ELLSWORTH — If you know Antonio Blasi, it’s probably through music.
The Hancock resident sings or plays woodwinds in bands around the county and beyond, from Bangor to Blue Hill.
He’s played in the orchestra at The Grand, with the Bar Harbor Band, at the Winter Harbor Music Festival and was a co-founder of the Blue Hill Big Band.
“You get to have some fun while you’re volunteering,” said Blasi, who has recently been playing with the rhythm, blues, soul and funk band Troy Youngblood and the Soulfish (he’s listed on their bio as “Ant Blasi”). “You also meet many retired professional musicians.”
Blasi has been in the music business for a long time: he has a master’s degree in music education and has been teaching music for decades. It’s what originally brought him from where he was living in Arizona to Maine in 1990.
“That was the next teaching job that came my way,” said Blasi. “I taught Mountain View Elementary, then I went up north to Penobscot. The life of a music teacher is itinerant. If you want to stay in that business you move around.”
You might also recognize Blasi on the water or in the woods — he got his Maine Guide Certification in 2002, and has worked at kayaking and guiding outfits around the region. He now runs his company, Hancock Point Kayak Tours & Schoodic Maine Guide Snowshoe Tours, out of his property in Hancock.
Blasi met in wife in 1991 “at a WERU benefit dance at the Blue Goose,” and has been in Maine ever since.
Blasi, who has served “1.75 — no, 1.73 or 1.74 — terms next month” as a county commissioner, fell into public service largely by accident.
“I was asked to be a public servant and ever since then I feel like if they think that I serve them well,” he trailed off and shrugged.
Blasi was elected to the planning board in the town of Hancock in 2000, a board he’s served on ever since, “except for one year off.” He has also represented the town of Hancock on the Hancock County Planning Commission.
He had no real designs on any higher office, said Blasi, but once again, “Someone asked me to run for county commissioner. I’ve inadvertently stepped up.”
First elected in 2013, Blasi’s second term will run out in 2020. He’s mum on whether he’ll run again, but is happy to elaborate on his guiding philosophy as a public servant.
“My operating principle is sustainable communities,” Blasi said. “You show through your fiscal management your priorities. Sustainability equals efficiency. To me they go hand-in-hand.”