Making Music = Making Community

Once upon a time, making music with the people in your community was a common occurrence. Ordinary people were members of the town band, church choir, legion hall chorus, or holiday caroling group. Before we could carry the world’s collection of professionally recorded music in our pockets, we were all musicians. Making music was part of everyday life, not something left to just the professionals.

Fortunately, community music groups are making a comeback. This is good news, as a growing body of research shows a variety of mental, physical, and social benefits of making music with others. For example, singing with other people strengthens social bonds,  raises pain tolerance, and improves our mood. This happens regardless of your skill level or years of training. Everyone can benefit from the act of creating music.

Making Music on MDI

We have a wide range of music-making opportunities right here on Mount Desert Island. From community choirs, to song shares, to open mics, they welcome both instrumentalists and vocalists. Some are seasonal and others run year-round, so it is best to check in with the group leader or venue before heading out. If you do take advantage of the opportunity to make music with others, leave us a comment about where you went and how you felt after!

Choirs and Singing Groups

Acadia Choral Society. The Acadia Choral Society began in 1957, and has been an active part of our community music scene for generations. No auditions are required and members don’t need not be trained musicians to take part. Members practice weekly throughout the year and perform several well-attended concerts. For information about joining, contact the ACS board president Michael Marion at 288-4884, or simply attend a rehearsal.

Bagaduce ChoraleFounded in 1974, the Bagaduce Chorale is an auditioned chorus of 80 to 90 singers. Members come from throughout Downeast Maine and range in age from high schoolers to seniors. Rehearsals are typically held in Blue Hill, but in 2019 they will perform their first concert here on MDI. Learn more on their website or by contacting them at

Community Jams and Music Sessions

Silent City Coffee/Harbor House. If instrumental music is more your jam, check out the Traditional Music Session in Southwest Harbor. Alternating in locations between the coffee shop on the corner of Community Lane and the Harbor House, find them on Wednesday nights from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. This group has an emphasis on traditional Quebecois, Irish, and Scottish tunes played by instrumentalists on everything from harmonica to accordion to fiddle and guitar. Call Ray Lambert for details at 244-8090.

The Somesville Union Meeting House leads a circle of song from 7-9pm on the second Friday of each month. Led by Susan Haggstrom, all are welcome to join this folky and traditional gathering of singers and instrumentalists. Lyrics and chord progressions are provided, and participants are encouraged to bring new songs to share with the group. Contact Susan at for more information.

Part open mic, part community jam, Sips in Southwest Harbor hosts music- making on Mondays from 6-8pm during the off-season.  This well attended event is hosted by Brian Kupiec. For more information, contact Sips at (207) 244-4550 or check their Facebook page.

Open Mics and Karaoke

Tailgate Sports and Pizza hosts karaoke on Friday nights at 8:30 and an open mic on Tuesday nights from 7pm to close. The open mic is hosted by Russell Snyder. Arrive early to almost guarantee yourself a spot, as things really pick up as the night progresses.

Most years, the Northeast Harbor Library offers a First Friday Coffeehouse deep in the winter months (think Jan-March). These monthly events kick off with an open mic from  7-8pm, and are followed by a formal music performance or reading. Check their website for updates. Other local libraries have hosted the occasional open mic as well, so visit their website or local calendars for pop-up opportunities.

More interested in listening to music than making it yourself? Check out our past post on where to listen to live music. Have we missed any music-making opportunities? Share in the comment section below!



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