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News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 25, 2012
Penobscot Music Coffee House bumps up the heat

Penobscot Music Coffee House

From left, Anne Parker, Skip Bean and Lin Parker keep the atmosphere light at the Penobscot Music Coffee House on October 19.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

“I just moved here from Alaska and saw the sign on the road,” said Wendy, a singer and guitarist, and a newcomer to the Penobscot Music Coffee House on October 19.

It’s the type of gathering where people, new and regulars, are all on a first-name basis.

Now in its third year of bringing musicians and music lovers together, the Music Coffee House continues to draw a crowd to the Penobscot Methodist Church each third Friday of the month.

Audience and performer donations are split between a heating assistance fund in Penobscot, which is given two-thirds of the proceeds, and the Tree of Life food pantry in Blue Hill.

This past Friday, musicians were still filtering in at 7 p.m. to sign up for an open mike spot as the first performer took the stage, comprising a chair, a music stand and a spotlight.

Penobscot residents Lin Parker and Skip Bean started the coffee house in 2010 after the idea got kicked around at an informal musical get-together at the church. Church members provide refreshments and distribute the proceeds.

The two-hour slot is divided between an open mike, followed by a featured performer.

“Most sea songs have an unhappy ending, but this one does not,” said open mike performer Frank Gotwals of Oceanville before launching into a song of surviving a 1932 nor’easter gale. “It’s a true story,” he said upon finishing.

“Is your day job still lobstering?” someone asked.

Geoff Warner of Deer Isle shared his guitar and voice for the second hour on October 19. But not before a half dozen singers and musicians shared their songs of the sea, the road and of life itself.