When does a president have nothing to say? On Saturday, August 9th, Nancy Hopkins-Davisson, president of Waterman’s Community Center, got choked up by the significance of the occasion as she looked out from the stage of the nearly completed building towards a sea of faces. Nearly 350 of them looked expectantly at her from the audience; faces of people sitting on the risers, where the seats will soon be installed, faces peering in from the other rooms through the framing where drywall has not yet been put up and faces peeking in from outside through the open windows. Hopkins-Davisson, along with the president of North Haven Arts and Enrichment, Jon Emerson, took on the task of introducing the first performance to grace the new stage at Waterman’s Community Center. It was a powerful moment for everyone, as history on North Haven was made.

A committee came together in 1998 with the mission “to build and maintain a facility on North Haven that would house a variety of arts, education and community programs for the residents of North Haven, surrounding islands in Penobscot Bay, and visitors from afar.” Five years later, after becoming incorporated as a nonprofit organization and raising nearly $3 million for the project, the doors opened in an informal open house to give that very same projected audience a taste of what the center will soon be able to provide. No one was disappointed.

A full stage of community members performing selections from Islands, the most widely recognized original production to come out of the talented community of North Haven, written by John Wulp and Cindy Bullens, was the framework for a display of the artistic talent of island residents. A recent graduate of North Haven Community School, Jacob Greenlaw, performed the song “Why Must I Be So Young?” from the musical Darren: A Musicool, which he co-wrote this past year as his senior project. He was followed by island prodigy Eva Hopkins, who wowed the audience with “Rhapsody in Blue” on the piano. Greg Quinn, also a graduate of North Haven Community School, performed an original piece on the guitar he had written just the night before and Christie Hallowell, Leta Hallowell, Charlotte Morris and Kelsey Jones played as a quartet of violins.

The abundant talent on North Haven has never been questioned, and the standing ovation from the crowd reconfirmed every ounce of passionate energy that has gone into making this project come to life. What was learned from that afternoon? When the doors open for real in January, 2004, there will be no lack of participation or eager audiences.