Hoch honored at Coronation

History comes to life at Maine Lobster Festival

By Dagney C. Ernest | Aug 02, 2017
Courtesy of: Rockland Historical Society A photograph from the Maine Lobster Festival’s storied past shows Ruth Hoch, far right, on the Fishermen’s Memorial stage with, from left, longtime emcee Dayson DeCource and Gov. Edmund and Jane Muskie.

Rockland — As part of the Maine Lobster Festival’s celebration of its 70th edition, the opening night’s Coronation ceremony promises to be “filled with extras and super, super special,” said Sharon Lombardo, Coronation Committee chairwoman.

The extra touches were to begin 15 minutes before the Coronation’s official 8 p.m. Wednesday start with Rockland’s Leroy Peasley singing a song he wrote about the lobster festival, marking its public premiere. Another musical premiere was tucked within the coronation itself, an homage to one of the festival’s historical gems.

“Sharon Lombardo came to me, wanting information on my mother. They’re going to honor her,” said the city’s David Hoch the week before the festival.

His mother, Ruth Hoch, served as festival vice president and ran the Sea Goddess pageant for 33 years, beginning the first year it was held in Rockland (1948).

“Oh, she was a wonderful lady, I knew her personally,” said Lombardo, set to deliver a short speech honoring Ruth.

And then, those in attendance were to experience one of the evening’s special surprises. Ruth Hoch, who had three sons go into military service, wrote a song during World War II about Gold Star mothers and Blue Star families. She wrote the lyrics, and the music was written by Boston’s song-poem vet, Lew Tobin, of Five Star Music Masters.

“It’s about the gold stars in the windows,” David Hoch said, referring to the symbol that a family has lost a member in wartime. “She was very patriotic.”

The song, “My Star,” has never been performed … until now. Native talent Alexandra Linn Desaulniers, one-time Sea Princess (2007) and now a successful Washington, D.C.-based singer, actor and choreographer, has come back to her hometown for the festival and to give Ruth Hoch’s song its world premiere performance.

Desaulniers, daughter of an Oceanside High School science teacher (and sister of the 2004 Sea Goddess), has an impressive resume including stage roles; choreographing the Singing Sergeants, the premiere chorus of the U.S. Air Force Band; and playing feature and background roles on Netflix’s “House of Cards” and HBO’s “Veep.” The soprano introduces “My Star” to the 70th Maine Lobster Festival on a night to be filled with luminaries.

“We’ve got an admiral coming from the Coast Guard and so many people on the stage, I don’t know how we’re going to fit them all,” said Lombardo.

The 70th Maine Lobster Festival runs through Sunday, Aug. 6, in Harbor Park. For more information, see the schedule included in last week’s Courier Publications papers and on the grounds; and visit mainelobsterfestival.com.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.