UMF Community Chorus presents Holiday Concert, Dec. 3

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 20, 2017)—The UMF Community Chorus under the direction of Bruce McInnes with Patricia Hayden, organist, will present their annual Holiday Concert on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m., in Old South Church, Main Street in Farmington.

This year’s concert is formatted as an Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols. Readings from scripture and poetry will complement the musical offerings of the Chorus. The audience will also be invited to join in singing several traditional carols of the holiday season.

The Chorus will present music from a 15th Century French Processional to works from the 19th and 20th centuries by American, British, German and Norwegian composers.  In addition to soloists from within the chorus, Shannon Snapp will be the cello soloist in a haunting setting of the ancient Latin text “O Magnum Mysterium” by the brilliant young Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. Works by Handel, Mendelssohn, Humperdinck, Chilcott, Mawby, Winterbourn, Thobur and Dawson round out a very exciting afternoon of great choral music.

Admission is $8 per adult, $6 seniors and free for children and UMF students with I.D.


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UMF hosts poet Kaveh Akbar as next author in Visiting Writers Series, Nov. 30

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 16, 2017)—The University of Maine at Farmington is proud to host poet Kaveh Akbar as the next reader in its notable Visiting Writers Series. Sponsored by the UMF Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, the reading will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, in The Landing in the UMF Olsen Student Center.

The reading is free and open to the public, to be followed by a meet and greet with the author.

In addition to the reading, Akbar will also be leading a workshop Thursday, entitled Mining the Poetic from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at Alice James Books located on the UMF campus at 114 Prescott Street. There are limited seats available, please contact Alicia Hynes at to sign up.

Kaveh Akbar

Kaveh Akbar

Akbar’s poems will or have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, The Nation, Tin House, The Guardian, Ploughshares, FIELD, Georgia Review, PBS NewsHour, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, Narrative, The Poetry Review, AGNI, New England Review, A Public Space, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry International, Best New Poets 2016, Guernica, Boston Review and elsewhere.

His debut full-length collection, “Calling a Wolf a Wolf,” is just out with Alice James in the U.S. and Penguin in the UK, and his chapbook, “Portrait of the Alcoholic,” was published by Sibling Rivalry Press.

The recipient of a 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives and teaches in Florida.

More Information on the UMF Creative Writing Program

As the only Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the state of Maine and one of only three in all of New England, the UMF program invites students to work with faculty, who are practicing writers, in workshop-style classes to discover and develop their writing strengths in the genres of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Small classes, an emphasis on individual conferencing, and the development of a writing portfolio allow students to see themselves as artists and refine their writing under the guidance of accomplished and published faculty mentors. Students can pursue internships to gain real-world writing and publishing experience by working on campus with The Beloit Poetry Journal, a distinguished poetry publication since 1950; or Alice James Books, an award-winning poetry-publishing house.

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Media Contact: Jeffrey Thomson, UMF professor of creative writing, at 207-778-7454, or

Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption: Kaveh Akbar

UMF promotes a safe community for all with “Peace in the Park” event, Nov. 17

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 13, 2017)—The University of Maine at Farmington is holding a “Peace in the Park” event from 3:30–4:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, in Abbott Park. It is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the UMF Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, the event invites students, staff, faculty and members of the community to come together to celebrate their commitment to inclusion and diversity. The pro-active event is a way to show strength in unity and affirm that the community is a safe place for all.

Speakers include Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president; and Mana Abdi, UMF student from Lewiston. Chompers, the UMF mascot will be on hand. Participants are encouraged to post positive photos on social media along with their endorsement of diversity with the hashtag #CoexistUMF. Commemorative items and stickers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Karol Maybury, UMF associate professor of psychology, at, or 778-7067.

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UMF students hosting dinner for veterans in the community, Nov. 15

Student-designed logo to welcome veterans to community dinnerFARMINGTON, ME  (November 7, 2017)— University of Maine at Farmington’s First Year Seminar “Peace Studies” students are hosting a dinner for veterans and their families from 5:30–7 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the Old South Church in Farmington. The event is free and open to the public.

UMF students taking the course have been studying the nature of war and wanted to put together a special dinner for military veterans and their families to welcome them and show they care. Students planned the community dinner and developed the menu, which includes vegetarian and turkey chili, cornbread, salad, with pie and ice cream for dessert.

