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Rolf Olsen of Searsport labored on the Maine Middle for the Arts (now Collins Middle for the Arts) from its opening in September 1986 via September 1992, serving first as director of selling and for nearly a 12 months as interim co-director.
I lately learn concerning the passing of James Gorman, L.L. Bean’s grandson. Studying via his obituary, it’s clear that he leaves a legacy of quiet kindness and generosity. He additionally touched my life, albeit very briefly, after I labored on the Maine Middle for the Arts, now the Collins Middle.
Had been any readers immediately within the viewers when Johnny Money, his spouse June Carter Money and their band carried out in Orono again in 1992? This unforgettable occasion was solely potential as a result of Jim and his spouse Maureen offered sponsorship funding for what was then among the many largest artist charges we’d ever paid.
Through the years, I’ve regaled buddies and colleagues concerning the time my spouse Lorelei and I had dinner with Johnny and June Carter Money, courtesy of Jim and Maureen Gorman, who have been additionally on the desk. I also have a image of us with Johnny, who has a field with L. L. Bean’s iconic boots below his arm. There’s a narrative behind this, in fact.
A number of months previous to the live performance, I had the chance to satisfy the Gormans, amongst different potential donors, at a reception on the heart. Standing in a small cluster of friends, I overheard Maureen point out that they’d seen Johnny Money at a venue close to their Florida residence, and wouldn’t it’s great if we may deliver the band to Orono. The following day, I started to discover what it may cost to deliver them to Maine.
As you’d anticipate, a world-class performer like Johnny Money was represented on the time by a significant leisure company in Los Angeles. As I anticipated, the quoted price was monumental for our 1,600-seat live performance corridor. To afford this live performance, we’d want a really vital sponsorship test. So, I wrote a letter to the Gormans, providing a date and asking if this may be one thing they may think about. I invited them to name me, even at residence within the night, if they’d any questions.
Think about my shock when Maureen and Jim known as me at residence the day the letter arrived. They have been thrilled on the concept, and really prepared to sponsor the live performance personally, however they’d just a few situations. They needed to host Johnny, June and their band for a dinner, together with just a few dozen of the Gormans’ buddies. And so they needed to present every band member a pair of Bean boots. This meant I’d have to receive the shoe sizes for Johnny and June, and all band members.
Johnny’s agent listened patiently, however I may sense his full-body eye roll after I requested concerning the dinner and shoe sizes. Who asks a band for shoe sizes? Positive, he’d heard of L.L. Bean, and thought he knew concerning the boots. They are surely iconic, I assured him.
You’ll be able to most likely think about that anticipating world famend performers to decide to having dinner with whole strangers, months prematurely, may be a stretch — there are many very rich individuals who can pay to brush with movie star. Getting the musicians’ shoe sizes examined my persuasive expertise even additional. In the long run, I acquired the sizes, however no written dedication to attend the dinner, solely a verbal promise to see how the artists have been feeling after the efficiency earlier than deciding. I let the Gormans know, and so they OK’d me to signal the contract.
Tickets for the live performance offered out in a short time, even at a reasonably steep (for the instances) ticket value. I labored with the Gormans and a caterer to plan the post-performance dinner, and all of us held our breath and crossed our fingers.
On efficiency day, the crew arrange an elaborate sound system on the stage. The bus with the performers arrived on the stage door simply earlier than showtime. Being starstruck myself, my coronary heart was pounding continuous as I welcomed them. The present introduced down the home and acquired a number of standing ovations.
Positive sufficient, Johnny, June and the band refreshed themselves after which got here as much as the Gormans’ dinner of their honor. My spouse and I had the privilege of sitting with the Cashes and the Gormans over dinner.
Regardless of their fame and stature, everybody was gracious, and the dialog flowed extra simply than I ever imagined. The Gormans and the Cashes gave the impression to be immediate buddies, chatting about widespread outside pursuits, like fly fishing in Alaska. Johnny complimented my spouse’s necklace and defined that he had crafted all of the silver medallions on his black leather-based jacket. June gave me an inscribed copy of her “Mom Maybelle Carter’s Cookbook.”
Really a night to recollect for me and lots of others, and one instance of the legacy of kindness and generosity of Jim and Maureen Gorman.