STOCKTON SPRINGS — The annual Open Mic Plus series returns Wednesday, September 18, at 7 p.m., at the Sandy Point Community Hall. The events run on the third Wednesday of every month, May through October.
The 7 p.m. Open Mic hour is open to all ages and levels of talent. Poets, musicians, jokesters, and storytellers of all stripes — all are welcome. After a 15-minute break for refreshments, the feature performance hour begins about 8:15. The featured performers this month are Gordon Bok with the January Men and Then Some.
Gordon Bok grew up around the boatyards of Camden. In his early years, working on sea-faring vessels, he learned tunes, sea songs, stories, legends, and ballads from the people he worked with. Where he couldn't find songs that matched his experiences or needs, he began to write his own, and has kept up a lively flow of poems, songs, stories, choral, and instrumental works.
He has performed extensively in the United States and in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. He has appeared on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
Bok received an honorary doctorate of science from the Maine Maritime Academy for his reflection of Maine’s maritime heritage in his compositions and performances. His legacy includes over thirty recordings featuring his own compositions and folk tunes from around the world.
The January Men and Then Some are in their 25th year of singing together. In January of 1996 Gordon Bok gathered a men’s chorus, The January Men, to sing traditional and working songs of various cultures. In need of tenors, the group soon expanded to include two women and became the January Men and Then Some.
Over the years there have been 30 January Men, including four Then-Somes. When not singing, they can be found working as building contractor, handyman, harp teacher, jazz pianist, spinnery owner, therapist, composer, gardener, teacher, painter, or woodcarver. Two charter members sing with the group today.
The group has performed at various concert halls, festivals, art exhibitions, coffeehouses, and seasonal celebrations around the state of Maine. They are also famous for their short, unannounced drive-by concerts at banks, hardware stores, assisted living centers, bagel shops, ferry terminals, etc, according to Sandy Point.
The January Men and Then Some can be heard on six Gordon Bok recordings: Gatherings, In the Kind Land, Dear To Our Island, Herrings in the Bay, In Concert, and Because You Asked.
Admission is a sliding scale donation of $3 to $10, free for children younger than 18. For more information, call 567-4044.
The historic Sandy Point Community Hall overlooks the mouth of the Penobscot River, just 3.5 miles south of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.