Students will be participating the evening of the event, setting up the space, cooking and serving the attendees and cleaning up afterwards. In addition, they designed the event logo to spread the word to the community.

Sixteen students are involved in the Peace Studies First Year Seminar led by Doug Rawlings. As part of the course, students study the philosophy of nonviolent direct action and its applications in the United States and elsewhere. They have been reading about and discussing the nature of war and some specific wars, predominantly the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. One requirement of the course is participation in a community project of their choosing.

For more information, or to offer a food item or donation, please contact Doug Rawlings at

UMF is also pleased to be saluting the UMF student, faculty and staff military veterans, reservists, National Guard and active duty presonnel with a campus luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 9.

“UMF is honored to recognize veterans throughout the country for their service,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president. “Our communities are built upon their sacrifice and dedication and we are proud to say thank you for all they’ve done.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF image
Photo Caption: Student-designed image to welcome veterans to community dinner.

UMF student investigates Yellowstone supervolcano with National Science Foundation program

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 6, 2017)—What volcanic secrets are hidden beneath Yellowstone National Park and how does a University of Maine at Farmington student get the opportunity to investigate them?

Bryce Neal, UMF senior from New Gloucester and a geology major, was accepted in spring 2017 in the National Science Foundation’s competitive Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. He spent last summer with a team of researchers measuring Yellowstone’s magma chambers and super-heated water located in the Earth’s upper crust.

“This was a terrific opportunity for me as I headed into my senior year,” said Neal. “UMF’s Geology Program has a huge field component. And with that experience in hand,  I felt prepared for the field research in Yellowstone and for where it would take me.”

UMF student Bryce Neal at Mckenzie Pass in the Oregon Cascades.

UMF student Bryce Neal at Mckenzie Pass in the Oregon Cascades.

The Yellowstone research was led by Adam Schultz, Oregon State University professor of geology and geophysics and hosted by OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Neal worked with Schultz’s team both at Yellowstone and in Oregon.

Grand Prismatic Spring, a well-known Yellowstone thermal feature and the largest hot spring in the United States.

Grand Prismatic Spring, a well-known Yellowstone thermal feature and the largest hot spring in the United States.

In Yellowstone, the team used an electromagnetic geophysical exploration technique known as magnetotellurics that images the electrical properties of the earth at subsurface depths. The resulting data show the hot groundwater heated by magma and erupted by geysers that exists under Yellowstone.

The data will be presented by Neal and his REU research partner Rebeca Gurrola—a student from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas—at the American Geophysical Union Conference, the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world, in New Orleans this December.

In addition, the data will be used as part of a much larger project by Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin Madison creating a computer model of the entire system that exists under Yellowstone—the largest supervolcano on the North American continent

Neal is currently completing his degree at UMF and working as a research assistant with Doug Reusch, professor of geology, helping to map the bedrock above the Saddleback Ridge wind farm.

“My love of the Maine Mountains drew me to UMF,” said Neal. “Its location at the foot of the Appalachians is an ideal place to study the natural world through the lens of geology.”

During his time at UMF, he has also researched high elevation ponds in Maine; worked as an Americorps volunteer with the Maine Conservation Corps, building and maintaining trails on Maine public lands and state parks; served with the University’s Rotaract organization and skied with UMF’s Nordic Ski Team.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized public liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that help prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and business and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Images can be found at:
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption: UMF student Bryce Neal at Mckenzie Pass in the Oregon Cascades.
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption: Grand Prismatic Spring, a well-known Yellowstone thermal feature and the largest hot spring in the United States.

UMF food service leads the way in buying local food

Local food posterSodexo food service at the University of Maine at Farmington is surpassing expectations when it comes to supporting the Maine food economy. The company committed contractually with the University of Maine System to buying 20 percent of its food from local sources by 2020, as reported by the Sun Journal. The UMF food service surpassed that goal in it’s first year, purchasing 21.3 percent of its food from local sources and has already bought 24.8 percent locally from July through September, this year, said Adam Vigue, Sodexo general manager. The food must be purchased in Maine, within 150 miles of campus to be considered local. “About $1 of every $4 spent (at UMF) on food buys local food,” said Vigue.

