Bands featuring St. Dom’s alumni to perform

AUBURN — A peek into the gymnasium of St. Dominic Academy’s high school campus reveals a long history of athletic dominance and prominence. Now the school is loudly and proudly saying that music matters, too.

The Catholic school has always been blessed with talented musicians who have participated in masses and other school-related events. At one time, there was a full band and orchestra program at the individual elementary schools. But with the arrival of Don Bilodeau, assistant principal for grades K-6, music and art are finding renewed interest and vigor.

“Yes, we are saying that we are here,” said Bilodeau. “We are here with the arts, and specifically with music. Music touches the heart, and it has emotional ties to learning.”

The school is making that statement with a public concert that will feature current students in its growing strings program directed by Steve Grenier, music teacher and professional musician. In addition, Grenier has assembled St. Dominic alumni who have gone on to pursue their musical passions to return for a reunion concert.

“I got the idea after the school’s reunion hockey game,” said Grenier. “I thought why not have a reunion concert? Let’s get alumni together for music.”

Bilodeau jumped at the idea, and Grenier started networking. Emails, social media, and word-of-mouth resulted in a full line-up of professional musicians who had ties to the school now known as St. Dominic Academy.

While the students get to showcase their emerging talents with an afternoon concert upstairs in the Performance Hall, three full bands will take the stage that evening downstairs in the Heritage Hall.

Any profits gleaned from the evening performance will benefit the school’s commitment to supporting music as an essential part of its overall educational program, said Bilodeau.

Grenier noted that Bilodeau was instrumental in providing permanent music rooms at the elementary campus in Lewiston and at the high school campus in Auburn. The new band teacher Cassandra Dove succeeded in putting together a band program for grades 5 through 8 that drew approximately 40 students into its fold. Dove also managed to procure several instruments for the school to loan out for student use, said Bilodeau.

“Some students had no idea that they had that talent,” said Bilodeau. “It will be great to see music grow into the high school.”

Grenier has already gained a foothold into the high school with his advanced strings program. Instead of the traditional school orchestra, Grenier brings in guitar, mandolin, banjos and lets students experiment with blues, jazz, folk, and rock.

Also a veteran rock guitarist himself, Grenier had the connections to pull together three bands for Saturday evening’s performance that draw from the different genres of music.

Jeroba Jump, featuring St. Dominic alum Ryan Tripp, will start the evening off with classic rock covers and some original tunes. Farmhouse Project, featuring alum Tony Morrin, will take the stage next with a more organic sound akin to Grateful Dead and Phish. The Nate Telow Band, featuring Telow as a St. Dom alum and former guitar student of Grenier, will headline with rock, blues, and jazz. Members of Telow’s band are also alumni of Berklee College of Music. The evening show will offer a cash bar and room for dancing.

What: St. Dominic Academy Alumni Concert

When: Student show 2-4:30 p.m.; Alumni show 8 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, May 3

Where: Franco Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston

Admission: Free to the public for the afternoon show / $10 advance and $12 at the door for the evening show. Tickets can be purchased at St. Dominic Academy campuses in Auburn and Lewiston and at Main Street Music Lessons, 134 Main St. in Auburn

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