Diantha Hawkes Grant
6999-02 Merrill Road #292
Jacsonville, FL 32277
We are truly enjoying being in Maine for the “summer” even though the weather was unusually cool. Don and I are working at the Sabbathday Shaker Village as tour guides. Really fun and interesting and meeting lots of people. A great way to spend time in our beautiful home state. Here’s the news from our class.
Brian Carpenter has signed on as the new superintendent of schools in SAD 1, Presque Isle. SAD 1 serves Presque Isle, Chapman, Castle Hill, Mapleton, and Westfield. He was previously the superintendent of RSU 20 in Belfast. Brian’s UMO degree was in civil engineering. He received a social science degree from UMPI, and then a graduate degree from USM in school administration. He also served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne Division and as an Army reservist where he was deployed to Fort Sill, OK and the Pentagon. He has held several teaching and administrative posts in Maine and is looking forward to the new post.
In Biddeford, Alan Casavant is seeking his 3rd term as mayor. Alan is a former state representative who was first elected mayor in 2011. He presides over the City Council meetings and is chairman of the School Committee. He is looking to spend more time on the expanding economic development of the city, particularly in the old mill buildings. He was largely responsible for the redevelopment of the Maine Energy Recovery Company property evolving into a hotel and restaurant.
I received an email from Stan Hill. “Of little interest to anyone, but I thought I would write in anyway. I have done nothing and done it very well the last 40 years. However, I (we) are very proud of our children. The oldest is a teacher and the youngest (in the pictures) has just graduated with honors from the engineering department as a Chem E major. She intends to get her master’s at Montana State in Boseman.
The picture of us with the car was taken at Homecoming in the fall of 2014. I lived in Gannet all four years and that is the car that I drove in college.
The one thing that I have accomplished, and I sure didn’t do it alone, is to be there to have these pictures taken. When this young lady was 2 1/2 years old I was told I had three months to live. I had pancreatic cancer. I so desperately wanted to be here to see the kids grow and somehow that prayer was answered. Anyway, just to show the circle keeps turning, we have another proud UMaine graduate.”
Best wishes to Gloria Fox Jenkins on her retirement from Jay Regional School Unit. She served as curriculum coordinator and assistant superintendent for 16 years. She also served as Washington County Consortium director, the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, and was a third-grade teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree from UMO, a certificate of advanced studies at USM, and Doctor of Education from Nova University in Florida. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family, working in her flower and vegetable garden, and time with her parents and grandchildren. Gloria and her husband, Bob, have two children and four grandchildren.
Down East Magazine selected Dr. Lee Thibodeau, a neurosurgeon with Mercy Health Care System of Maine, as one of Maine Top Docs for 2015. The physicians who made the list were peer reviewed and asked who they would go to for help for their own family members. Congratulations!
The new town manager in Winthrop is Peter Nielsen. He previously served as town manager in Clinton, Wayne, Wilton, and the last five years in Oakland. Peter served on the Winthrop town council in the 1980s and has been seeking the town manager position since then. Peter grew up in Cape Elizabeth but he and his wife, Mary Richards, bought the Richards family farm in 1978. He has held a number of positions in Winthrop, including custodian at the high school and school bus driver. He earned his master’s degree in administration in 2001. The town of Winthrop has invested a considerable amount of money in equipment and infrastructure and he looks forward to getting started.
From the Ellsworth American, BLUE HILL — Among society’s often unsung heroes are teachers who connect with their students at a malleable time and shape those young lives forever.
For Duncan Hardy, and many, many other students, that teacher is Steven Orlofsky, music director at George Stevens Academy (GSA) in Blue Hill. “If I had to choose one person, and only one person, to credit for my musical career, it would have to be Mr. O,” said Duncan Hardy, a GSA graduate and highly acclaimed musician who teaches and plays saxophone in Portland. “He saw me in good times and bad,” said Hardy. “He had a way with his students that no other teacher I have come across seems to have.”
Known widely as “Mr. O,” Orlofsky has taught young musicians for 37 years, all but nine of them at GSA, where he conducts the band, jazz band, four jazz combos and the “Holiday Angels.” Joe Boulet, a drummer with the J-A double Z combo, said Orlofsky never lets a mistake go unnoticed. “The best thing about him is that he loves the music, but also loves his students,” said Boulet.
