The Franco Center remains a symbol of a rich part of Lewiston-Auburn and New England history. We celebrate the stories of brave, hardworking immigrants who helped build the area. The Center brings together historians, artists and performers, some of them descendants of these immigrants, with a diverse audience. All who participate in our events share in the past and present day contributions of Franco Americans and others.
The creation of our cultural center in the downtown area of Lewiston has had a significant impact on the neighborhood. People attend a variety of museum, performance and education programs. They bring new life to the area. Our Center helps in the development of a thriving Cultural Corridor for the city. Tourists love us! We have seen tourists from at least four other states, Canada, and France this year.
Don’t forget that live performances are important to children and seniors!
At the Franco Center, we connect artists and audiences through diverse performing arts experiences that engage and inspire including events that are family-friendly, pop culture themed, and/or classical piano concerts.
Live performances, concerts, weddings, receptions, comedy shows, venue rental, music, theater, drama, ballet, dance, cash bar
2023-24 Calendar of Events at the Franco Center
Sept. 10 Midcoast Symphony Orchestra & Friends of the Franco Center Fundraiser: Midcoast Symphony Orchestra musicians and friends who support the Franco Center’s mission work and the performing arts in general, got together and decided they would like to play in a fundraiser for all the good things the Franco Center does in the community. These musicians play in symphony orchestras and other gigs, and we are proud to have them on our stage.
Sept. 30 Davidson County Line Band: Davidson County Line is a three-piece band from Central Maine established in 2015. They perform a mix of rockabilly, blues, rock, and country music. All members have over 30 years of experience and the mix of music is a “crowd pleaser.”
Oct. 7 Runnin’ Down a Dream, Tom Petty Tribute: Each musician in the band faithfully replicates the style and feel of a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert, allowing the audience to experience the music of this extraordinary artist. When five veteran musicians from Maine, with local and national experience, play Petty’s music together, the feeling, meaning, and very soul of these songs are undeniable.
Oct. 13 Sweet Baby James Tribute: America’s #1 James Taylor tribute artist Bill Griese will perform his acclaimed Sweet Baby James show with a performance that needs to be heard. Griese brings the songs and stories of Taylor in a refreshingly authentic way, using only his spot-on vocals and skillful guitar playing. It’s a natural and respectful homage to an American original. Whether you’re a lifelong or casual JT fan, this show is one not-to-miss.
Oct. 15 Piano Series Duo Mundi George & Guli: The duo of George Sebastian Lopez with pianist Gulimina Mahamuti explores music for both one piano four-hands and two pianos four-hands in the standard and contemporary repertoire as well as commissioned new works by national and international composers. Since their inception in 2018, Duo Mundi G&G have given standing-room-only performances of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story for the centenary celebration of the composer’s birth and their two-piano program “Immigration and Opportunity” with works by composers inspired by or written in foreign lands.
Oct. 19, 20, 21 Fright Night Walk fundraiser: The Franco Center once again transforms its basement into a Halloween-themed scary event complete with costumed actors who will be more than happy to make you scream! Day and night walks.
Oct. 29 Fiddle-icious: Fiddle-icious is a community-based orchestra of over 140 members who are determined to preserve the cultural heritage of Maine’s traditional fiddle music, dances, and songs passed down from Scottish, Irish, Quebecois, and Acadian ancestors.
Nov. 3 The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom: “The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom” is a program about women composers who established a resistance network in 1941 Paris. “They put themselves at great peril as they were Jewish and they sought to save French music, culture, and lives. Only the music of men at that time is remembered,” said Grammy-nominated soprano Malinda Haslett, the University of Southern Maine’s School of Music leader of the Voice Department. She will be accompanied by Scott Wheatley on piano. Admission is free. There will also be a slideshow accompanying the concert showing the women composers discussed by Haslett.
Nov. 9, 10, 11 Bricks & Bridges Comedy Fest: The event is a celebration of laughter, showcasing the growing comedy scene in the Twin Cities. The Franco Center will host the Fest on the last two of the four nights (Nov. 10 and 11) in its beautiful Heritage Hall, a spacious room with tables, comfortable seats, and professional sound and lighting, making it a perfect setting for comedy.
Nov. 17 Robert Washington: Elvis & James Brown Tribute Concert: Facebook fans of World Champion Elvis Impersonator, Robert Washington, who is sometimes known as The Black Elvis, say that Washington is “the best Elvis Impersonator on the planet.” Washington is the first black man to win the “Elvis Impersonator World Championship” title, and he did it in the heart of the South: Memphis, Tennessee. Winning that title was a historic event for Washington and other black Elvis impersonators. Washington will also perform some James Brown hits.
Dec. 15, 16 Sights & Sounds of Christmas Variety & Light Show fundraiser: Dozens of performers will sing, dance, act, and produce an energetic and vibrant festive Christmas show complete with an immersive light show. The overall emphasis is to give the feeling of an old-fashioned homestyle Christmas. Dec. 17 “Just Us” Entertainers Christmas Show edition.
Jan. 26 Piano Men: The Music of Elton & Billy Tribute Concert: This concert is a tribute to the amazing songs of Billy Joel and Elton John. This concert combines a 4-piece pop group featuring Joe Boucher on piano and vocals. The music of “Piano Men” concentrates heavily on the recordings by Elton and Billy during their 1970s heyday. You’ll hear popular songs such as “Your Song,” “My Life,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Movin’ Out,” “Pressure,” and “Rocket Man.” https://www.theirsongs.com/piano-men
Feb. 3 Welcome to Maine comedy show: Maine-based comedians Ian Stuart and James Theberge began filming the Welcome to Maine series in late 2020; joined by comedian Paul Hunt in late 2021. Aiming to be both funny and informative, Welcome to Maine blends a mix of updated traditional Maine humor with historical facts and a whole bunch of “yuhts.”
