Contributed photo

BELFAST – Local nonprofits, Atlantic Challenge USA and Belfast Flying Shoes, jointly present the Gawler Family Band in a special benefit concert on Friday, July 29 at the First Baptist Church in Belfast. All proceeds after expenses will support Atlantic Challenge USA and their community-building maritime programs.

Inspired by years of playing for dances in the old Grange halls, the Gawler Family brings a particular focus on sentiments that reflect life in rural Maine, with unique arrangements, historical context, and humorous anecdotes. John and Ellen Gawler are joined by their daughters Molly, Edith, and Elsie Gawler, along with Bennett Konesni and Ethan Tischler. The full band features the high-spirited sound of fiddle, banjo, guitar, cello, and bass.

“Come one, come all!” for sea shanties, work songs, fiddle tunes, and the lush harmonies and beaming faces of these beloved Maine musicians. This concert celebrates the conclusion of an Atlantic Challenge USA program in Penobscot Bay. Thanks to the long association the Gawlers have with the presenting nonprofits, this concert will be a corker!

Atlantic Challenge USA provides personal development, youth empowerment, seamanship skills, and a connection to maritime heritage for participants of all ages, through rowing and sailing Bantry Bay gigs and other traditional boats. Belfast Flying Shoes was founded in 2005 with a mission to bolster the spirited dance and music community of Midcoast Maine. 

Suggested admission for this special fundraiser is $10-38, sliding scale. (Fun fact: Bantry Bay gigs have 10 oars and are 38-feet long!) The First Baptist Church is at 95 High Street in Belfast. Doors open at 6 p.m. Masks are heartily requested. For details, visit or, or contact