Five days before Christmas, a local musician and his family lost everything in a fire, including a massive music collection, instruments and family relics. Now Waldo County’s music community wants to help get the family back on their feet and get the musician back on the stage with a benefit concert in Belfast.
Brice Sinclair and Marylyn Wood-Sinclair of Brooks lost their home and most of their possessions in a house fire on Dec. 20, 2022. The grease fire gutted their family home and destroyed Sinclair’s music collection of pianos, anthologies and more than 14,000 vinyl records.
“Music to Brice, means everything. Music, to me, is the most comforting and rewarding gift that was given to us,” Wood-Sinclair said.
Friends and lovers of Sinclair’s music are now raising funds to support the family through this transition with a benefit concert at Belfast’s American Legion post on Sunday.
“I didn’t expect it. It’s a good feeling to know that people care,” Wood-Sinclair said.
Sinclair began playing the piano at nine years old. He met Wood-Sinclair in 1994 in Moncton, New Brunswick, while he was playing with the Gem Tones and she was managing 35 bands. They bonded on their love of music, Wood-Sinclair said.
Sinclair and Wood-Sinclair moved to Brooks in 1997. Wood-Sinclair worked as a mental health social worker in Waterville until 2005. Meanwhile, Sinclair quickly dove into the Maine music community. He’s a member of the Belfast-based band the Nomads.
Over the years, Sinclair has played backup on records and opened for Kenny Rogers, Tiny Tim and Jonathan Edwards, as well as playing in bands.
Some of those experiences, recorded on vinyls, have been lost forever to the fire, Sinclair said. He estimates that his collection was worth around $300,000. The fire also destroyed two pianos and valuable first editions of vinyl records by Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.
“It was hard because some of the albums I played on, you can’t replace those. Losing a lot of that stuff was pretty devastating to me,” Sinclair said.
Wood-Sinclair also lost the house she built as a single mother and vast records of her ancestry dating back seven generations when her family came to America on the Mayflower.
After the fire, local musicians, music lovers and friends decided to organize the fundraiser to help Sinclair, Wood-Sinclair and their two grandchildren they are fostering.
The Really Big Show is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Post #43 at 143 Church St. in Belfast. Tickets will cost $10. Peter Clifford, John Mank and Sam Ladd are organizing the benefit concert.
“I love his music. Sam and I want to see him keep going,” Clifford said.
A spate of Maine musicians will be performing, including Dave Archibald, Peter Re, Christine Poulson and Dave Thibodeau. Sinclair will also take the stage with the Nomads, which Ladd is in as well.
Sinclair is a bit humbled by the help they are receiving.
“I’m not a showboater — I’m a bit embarrassed. But I’m so thankful that they’re doing it,” Sinclair said.