BANGOR — The Twin Cities will have a strong local presence at this weekend’s American Folk Festival.  Auburn fiddler Greg Boardman as well as Lewiston dancer Cindy Larock and her 12-year-old protege Gabriel Jacques, also of Lewiston, will perform Saturday, Aug. 28, as part of a “Franco-Yankee” House Party planned in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprentice Program.

Boardman and Larock have both served as Master Artists in the program, which was established in 1990 to help preserve Maine’s treasured cultural traditions. Jacques, both of whose parents are from Quebec, studied Quebecois step dancing and social dancing as Larock’s apprentice in 2008-2009.

Joining the three locals on stage for their festival performance will be French Canadian dance master and folk musician Benoit Bourque; Lewiston native Donna Casavant and her teenage daughter Christen; and teenage fiddler Milo Stanley of Richmond, who apprenticed recently with Doug Protsik of Woolwich.

Putting in guest appearances will be Gabe Jacques’ younger sisters Emma and Laura, and Aliette Couturier, a popular Lewiston spoons-player and singer who also serves as president of the local Franco cultural group La Survivance Francais.

The House Party show will take place at 5:15 p.m. Saturday on the festival’s Penobscot Stage. Boardman, Larock, Bourque and Protsik will also appear on the Narratives Stage at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28 and 29, to discuss and demonstrate the similarities and differences between the music and dance traditions of New England and French Canada. 

Boardman, who directs the string music program for grades 4 to 8 in Lewiston public schools, will also perform with the folk music group Old Grey Goose, which is scheduled to play a 5 p.m. concert on Sunday at the Two Rivers Stage, and will provide music for contra dancing at the Dance Pavilion at 12:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Bourque has been invited to join them for these events.

The American Folk Festival is located adjacent to the Penobscot River in downtown Bangor. Admission is free, with donations requested via the festival’s bucket brigade in order to cover the annual production costs of nearly $900,000.

More details, as well as a complete schedule of events, is available on the festival’s website at www.francoamericanheritage.org or by calling 992-2630.


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