Feb. 10 Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers: Imari & the Sahara Desert Dancers have committed 22 years to sharing the beautiful art of bellydancing with nursing homes and hospitals throughout Maine on a volunteer basis. The dancers spend their summers entertaining at family festivals and charity events region-wide. A Mystical Journey of the Magic Lantern and the Quest of the Golden Veils, A Theatrical Dance Performance is a fundraiser.
Feb. 17 Josée Vachon, Franco-American, afternoon concert: Through her music, Josee Vachon will share her Franco American joie de vivre–her joy of living as a Franco American. Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, Vachon has been sharing her Franco American upbringing for over 20 years, through traditional and contemporary folksongs from Quebec and Acadia, as well as her own compositions. Our audiences love her.
March 9 Magic Bus, The Who Tribute: The Who, one of rock’s most iconic bands, made the charts in 1964 with their hit song, “Can’t Explain.” That was the beginning of their amazing journey. Still performing more than 50 years later, The Who can be heard in commercials, television theme songs and on the radio. Magic Bus, a tribute band based in Portland, Maine, captures the sound and feel of The Who. Let them take you on a tour of the rock band’s discography, covering songs from “My Generation” to “Who Are You.” They also perform select songs from the rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”
April 3 Windham Chamber Singers: The choir gained international attention in 1996 by winning the Prize of Vienna at the 25th International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria. Since then, they have captured the hearts of audiences everywhere. Their accomplishments have been recognized on NBC Nightly News and National Public Radio. The Chamber Singers have appeared on CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and in their own prime time holiday special broadcast on WGME TV. The choir has performed at major venues including Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Notre Dame Basilica (Montreal) and the White House.
April 5: Studio Two, The Beatles Tribute: Band members are experienced musicians of today’s generation dedicated to preserving the memory and fan culture of The Beatles generation. By recreating the Fab Four’s music, appearance, instruments, and onstage banter, Studio Two performs favorite Beatles hits that will bring people to the dance floor. They return to the Franco Center by audience request.
July 13: Heather Pierson Trio: Heather Pierson is a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, song leader, and performer whose inspiring live performances and growing catalog of releases delve into Americana, blues, New Orleans jazz, vocal chants, instrumental piano, and folk. Heather’s sound is evolving once again with her current trio, with Shawn Nadeau on bass and Craig Bryan on drums, performing her equal-parts-New-Orleans-Oscar-Brubeck piano leanings. This trio performs a rich variety of Heather’s originals, jazz and blues standards, and unique reworkings of familiar classics. They are also known for their beloved annual Charlie Brown Christmas tour, wherein they present their interpretations of the work of the late great jazz pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi.
NOON TUNES La Rencontre Series: This quarterly event is open to everyone and is meant for the community of Franco-American and French-speaking families in the area to reconnect with each other and with their neighbors of diverse cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Meals and stories are shared, friends are reunited, and memories are made. Governor Janet Mills, Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline, and Marie-Claude Francoeur of Quebec Delegation Boston are all regular attendees, usually the June event.
Books & Stories Series at noon. The Books and Stories program is a simple format of hosting an author who will read from his/her book, have books available for purchase and signing, and follow up with engagement between author and audience through questions and comments. Buy your books ahead at Quiet City Books, Amazon or other online book stores. The program brings people together of all ages and backgrounds to explore and share ideas about culture, heritage, and historical identities through book signings and author talks and storytelling events with authors and storytellers. Funded in part by the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Arts Commission.
Sept. 13 Suzanne Roy, author of “The Enclave” and “The Legacy.”
Sept. 27 David Vermette, author of “A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife.” In the later 19th century, French-Canadian Roman Catholic immigrants from Quebec were deemed a threat to the United States, potential terrorists in service of the Pope. Books and newspapers floated the conspiracy theory that the immigrants seeking work in New England’s burgeoning textile industry were actually plotting to annex parts of the United States to a newly independent Quebec. Vermette’s groundbreaking study sets this neglected and poignant tale in the broader context of North American history. He traces individuals and families, from the textile barons who created a new industry to the poor farmers and laborers of Quebec who crowded into the mills in the post-Civil War period. David Vermette is a writer, researcher, editor, and a speaker on Franco-American history and identity. He is originally from Massachusetts.
Oct. 4 Paul Dionne, “The Priestess and the Pope” and new “Madeleine’s Inquisition.” Both books have the basic theme that the religious subordination of one sex to the other is wrong. About the author: Paul Roger Dionne was born in Lewiston, Maine, and graduated from Lewiston High School and Kents Hill Preparatory School where he played hockey and baseball. He then graduated from Providence College where he received his bachelor’s degree in history followed by a commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Army (1966-1968). He saw action in Vietnam. After his discharge, he returned to Maine and attended the University of Maine Law School where he received a Juris Doctorate degree. He practiced law in Maine and was elected as Mayor of Lewiston (1980-1984).
Time of event and ticket prices/purchases are available at this link www.francocenter.org/shows or by phone at 207-689-2000. Tickets can also be purchased in person at our box office between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Parking is available in the mill lot. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side.