Community pitches in

To the Editor:

An Evening for Hannah, the fundraising event at the Criterion Theatre on April 26 in support of Hannah Somers-Jones’ accident recovery, was a spectacular success on many levels. In total, it raised $5,781.

The evening was foremost a truly wonderful concert, thanks to the Mount Desert Island High School Jazz group (so good!), Hawk Henries’ enchanting music, The Crown Vics, who got us to turn down our hearing aids and dance in the aisles, and comedy and music from ImprovAcadia’s students and Brittany and Andrew of the Barn Arts Collective. We are so, so lucky that these brilliant artists dwell among us here on Mount Desert Island.

Music legends David Mallett and Michael Burd traveled from the other ends of the state, in a snowstorm no less, and brought down the house for a very grateful audience. There were moving appearances by singer Shannon Denbow, Bernie “Flash” Kellish and Hannah’s father, Kyle Jones. And the evening closed with The Mundus Trio: Shane Ellis, Phil Kell and Beau Lisy. We could have listened to them all night! Thank you all so much for donating your time and music to Hannah and to all of us!

Thanks also to the Criterion board of directors and programming committee for making this event possible. We are truly indebted. The facility and the professional staff and volunteers of the Criterion are second to none.

I’d particularly like to thank Executive Director Heather Martin, Taylor Thomas-Marsh, Steve Lambert, Taylor Michaels and volunteer stage manager Ian Richards from Coda for getting my act together and making us all look and sound our best. Also thanks to drummer and impresario extraordinaire Steve Peer for his help and support all along the way.

Out in the front of the house, the business of actually raising funds in the silent auction was in the able care of Cate Bowman, who magically organized more than 70 donated gift certificates and extraordinary pieces of art and put them into the hands of concert goers. Special thanks to Lilea Simis, the volunteer of the night, who came very early, stayed very late and even donated dozens of sandwiches from her Town Hill Market for the musicians, backstage crew and volunteers.

Cate and I cannot imagine how we could have done this event without her. Thanks also to Jim Kelly and everyone else who kept us fed, and to volunteers Jason Clark, Richard Sassaman, Mary Fallow, and Beth Somers, Hannah’s mother, who worked behind the scenes for weeks on this project.

A huge thanks also to Little Anthony’s. Russell Snyder’s legendary Tuesday night open mike was dedicated to Hannah all night and there were many more performances by fantastic musicians – friends and family all.

Last winter, after the devastating accident which crushed her face and neck, Hannah’s surgeons believed that she would never play her flute again. So when she picked up her flute at Little A’s to play a couple of stunning duets with her partner, Grady, there was not a dry eye in the room. Hannah is something special.

Once again, thanks to all who contributed and attended for making the night a great success.

Bob Bowman

Bar Harbor

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