Orlosky’s band room is ringed with photographs and trophies of generations of student musicians. Most recently, the GSA Jazz Band & Resonation Jazz Combo placed first at the 2014 Maine State Jazz Festival. Orlofsky was named the Maine Music Educators Association Music Educator of the Year in 2012 and received the Blue Hill Halcyon Grange #345 “Citizen of the Year Award” the same year. But like many people who are very good at what they do, Orlofsky does not dwell on past successes. There is always another day, another student, another opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life.
The events that shaped Orlofsky’s life began in Silver Lake, a small town just outside of the Manhattan suburb of White Plains, N.Y. One of six children, he inherited his older sister’s clarinet and decided as a fourth-grader: “Man, that’s what I want to do.” Starting in sixth grade Orlofsky and his friends practiced in the family basement — his parents never complained about the decibel level — and staged performances in the garage. (One of the group was saxophonist Timmy Cappello, who played in the movie, “The Lost Boys;” and toured with Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel and Carly Simon, among others.)
Orlofsky, by his own description, was not a stellar student at White Plains High School — his interest in studies waxed and waned — so when it came time for college his advisor told him to cast the net wide. The Northern Conservatory of Music in Bangor was on his list so on Halloween, he and his father drove north — the first time Orlofsky had ventured beyond Connecticut. Unlike White Plains High School with 2,100 students, the conservatory in the former Isaac Farrar Mansion had 90. By that time Orlofsky had branched out to tenor and baritone sax as well as clarinet. The college closed at the end of his sophomore year and he transferred to the University of Maine in 1972 as a junior. The timing could not have been better for encouraging his jazz sensibilities.
He studied clarinet with Don Stratton, who introduced jazz to the university via the 20th Century Music Ensemble, and played around town as well. “There was a lot of music happening in Bangor at the time,” said Orlofsky. He then did his student teaching in Old Town with David Saucier, who had formed the first middle school jazz band in the state. After graduation Orlofsky was hired as band director in Fort Fairfield, where he stayed for two years before enrolling in graduate school at Bowling Green State University. It was there he met his wife, Carol. Today their daughter, Kate, a graduate of Cornell, is employed as a professional guide in Maine. After a year of graduate school, he was invited to tour with a band. “Something I always wanted to do was to make a living playing my horn,” said Orlofsky. “My Dad said, ‘If you don’t go now, you’re never going to go.” He was on the road for three years, 1979-1981. The band played mostly rock and disco. “We played until 2 a.m. and then would drive all night,” Orlofsky said. “It was 48 weeks a year, pretty much Monday through Saturday.” By his third year — his dream now played out — he returned home and he and Carol married.
He returned to Fort Fairfield and taught there for five years, but moved south when Carol was hired to teach German at Mount Desert High School. A year later Orlofsky became GSA’s first fulltime music director and he was asked to fast track a band to perform at the Eastern State Exposition Fair in Springfield, Mass. The pickings were slim, but he recruited heavily and weeks later he had 40 students on board. “The kids trusted me,” he said, “I told them, ‘I’m going to be there for you and you’ll be there for me.’” He also quickly formed a jazz band, which, in its second year, placed first in the statewide jazz festival.
The almost non-existent music program at GSA under his tenure morphed into a jazz band with 104 students. The Jazz Band has placed in the top three spots at the Maine State Jazz Festival for 22 years and came in first in 15 festivals. The combos are competitive as well. One, Sam’s Soul Children, placed third at the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival in Boston in 2011.
Orlofsky has pursued his own music as well. He performed with A-Train, a jazz quintet with guitarist Hugh Bowden, bass player John Gallagher and drummer Mike Bennett, for 26 years. He now plays with the Night and Day Jazz Trio and a funk band, Maine Street R&B Revue. He also has performed for bands that accompanied major stars such as the Supremes, Frankie Valle & the Four Seasons, Manhattan Transfer, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart and Chubby Checker.
Yvonne Rogers, a GSA sophomore who plays tenor sax and vibes with the J-A-double Z Jazz Combo, said Mr. O is “amazing.” “He’s always saying things like ‘hot puppy pie’ or ‘sugar frosted flakes’ or ‘don’t be a poodle, be a Great Dane,’ so it’s always fun watching and listening to him.” GSA Headmaster Paul Parkinson said watching Orlofsky with his students is an experience. “You will know instantly that you’re watching a master teacher at work, changing the lives of school children with each lesson and each performance.”