Leo Pepin, left, composer of the Maine State March, poses with local accordion students in this 1957 photo. Anyone with information on where this photograph was taken, or any of the individuals pictured in it, is encouraged to contact Anna Faherty, archivist at the Franco-American Collection at USM/LAC. Contributed photo

The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College is reaching out to residents for information concerning a noted Franco-American musician with a strong connection to the Twin Cities.

Leo Pepin (1924-2014) was an Augusta native who, early in his musical career, was associated with the Anton Mainente School of Music in Lewiston, according to a news release. In 1959, he opened his own studio, the Leo Pepin School of Music in Augusta. Inspired by his former mentor Anton Mainente, who was a composer as well as an instructor, Pepin in 1961 composed the “Dirigo March,” which was designated as Maine’s official state march in 2012.

Following Pepin’s death, his family donated the original conductor’s score for the march, as well as photographs and other materials relating to his life, to the Franco-American Collection.

With the Dirigo March gaining more attention recently because of performances of it at some of the events connected to Maine’s ongoing Bicentennial celebration, the collection’s archivist, Anna Faherty, is now on a quest to collect reminiscences about Pepin from community members.

Anyone who has recollections about Pepin’s musical activities in Lewiston-Auburn, especially those who studied music with him at either the Maintente School in Lewiston or Pepin’s studio in Augusta, can contact Faherty at 207-753-6545 or [email protected].

Faherty also plans to oversee a display table from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Franco-American Fiddlers Rendezvous occurring in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park. Included in the display will be a copy of a portion of Pepin’s score for the Dirigo March. Also, as a special tribute to its composer, a unique “fiddle-ized” version of the march is to be performed as the grand finale of the Fiddlers Rendezvous concert.

Open to the public free of charge, the event is to take place in the park’s gazebo, located on Pine Street between Park and Bates streets. Attendees are advised to bring chairs or blankets for seating.

The rain date for the event is the following Sunday, Aug. 15.

The Fiddlers Rendezvous is sponsored by LA Arts with funding provided by a grant from the Maine Bicentennial Commission. More information is available by calling the LA Arts Office at 207-782-7228.

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