As it is every year, Camden will be the place for music lovers on Independence Day — Tuesday, July 4.

Four bands, each with a distinctive style, will perform in Camden Harbor Park and Camden Amphitheatre during the afternoon and evening as part of Camden Rotary Club’s annual Music by the Sea celebration. The final performance will precede spectacular fireworks sponsored by various community organizations, in conjunction with the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

These free concerts are made possible through contributions from club members, local businesses and others. The sponsorships also help fund the club’s grants to nonprofit organizations in Knox County and Lincolnville. The club is dedicating this year’s celebration to the memory of longtime member Parker S. Laite Sr., who was devoted to many local causes.

Seating is limited, so folks are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs. Cold bottled water and freshly made popcorn will be for sale at the park; and there are loads of goodies at nearby restaurants, stores and sandwich shops. In case of rain, the bands will perform in the Camden Opera House. For more information, visit Following is the lineup for this year’s Music by the Sea.

2 to 3:15 p.m.: Steelin’ Thunder, a steel drum band from Rockland under the direction of Mike Miller, will perform rousing selections with a Caribbean flair ideal for dancing or just good ol’ lazy summer afternoon listening. The band plays many genres of music including calypso, swing, rock and jazz. Formed in 2001, Steelin’ Thunder, whose 17 members represent eight different towns from Waldoboro to Belfast, offers one of Midcoast Maine’s all-time favorite summertime experiences. This nonprofit organization uses its earnings to fund college scholarships for local high school students.

3:30 to 4:45 p.m.: The 70-member Casco Bay Wind Symphony wows audiences with Sousa, Broadway and big band music. More than a third of the symphony’s members are music educators and professional musicians; for the rest, music is a favorite avocation. The group’s mission, in addition to providing outstanding entertainment, is to demonstrate that the music and other arts are enjoyable, lifelong pursuits.

5 to 6:15 p.m.: MoJO — the Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra — plays everything from traditional big band tunes to Latin, funk and blues. This 18-piece band, led by Craig Ouellette, performs throughout the Midcoast and devotes much of its time to providing educational and experiential opportunities for music students. Band members are fans of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and other greats.

7:45 to 9 p.m.: The Lowdown demonstrates that when local musicians cross paths and collaborate, amazing things can happen. Singer/songwriter David Dodson of Camden initiated this very thing when his friends, the singer/songwriter duo of John and Rachel Nicholas, moved to the Midcoast in 2012. With the inclusion of Belfast’s Mike Nickerson on bass, they combined their strengths and formed a band that allows them to present their music with more power and texture than they could on their own. This is American folk and roots music with great harmonies and tasteful arrangements, delivered with passion and a sense of joy.

Just as the music begins to die down, the fireworks will start over Camden Harbor. The generous sponsorship of local businesses and individuals make all of these performances possible and provide funds for Camden Rotary’s annual grants to local nonprofit organizations. This year’s grant recipients are Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition, the Sixty-Three Washington Street residence for seniors, MCH Meals on Wheels, Camden Public Library and the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.

For 90 years, Camden Rotary has embraced Rotary International’s motto, Service Above Self. Camden Rotarians work together to help those in need by participating in local service projects, providing grants to local charities, improving living conditions for people in underdeveloped countries and distributing college scholarships to graduating high school students.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or