ROCKPORT — Midcoast Music Academy welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors – Piet Lammert, Claire Donnelly and Paul Benjamin.

Lammert is a lifelong resident of the Midcoast and is thrilled to be joining the MCMA board. He taught himself to play the drums at 12 years old and realized a life-long dream playing with Just Teachers, Midcoast Maine’s preeminent (and only) all educator cover band. His day job for the past 26 years has been as a certified school counselor and administrator, most recently at the high school level for 23 years — and counting. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2018, Lammert decided to “PD proof” his life; that is, find or create opportunities to remain involved in music that wouldn’t be impacted by the neurodegeneration associated with PD. The formula “loves music + loves kids” unequivocally equals MCMA. Long a beneficiary of Just Teachers’ philanthropic giving, it is in many ways an organic progression from playing with Just Teachers to supporting others playing at MCMA. In addition to his background as a musician and educator, Lammert has extensive experience building community engagement, fundraising and grant writing.

Claire Donnelly

Donnelly is a former Midcoast Music Academy student and joined the Board of Directors in 2021. She grew up in Southern Maine, but has made the Midcoast her home since 2008. She is dedicated to community development through live music and currently plays drums in the feminist punk band Bait Bag, which has shared the stage with punk and indie legends Deerhoof, Screaming Females, and Rough Francis. She holds a B.S. from the School of Film and Photography at Montana State University and an M.S. from the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design. In 2011, she launched her own successful graphic apparel brand, Fox Island Printworks, which she sold in 2017. She then spent three years as a community development officer at the Island Institute and is currently working as a freelance marketing director. She recently stepped off the North Haven Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and is excited to bring time and energy as a new board member to MCMA.

Paul Benjamin

Benjamin has more than 40 years of business experience in the Blues music world as a promoter, manager and consultant. He has lived in Rockland since 1973. In 1994, he started the North Atlantic Blues Festival, now in its 29th year. He produces six other festivals, as well as many other shows around the country. Benjamin was brought up on Jazz and Blues as a child by his parents. Over the years, his love turned to the Blues. He has served on the Maine Arts Commission, and was the first person ever elected president of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn. that was not from Memphis. He still sits on a number of committees with the Blues Foundation. A long-time supporter of Midcoast Music Academy, Benjamin is devoted to promoting local music education and performance and helping to raise the next generation of local musicians.

Founded in 2012, Midcoast Music Academy is a non-profit community music school in Rockport. MCMA harnesses the power of making music with and for others, regardless of financial constraints, through instruction, performance and community programming. For more information, visit midcoastmusicacademy.com or call 207-701-7410.