Sun Journal

UMF Roundtable Series explores “Free Speech on Campus?” Nov. 8

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 2, 2017)—The University of Maine at Farmington invites the public to its next UMF Roundtable discussion, “Free Speech on Campus?” This free and open-to-the-public dialogue will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the North Dining Hall in the Olsen Student Center.

Has free speech, once a hallmark of college campuses, become endangered in the academic environment? Speakers invited, then dis-invited, protests and counter-protests, and the fear of speaking unpopular beliefs—the rules and norms seem to be changing on a daily basis.

Is so-called hate speech free speech? What is protected? What isn’t? And what is the role of colleges in this debate? The second Roundtable of the fall semester takes on this thorny issue. UMF invites students, staff, faculty and the public to join us for a thoughtful and engaging conversation about the limits of free speech on campus.

The UMF Roundtable, sponsored by the Division of Humanities, the Division of Social Sciences and Business and the International and Global Studies Program, is a monthly series to discuss issues of importance to the community.

For more information, or to propose an idea for a future discussion, please contact Nicole Kellett ( director of the International and Global Studies Program; Chris O’Brien (, chair of the Division of Social Sciences and Business; or Linda Britt, ( chair of the Division of Humanities.

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Theatre UMF presents “Hamlet,” Nov. 16-19

FARMINGTON, ME  (November 1, 2017)—Elsinore Castle, William Shakespeare’s fictional home of Danish royalty, is once again coming to life with the University of Maine at Farmington’s major fall production of “Hamlet.” This Theatre UMF production will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 18, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 19 in the UMF Alumni Theater.

Directed by Jayne Decker, playwright and UMF faculty member, Hamlet tells the haunting tale of the prince of Denmark and his tragic journey as he seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius who has murdered his father and married his mother. As is characteristic of Shakespeare’s works, the play is a complex study of human frailties and their ultimate consequences.

One of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays, Hamlet is also one of the stage’s greatest challenges to present. The typical UMF October performance was scheduled for November to allow for the nearly-all student cast and crew to immerse themselves in the play on a whole other level.

UMF student Jonas Maines as Hamlet in Theatre UMF fall production, Nov. 16-19, in UMF Alumni Theater.

UMF student Jonas Maines as Hamlet in Theatre UMF fall production, Nov. 16-19, in UMF Alumni Theater.

“There’s a reverence and an expectation to performing Shakespeare,” said Decker.  “Students actors and our entire crew have to bring the highest level of dedication and discipline to the performance.”

Daniel Gunn, UMF English professor, serves as the production’s dramaturg, a literary specialist to help the actors have a deep understanding of Shakespeare’s dialogue. The recreation of Hamlet’s castle by Stan Spilecki, scene and lighting designer, and a student crew is the most massive set design in 10 years of theater productions at UMF.

The work of student costume designer, Madison Uliano, helps transport the audience to the 16th century Shakespearean experience, and sound designer, Michael Diffin, adds another layer of ghostly elements and sound effects.

“This is a huge undertaking, and our students have embraced the challenge,” said Decker.

An award-winning playwright, Decker has directed numerous productions at UMF Alumni Theater. Her production, “Coyote on a Fence,” was awarded a Moss Hart Memorial Award by the New England Theatre Conference—New England’s oldest and largest regional theatre association. Her other directorial work includes Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” George Brant’s “Elephant’s Graveyard,” the musicals “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Oliver!” and productions of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

She has also presented workshop productions of her original plays “Good Medicine;” “Stars Falling,” winner of the 2002 Maine Playwriting Award; “Jelly Moonshine;” and “Songbird,” a touring play about the Iraq War. “Cracked Shells,” an original play by Decker about domestic violence, was commissioned by Franklin County Network’s Peace in Our Families and was featured again at the 2009 Maine Women’s Studies Conference.

This Theatre UMF production is sponsored by the UMF Department of the Arts. The play’s subject matter is of an adult nature.

Tickets for the performance are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and non-UMF students and $5 for UMF students with I.D. Tickets are available at the time of the performance and can be reserved by calling the Theatre UMF box office at 207-778-7465.

