Concert to pay tribute to late band member

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WESTBROOK — Musicians from Westbrook will come together Thursday, Nov. 8, in a special tribute to Matthew Rairdon, a 2009 Westbrook High School graduate who was murdered in 2013.

The Westbrook High School Fall Band Concert will feature the Wind Ensemble, a group Rairdon was a part of. The ensemble will perform “Rachel,” a piece written by Molly Ridley, a 2010 graduate of Westbrook High School.

“Molly was Matt’s good friend from high school,” said Westbrook High School Band Director Kyle Smith. “Matt always thought Molly looked more like a Rachel. When she heard of his passing, she decided to write this piece.”

Ridley performed it as a jazz piano solo at Rairdon’s funeral and in 2014 as a piece that featured piano, saxophone, bass and drums as part of her senior recital at Bowdoin College. Terry White, a Westbrook resident who arranges pieces for the Westbrook Marching Band, rearranged the piece for a full wind ensemble.

Smith described “Rachel” as a touching piece and said he wanted to include it in the fall concert this year, the fifth anniversary of Rairdon’s death. At the concert, the music department will also award its first Matthew Rairdon Award, an annual award that will be given to a student who, Smith said, shows “quality leadership and care for others.”

The free concert at 7 p.m. at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center will also feature performances of Shelley Hanson’s “Albanian Dance,” Kevin Putz’ “Charm,” Adolphus Hailstork’s “New Wade N’ Water,” Samuel Hazo’s “Blue and Green Music” and Karl King’s “Circus Days.”

The concert band will perform “Themes” from Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E Flat, Larry Daehn’s “Adagio for Winds” and “Michael Sweeney’s “Due North.” The Westbrook City Band will also be performing.

“I remember how great his smile was and how much he cared for others,” Smith said of Rairdon, a Saint Joseph’s College graduate who at the time of his death was working as an emergency room nurse at Mercy Hospital.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews.

The Westbrook Music Department will pay tribute Thursday to Matthew Rairdon, a 2009 graduate, who was murdered in 2013. 

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