The Lincoln Arts Festival originated in the summer of 1980 in response to a growing demand for classical music in the Boothbay Harbor/Mid-Coast area. A small group composed of ministers, chorus conductors, professional and amateur performers, educators, and people who just loved to sing joined to begin a small chorus in the local Congregational Church.
The new Chorus was led by Malama Robbins, and featured Captain Marion Dash. Both were talented solo performers. Their commitment to the new idea generated warm enthusiasm and, under their direction, the Lincoln Festival Chorus was born.
Originally a week-long event, the Chorus was an immediate success. The new baby grew rapidly as Chorus members performed in locations from Wiscasset and Alna to Portland and even in New York City, appearing on stage at the World's Fair. Early performances included works such as Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom and The Peaceable Kingdom, as well as songs by Jerome Kern, Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, Ira Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers. Now directed by Tony Antolini, the Lincoln Festival Chorus is the cornerstone of the Lincoln Arts Festival. It was the first such activity to be established in the area and is the only one to be presented annually for all of it's 32 years!
Our wide variety of music reflects many of the interests and backgrounds of the singers, who are artists, accountants, teachers, carpenters, sailors, doctors, boatbuilders, and fishermen and women, local and "from away" - many of whom still travel several miles each week to rehearse and to present an evening that equals in quality fine performances from all over the world. They are people who love to sing for the joy of singing.
It was the intention of the founding Lincoln Arts Festival Board to encourage the public to enjoy presentations of all of the arts in the Boothbay Region. Consequently, besides musical events ranging from classics to Pops to Jazz, Lincoln Arts also offers poetry, pottery, free band concerts on the Boothbay Common, a glorious Jazz Church Service, and Art for Arts' Sake - a Boatyard Show and Sale. In addition, LAF continues to work with the schools to foster in students a love of music, providing musical scholarships to young people who want to make music and the arts the focus of their lives.
The presentation of programs this extensive and varied takes a lot of effort. Choristers, Board members and community volunteers all pitch in and do the work of advertising, programs, distribution, organization, hospitality, and so much more. Lincoln Arts is very grateful to it's Donors and Sponsors who help to make all of this wonderful work possible.