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A fond farewell

By Dagney C. Ernest | Mar 30, 2019
Photo by: Gene Ernest

Dear Readers — As of April 1, I will be part of the Camden Opera House team. And teamwork is something I know well, having worked first in local radio and then for the local newspapers (both at the same time in earlier years). I started writing reviews of concerts and plays, plus the occasional travel feature, for Rockland’s Courier-Gazette in 1985. I came into the newsroom full-time on Memorial Day 1996; and have helmed some version of the regional A&E section that appears now in the Courier, Camden Herald and Republican Journal since 2003.

The Midcoast has always been a lively haven for creativity, and in recent years the arts have become a real economic force. It’s been a privilege to tell the tales of the people and organizations that keep the visual, performing and film arts growing, giving this area of incredible beauty a soul to match.

A lot has changed since I first hit print, as the picture above, taken during my first summer on the job, attests. From writing on yellow legal pads and then typing for submission, and shooting black-and-white film for darkroom development and printing; to taking photos, and sometimes uploading a story, with a handheld digital device, the physical process of journalism has gone through a sea change. But it still comes down to telling stories. I feel truly blessed to have spent so many years doing that in my community.

And, of course, I’ve been blessed with a bunch of newshound stories to tell myself. Seeing Allen Ginsberg perform “Howl!” at Waldoboro’s Waldo Theatre and being in the audience for one of Dick Curless’ last performances, also at the Waldo (which I hope to see open again in the future), are among the earlier highlights. I spent a lot of time island-hopping: slept many a night on North Haven in order to see the plays there, and followed the troupe to its New York City performance a couple of weeks after 9/11; spent a winter’s day with Bob Indiana in the Star of Hope on Vinalhaven; trudged about Friendship Long Island on another sunny, wintry day to visit artists and scientists alike. I witnessed countless high school and community theater performances and saw many an intriguing art project in process.

I’ve always said the best thing about this job is the excuse to ask interesting people about what they are passionate about. I’ll miss that, and also the people I’ve worked with in and out of the “NewsNest.” One of them, the über-talented Christine Dunkle, is responsible for how good this section has looked in print all these years. She is dusting off her journalism degree to apply it to the A&E beat, as of this week. It’s time for a fresh take, and I know she can provide that.

Many moons ago, when I found out I was to be a full-time reporter, my first thought was of Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday”: I’m going to have to get a great hat, I told myself. I’m not sure that ever happened, but I did have a great time. Thank you, one and all.

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Comments (10)
Posted by: Wayne Keiderling | Apr 12, 2019 07:52



Posted by: Paul Sheridan | Apr 06, 2019 09:45

We, who bring out the Belfast Library FRIDAY NIGHT FLICKS...salute you!

Best of luck, Dagney!

Posted by: Kathleen Fox | Apr 01, 2019 18:51

I think I speak for all artists when I compliment you on your tireless and loving support of all things artsy. We will miss you Dagney, but never forget you.


Posted by: Joel G Wentworth | Mar 31, 2019 22:01

Thank you for your keen support for the arts in our schools and community over the past several years.  Your passion for making sure we would be made aware of every opportunity to be a patron of the artistic ventures locally required much diligence, attention to detail, and desire to serve the public.  Well done in that role, and best wishes in this new endeavor!  Best regards, Sybil


Posted by: Kathy Westra | Mar 31, 2019 18:18

So sorry to see you go, but happy for your new gig at the Opera House. Happy Trails, and much gratitude for all your great coverage of local musicians and music. You are a true friend of the arts, and I'll miss you! Now, about that long-discussed get-together..... Thank you, Dagney!


Posted by: Linda Hillgrove | Mar 31, 2019 15:13

Hear, here......


Posted by: ALICE & WILLIAM DASHIELL | Mar 31, 2019 10:33

You will be missed, Dagney. Thank you for your support of Thomaston library events.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Mar 31, 2019 09:35

WOW! What a loss for The Village Soup. However, Dagney is the Camden Opera Houses gain.

Posted by: Claire Adams | Mar 31, 2019 08:44

All the best, Dagney.

Posted by: Patricia Hubbard | Mar 30, 2019 19:23

Dagney Ernest, I will miss you. I could always count on your honest opinions, positive attitude and impeccable writing skills. The Camden Opera House is super lucky to have you on their team.

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