February 21, 2003
The St. John Valley will celebrate the evening of Fat Tuesday with an old-fashioned event that will feature music, dance and Mardi Gras festivities at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Tuesday, March 4, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Bengal's Lair in Cyr Hall.
The UMFK corporate relations office is preparing to again host the "Soiree du Bon Vieux Temps," as part of the town's annual Mardi Gras celebration.
"Everyone who attends this event has a great time! It allows people to get together in a social setting, one that also celebrates our culture," said Diane Nadeau-Saucier, executive director for corporate relations, who is organizing the event.
In addition to coordinating festivities, Nadeau-Saucier will provide entertainment on the organ. Joining her in the house band will be violinist Alberie Pelletier, guitarist and vocalist Nelson Michaud, Warren Harvey on bass, and John Babin on drums. The musicians are from Fort Kent and Frenchville.
This will mark the first time the musicians have played together at the "Soiree". In addition Nadeau-Saucier, Harvey, Pelletier, Michaud and Babin all played together in the past.
Nadeau-Saucier is the organist and choir director at the Catholic Church in Clair, New Brunswick, and one of the organists at the St. Louis Catholic Church in Fort Kent. Pelletier, Harvey and Babin retired from local bands, and Michaud continues to perform with the Centerline Band.
In addition to the four long-time musicians, seven-year-old Melanie Saucier of Fort Kent will join the group. The second grader at Fort Kent Elementary School has become a local celebrity over the past couple of years, following her singing appearance at the State House in Augusta two years ago, where she wowed the legislature with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
According to Nadeau-Saucier, the "soiree" was a popular event during last year's Mardi Gras celebration along with the Fiddler's Jamboree, which is also held annually. The Fiddler's Jamboree will be held on Sunday, March 2, from 2:00 through 4:00 p.m. in the Bengal's Lair in Cyr Hall on the UMFK campus.
Admission to the "Soiree du Bon Vieux Temps" will be $3 per person. Tickets will be pre-sold through the UMFK corporate relations office at UMFK Cyr Hall, at Radio Shack, and at the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce office.
The Maine Acadian Heritage Council provides partial funding for this event.
For more information on this event contact Nadeau-Saucier at 834-7800.