A nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter who has spent more than 20 years touring as a musician, and who just happens to call Presque Isle his hometown, will present a special performance in May at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Ellis Paul will present a benefit concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, 2014, in the Campus Center. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $20 at the door.
Special VIP tickets will be available for $25 and include a special reception with Ellis Paul at 2 p.m. in the Alumni Room prior to his concert. This special music lovers' reception will include a CD signing session, Americana themed refreshments, and a chance to participate in a short jam session with Ellis Paul.
In addition, local musicians will have a very unique opportunity to compete for a chance to serve as Ellis Paul's opening act. UMPI will conduct a contest, Snag the Spotlight with Ellis, on its facebook and twitter pages. The contest winner will get to perform a 15-minute set at the start of Ellis Paul's concert, receive an Ellis Paul gift package featuring some of his CD's, and secure a $100 performance fee. To enter, musicians/singers should link a 1-minute video of their musical performances to www.facebook.com/umpiowls. A winner will be selected based on a combination of facebook likes of the video post and voting by Ellis Paul's production team. For more information, check out UMPI's facebook page.
Ellis Paul's performance will take place during the same weekend that he will serve as UMPI's graduation speaker and honorary degree recipient. This special concert serves as a fundraiser for UMPI's Auditorium Renovation Project.
UMPI's Auditorium in Wieden Hall has a rich history of serving the region as a cultural arts center, an academic training ground, and a public forum for the exchange of ideas. Its stage has featured world-class singers, classical musicians, Shakespearian troupes, magicians, comedians, and New York City dance groups. But that stage, and the space as a whole, has experienced 50 years' of use on a tight budget and needs major renovations.
"We are delighted to welcome Ellis Paul back to campus for quite an event-filled weekend," UMPI President Linda Schott said. "We're very much looking forward to his address during our Commencement Exercises, and we're delighted that he'll be able to follow that up with a benefit concert the next day for our Auditorium. It means a great deal to have a performer of Ellis Paul's caliber and local roots to be able to help us with our Auditorium Renovation Project."
Ellis Paul is one of the most respected artists in the folk genre. Since even before the song The World Ain't Slowin' Down came out as the title track to Jim Carrey's blockbuster film, Me, Myself and Irene, singer-songwriter Ellis Paul has been impressing audiences and earning loyal fans around the world with his meticulously written songs and compelling live shows.
As one of the top American singer-songwriters, Ellis Paul has won numerous national awards including an unprecedented 14 Boston Music Awards. In addition to performing more than 150 shows annually for the past 25 years, he has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., The Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, Carnegie Hall in New York City, as well as festivals, clubs, schools and community coffeehouses all over the globe. He has also performed with countless acclaimed musicians, including: Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Patty Griffin, John Mayer, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin, and the country band, Sugarland. Through the record label Black Wolf Records, which he co-founded in 1994, he has released over 20 musical projects, as well as books and film/videos. His songs have been featured in numerous TV shows as well as several other Hollywood films such as Hall Pass and Shallow Hal, directed by his big fans The Farrelly Brothers.
Ellis Paul's latest album, Chasing Beauty, was produced by Kristian Bush, with his Grammy Award-winning country band Sugarland backing him. Ellis also writes music for the entire family. His latest children's album, The Hero in You won the prestigious Gold Parents' Choice award and will be coming out as a children's book and CD this fall by Albert Whitman & Company. The songs are centered on true American heroes throughout history, including: Rosa Parks, Ben Franklin, Jackie Robinson, Woody Guthrie, Martha Graham, and more. This book and collection of songs was created by Ellis Paul to remind both parents and children of the importance that these individuals had on American culture and history, and to inspire kids to reach for the same great heights that these wonderful characters achieved.
Ellis Paul previously visited his hometown in 2012 to perform a special concert that served as a fundraiser for children's programming at the Wintergreen Arts Center. During that visit, he also provided a mini-performance and musical activity for children and was inducted into the Presque Isle High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a star runner who still holds school records and went on to run on scholarship at Boston College before becoming the folk legend he is today.
Tickets for the May 18 show are $15 general admission, $20 at the door, and $25 for VIP tickets. UMPI students will be able to purchase two tickets for the price of one when they show their student ID's at the Campus Store or at the door.
Tickets will be on sale in the following locations:
UMPI's Campus Store, located in the Campus Center, 181 Main St., Presque Isle (207) 768-9572 (Credit cards will be accepted at the Campus Store)
Morning Star Art & Framing, 431 Main Street, Presque Isle, (207) 764-1810
Caribou Foster's, 117 Bennett Drive, Caribou, (207) 498-3655
York's Bookstore, 19 Market Square, Houlton, (207) 532-3354
For more information about the concert, please contact UMPI's Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452. To read up on the latest news about Ellis Paul, visit www.EllisPaul.com.