WILTON — As part of Spirit Week at Academy Hill School, the Franklin County Fiddlers gave a motivational talk and concert to the students on March 13.

The Franklin County Fiddlers performed and spoke to students at Academy Hill School in Wilton as part of Spirit Week. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

The Franklin County Fiddlers is an audition-based ensemble made up of students from Mt. Blue High School. There are 19 students in the group this year.

The Fiddlers’ director, Steve Muise is the stringed instrument instructor for Regional School Unit 9. He teaches an introductory course to all third grade students students at AHS. Students that wish continue instruction in grades four and five.

Muise told the AHS students, “The Franklin County Fiddlers play concerts all over the country and even in other parts of the world.”

After the Fiddlers played ‘Far Away,’ Muise told the AHS students of a saying he often uses with them, “Don’t afraid to be awesome.

“I’m not trying to say be big-headed. You can apply it to all of your lives.”


Muise asked the Fiddlers to raise their hands if they also were involved with athletics.

“You don’t need to choose between them. The best of the best are able to do both,” he said.

Muise then asked the Fiddlers to indicate if they tried to do well in academics, attend college. All of the Fiddlers raised their hands for both.

“When you take the MEA tests, I want you to take it seriously like any other test. Don’t afraid to be awesome. Fill in every answer, give it your best effort.

“Apply “Don’t be afraid to be awesome” to just being a person, too,” Muise said.

Three members of the Fiddlers attended AHS.


During a Franklin County Fiddlers concert at AHS in Wilton March 13, Maeve Hickey of Chesterville plays the pennywhistle. Beside her from left are former AHS students Alexandria McAuley, Colby Sennick and Chelsea Seabold. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

Alexandria McAuley said she attended AHS for grades three through six. She had an amazing time there.

“I joined the Fiddlers this year. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” she said. “The more you get to do, the more fun it is. You need to balance. Value time and work with it. Plan ahead. Take advantage of learning labs or similar help, any free time.”

Colby Sennick said the Fiddlers is a great way to meet kind people.

Chelsea Seabold said, “You aren’t that different from us. Be engaged. You really can do whatever you want. You can do it.”

AHS students asked about some of the instruments they saw being played. Muise described how the accordion, played by Sam Judkins, works. He said the bass, played by Rachel Spear, is the big daddy of the orchestra family.

Maeve Hickey showed her Irish flute (a wooden one actually made in Canada). After playing a short piece on that, she brought out the pennywhistle she also plays to show the different range of octaves they have.


During a Franklin County Fiddlers concert at AHS March 13, fourth and fifth grade students involved in the school’s string program were asked to raise their hands. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

“Choose to be kind. Be great at academics, music, athletics, other things. Be the best that you can be,” Muise said to end the assembly.

Before the concert, staff member Amy Eustis said, “We’re trying to give the kids a little motivation for the MEA testing next week.

Each day had a different clothing or hair theme. The percentage of students in each classroom matching it was recorded and the winning class announced.


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