Kelly Farm performs its original composition "The Acadia Waltz" at Friends of Acadia's annual meeting on the park's 100th birthday on July 8. ISLANDER PHOTO BY EARL BRECHLIN

‘Acadia Waltz’: A love song for the park

BAR HARBOR — Acadia National Park’s Centennial celebration has sparked no shortage of artistic endeavors from paintings and poetry to sculptures and original music for choral groups and orchestras.

acadia waltz cover

The cover of the “Acadia Waltz” music video features an original painting by band member Beth Herrick. IMAGE COURTESY OF KELLY FARM

One song, however, written and set to music by ukulele player Rick Barter for his group Kelly Farm, has struck a popular chord and spawned not only a CD of the work, but a music video as well.

“The Acadia Waltz” was performed at the start of Friends of Acadia’s annual meeting recently, and requests for copies of the song and additional performances are flooding in.

“All of us who live on Mount Desert Island are kind of in a dance with Acadia,” Barter said in a recent interview. It dawned on me one day a year or so ago that there weren’t any simple songs about Acadia,” he continued. “I decided to write one.”

The lyrics begin, “The tide comes and goes, it ebbs and it flows. There’s a rhythm and reason and grace that it shows. It keeps to a time, its beat and its rhyme. It moves to the Acadia Waltz.”

Kelly Farm, which is an amalgam of musicians that often performs with other groups, decided to record the song in the home studio of member Fred Benson. He plays bass ukulele. The other three members of the group include Beth Herrick on soprano uke, Amy Kurman on soprano uke and Jim Vekasi on octave mandolin. The group took its name from their first gig together, at the dedication of Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Kelly Farm preserve in Tremont.

“We’ve been playing it, and people seem to like it,” Barter said.

Inspired by “The Acadia Waltz,” photographer and videographer Bob Thayer created a music video showing scenes from the park as some of the locations are mentioned in the song. “He fit it perfectly to the words,” Barter said.

Both the video and song can be experienced at

Kelley Farm will give a concert at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor on Saturday, July 30, at 7 p.m.

“The Acadia Waltz” will be performed as part of that event.

Call 288-4245 or email [email protected].


Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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