Note: Cast and Crew: student’s names include hometowns

Director – Jayne Decker
Dramaturg – Daniel Gunn
Scene and Lighting Design – Stan Spilecki
Costume Design – Madison Uliano (Bar Harbor)
Sound Design – Michael Diffin
Stage manager – Hope Lash (Waldoboro)

Bernardo – Andrew Wilcox (Livermore Falls)
Claudius – Steffon Gales (Roxbury, Mass.)
Gertrude – Aislinn Forbes (Andover)
Ghost – recorded voice – Stan Spilecki
Grave Digger Clown – Brock Bubar (Etna)
Guildenstern – Declan Attaway-Murphy (Portland)
Hamlet – Jonas Maines (Portland)
Horatio – Astra Pierson (Farmington)
Laertes – Julie Guerra (Falmouth)
Marcellus – Matthew Dotson (Boerne, Texas)
Ophelia – Hailey Craig (Trenton)
Osric – Henry Wanat (Parkman)
Polonius – Daniel Gunn
Reynaldo – Allison Bernier (Livermore Falls)
Rosencrantz – Kayla Ide (Ide)
The Player King – Ian Grima (Rockland)

The Dumbshow Players:
(may have multiple roles)
Cody Curtis (Pittsfield)
Jurnee Dunn (Rockland)
Brittany Hemphill (Skowhegan)
Bri Livingston (Lisbon)
Eila McCulloch (Scituate, Mass.)
Laney Randolph (Hartford)
Eliza Robinson (Camden)

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Media contact: Jayne Decker, UMF director of theatre and the Emery Community Arts Center, 207-778-7319, or

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo caption: UMF student Jonas Maines as Hamlet in Theatre UMF fall production, Nov. 16-19, in UMF Alumni Theater.



UMF holds 10th annual Turkey Trot, Nov. 18

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 31, 2017)—Making a healthy lifestyle a priority for the holidays? Join the University of Maine at Farmington Fitness and Recreation Center’s 10th annual Turkey Trot, Nov. 18, 2017.

UMF Turkey TrotThis seasonal community fitness activity event features 5K and 10K road races and a 1-mile Kids Fun Run (10 and under.) The Kid’s Fun Run starts at 9:45 a.m. and the 5K and 10K Turkey Trot starts at 10:15 a.m. Childcare is provided for children of parents running in the races by the FRC staff.

Registration is required to participate and can be done in advance or on race day. Pre-registration can be done online at or with a walk-in, mail-in form found at Pre-registration ends Thursday, Nov. 16.

Race day registration is from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the FRC.

Registration for the 5K for adults is $20 on race day, $15 in advance; 10K for adults is $25 on race day, $20 in advance; 5K for UMF student with I.D. is $15 on race day, $10 in advance; 10K for UMF students with I.D. is $20 on race day, $15 in advance; and for the Kids Fun Run registration is $8 on race day and $5 in advance.

Free T-shirts will be handed out to the first 100 registered runners.

For more information, contact Leah Brackett, UMF coordinator of youth programs, intramurals, and recreation, at 207-778-7138, or

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF image

UMF Instrumental Ensembles with Steven Pane, pianist, perform Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Nov. 8

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 26, 2017)—The UMF Instrumental Ensembles, under the direction of conductor Eric Thomas, will present a program featuring performances by the orchestra and band at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Nordica Auditorium in Merrill Hall on the University of Maine at Farmington campus.

Steven Pane

Steven Pane

The program will feature a performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with Steven Pane, UMF professor of music, as the piano soloist. Since its premiere in 1924, Rhapsody in Blue has become one of the most popular and recognizable works of American concert music. Often said to evoke Gershwin’s native New York City, the rhapsody blends classical elements with American jazz sounds into a distinct musical style.

Also included on the program will be Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro,” a piece often heard in film soundtracks and well-known for its enigmatic melody and striking, dance-like rhythms. Rounding out the night will be Julie Giroux’s “Before the Sun,” David Mair’s “A Touch of the Union Jack” and “Concerto for Four Violins” by the baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann.

The Instrumental Ensembles at UMF, led by Thomas, present an open and collaborative model, welcoming performers of all skill levels. Each concert features diverse works in numerous different configurations, all responding to the interests and inclinations of the players. Past concerts have featured a trombone trio, a brass quintet, a string quintet, and a jazz band, in addition to the regular performances of the orchestra and band.

Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for children and UMF students with student I.D.

This event is sponsored by the UMF Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

For further information, contact Matthew Houston at

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption:  Steven Pane