This is my bachelorette party, so we’re real excited to be here,” Gagnon said.

She was dressed in a white and pink cowgirl hat, and wore a pink and white lei draped over a pink shirt tucked into plaid pants. She also sported dark red toenails.

The trio and about 50 other people of all ages watched the Casco Bay Concert Band practice the 1812 Overture, which was loudly punctuated by the shockwave blast from a 1941 75mm pack howitzer, which was used during World War II.

Manning the gun were Maine Army National Guard military policemen 1st Sgt. Stephen Soucy and private Kyle Murcin, both of Lewiston, and Spc. Jordon Richard of Mercer. They are with the Guard’s 488th Military Police Co. out of Waterville.
Saturday’s Pops concert was also the first time that the Guard members and Casco Bay Concert Band members performed together in what was billed as the band and extreme percussion cannon fire.

As the band performed the 1812 Overture, Karina Babcock of South Portland and the band stood beside the howitzer and signaled to Soucy, Murcin and Richard when to fire the first and only practice blast of a 1-pound canister of gunpowder.
The three men then ran through their 4-second routine of unloading, loading and practice firing the howitzer as the band played out the song.

In the past, local men armed with shotguns fired them into metal drums to simulate cannon fire for the Overture. But not this year, much to the enjoyment of the bachelorette party trio, who after hearing the practice blast could hardly wait for the band’s 7:15 p.m. performance, which would be followed by fireworks.

All afternoon, rainclouds ringed the Kennedy Farm venue, but they cleared away and the sun came out as the Western Mountains Trash Can Band performed Caribbean steel drum music. A steady stream of people began flowing in as the skies brightened.

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Clarinet players with the Casco Bay Concert Band practice performing “American Fanfare” for the Kingfield Pops concert on Saturday afternoon into evening. From right, are, Ray Eastman of Portland, Phil Whitney of Scarborough, and Diane Whitmore and Mike Peisner, both of Portland.

Bride-to-be Rachel Gagnon, left, of Jackman, toasts late Saturday afternoon during the 7th annual Kingfield Pops concert with her friend Megan McCrum, right, of Bangor, and Gagnon’s sister Christine Knudsen of Falmouth. It was their first time attending the Kingfield concert that featured an extreme percussion howitzer from the Maine Army National Guard performing the cannon blasts for the 1812 Overture to be played by the 80-member Casco Bay Concert Band on the stage behind the girls.


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