Five Questions for 'the maestro'
Rockland — Pep, marching, and jazz are just a few of the musical genres Marlene Hall has directed throughout the course of her career.
The Rockport native spent 36 years as musical director of grades 5 through 12 in the School Administrative District 5, and feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with recently retired vocal director Richard Walton. Hall retired from the school district in 2010.
Now at the helm the Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble and the Breaker's Jazz, Hall instructs musicians of all ages from high school to retirees. Her bands play at such venues as the Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland Summer Solstice, Thomaston 4th of July, Windjammer Days, Boothbay Opera House, and Breakwater Vineyards.
This year they will participate at Union Fair for the first time, according to Hall, who took time out of her busy schedule to answer these five questions:
What aspect of your career has been the most satisfying?
"My years at Rockland District High School. We really had a good group of kids. Rockland kids would always come through for you. We traveled, and some of the kids had never been out of the state before. In 1978 we went to march at the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. We rehearsed our marching on the runway at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. And in the '80s and '90s, the music program was one of the jewels in the crown in SAD 5."
What is the biggest change you have seen in the musical arena?
"Well, first that the arts are the first thing to go when there need to be cuts. That had a definite impact. Instruments are not always available. Music is so accessible now with the electronic media; seems like people would rather sing along than to have the discipline to learn an instrument."
Aside from directing, what keeps you busy nowadays?
"I am a step-on guide for American Cruise Lines. I give historic narrative tours of the area to the passengers of the American Glory and Independence, out of Grotton, Conn."
What do you do for relaxation?
"I have taken up tai chi and ornamental welding. And am looking to improve my golf game."
Anything new on the horizon?
"Alison Machaiek, Barbara Hendricks, and myself are putting together the first Oceanside Summer Theater. The production will be 'Jekyll & Hyde' and will be performed July 18, 19, 25, 26 and 27. There are about 25 to 30 cast members."
If you have a candidate for Five Questions, email Beth A. Birmingham at email@example.com.