rising_stars_youth_orchestra_72_dpi_6_.jpgThe Maine Folque Co-op invites you to the American Folk Festival in Bangor this weekend to see the Dirigo Rising Stars youth folk orchestra in their official public debut. They are scheduled to present a program of traditional Franco American and Celtic fiddle tunes on the festival's Maine Folklife Stage at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 23) with a repeat performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 24).

The Dirigo Rising Stars is an ensemble of seven talented young folk musicians drawn from several communities in the southern half of the state of Maine. They perform a repertoire of music which reflects Maine's cultural heritage, including the vintage reels and two-steps beloved by the old-time Franco-American fiddlers of yore, classic jigs and polkas from Ireland, and contemporary tunes written by members of today's Maine folk musician community. For a sample of their music, visit https://youtu.be/vm3VF5jBxEk.

The members of the group are: Josh White (age 13, Auburn); twins Abbie & Abram Collette (age 15, Lewiston); Ryan Spooner (age 17, Sabbattus); Owen Kennedy (age 9, Winthrop); Sarah Brown (age 11, New Gloucester); and Joshua Rosenthal (age 10, Damariscotta). They are coached by Maine Folque Co-op's artistic director Cindy Larock, who plays occasional back-up on guitar, joined by the Folque Co-op's multi-talented director of technology, Don Cunningham,who accompanies the youngsters on guitar, mandolin and banjo.

The Rising Stars were assembled by Cindy at the invitation of Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, who approached her in regard to securing some fresh young talent for the AFFestival's Maine Folklife Stage. Cindy is a master artist within the Maine Arts Commission's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program where she specializes in teaching French Canadian and Franco-American dance traditions, and she has provided young folk dancers and musicians for the AFFestival several times in the past.