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Saturday, March 19th, 2022, 7 PM

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A message from Kate Dickerson

I love science and scientists. I studied chemistry in college and I've spent my professional life surrounded by scientists and engineers. Science has been the foundation in my career starting with environmental cleanups, then policy work, and now public science events. I think scientists are our unsung heroes, working to figure out the world around us with a passion that few get to see. I am also a huge fan of the arts, but my love for them borders more on awe. Artists of all kinds are able to convey ideas and passions in a way that I find inspiring and magical, all the more so because it is so foreign to my background and training.


One of the major areas of scientific investigation and expertise in Maine is climate change. It was some of those scientists who confirmed that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the oceans, and other scientists and experts are exploring exactly what this means for Maine and the world. 


I’ve known about climate change since the late 1980’s - back when we called it “global warming”. But because I have been immersed in the world of science and the environment, I didn’t realize that I was in the minority with regards to understanding climate change. And even though the fact of climate change has finally been acknowledged by virtually everyone, scientists and science-reliant people still have a difficult time communicating the science of climate change, including what we know, what it means, and what we can do. It has become clear to me that we need more visceral ways to understand climate change than science alone has been able to provide. That is what inspired me to have the Maine Science Festival commission Lucas Richman to write The Warming Sea.

Everyone involved in this project believes in the power of truth, so much so that they have dedicated their lives to finding it. With The Warming Sea event, we are doing more than just providing an interpretation of the science. We will also provide concrete actions that audience members can take individually and as a collective to begin to address the climate crisis in their own lives and across communities. And while this won’t be easy, The Warming Sea project has shown me that none of us are in this alone and we achieve remarkable results when we work together.


I have a deep appreciation for the immense amount of time and expertise provided by the scientists and artists for this project. This merger of scientific and artistic expertise has already helped us reach a wider audience than we would have been able to with science or art alone. The willingness of the artists and scientists to be a part of this project, coupled with their excitement and enthusiasm, provides a deep hope in me that this project will continue, with The Warming Sea becoming part of the programming for other symphonies and public science events throughout the country as they address the climate crisis in their communities. 

A message from Lucas Richman

When Kate Dickerson, Founder and Director of the Maine Science Festival, commissioned me to compose a musical work examining the effects of climate change in the Gulf of Maine and its destructive impact on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, I could not have imagined the scope of the journey upon which we were both about to embark. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of all the world’s oceans and I realized that, for the piece to be more than just an emotional response to an issue about which I knew very little beyond normal news consumption, it would be imperative for me to become better educated about global warming and the multitude of efforts being employed to head it off at the pass.

Kate arranged a series of discussions for me with numerous scientists and town managers by which I might learn about their work as they focus on the ravages of climate change upon the environment, be it on land or on the ocean. Each interview was an invaluable contribution to a sort-of personal graduate-level seminar with every bit of information becoming wound into a fabric imprinted with patterns and images not yet in focus. How was I going to translate reams of data and experiences into musical notes — and to what end?


The answer came as a result of the multiple outreach visits we also made to middle school classes before I had written one note of the piece. We spoke to the students about climate science and the process of composing a new symphonic work. Towards the end of each session, I posed the question, “What would you, as the next generation, like the final message of this piece to be?” Across the board, it became clear the students wished the piece could inspire hope for their generation and future generations. This understanding became the basis for the message sung by the children as an anthem in the final moments of the work: “Hope begins with Truth.” In other words, accept the science and future generations might have a fighting chance against the rapidly encroaching disaster before us.

With “hope” as the focal point, other elements of the work began falling in place. In addition to the children’s chorus, I felt it was important to include a chorus of women who take on the role of the mythological Sirens, luring unwitting sailors to their deaths on the rocks. In the context of the now-titled “The Warming Sea” however, the Sirens sing as climate change deniers whose alluring messages of complacency ensure an ultimate doom to those who listen. The Sirens sing these words in Greek, the language of the myth’s origin, and, with a contrary polarization of the “Truth,” their melody is the direct pitch inversion of the children’s anthem.


The central section of the work is two hundred measures in length in recognition of the State of Maine’s Bicentennial celebration. Every bar in this section represents a year of temperature variance in the Gulf of Maine (1820-2019) with the variances informing each measure’s pitch center. Certain historic events are illustrated musically in this progressive march of the years, including the introduction of the foghorn in 1859, 1938’s first peer-reviewed research paper on climate change, and, as the music builds in volume and rhythmic speed, the advent of the present millennium. Blasting forward into 2020, all the musical elements come to a full collision of forces as clanging harbor bells foreshadow the children’s appeal for hope. Both choruses join together for the final message, peering into the future with uncertainty as the work concludes upon the same unresolved chord with which the piece begins.


I am very grateful to all the scientists and other individuals whose work behind the scenes ultimately ensures we are able to continue our work in front of the scenes. I also offer a big thank you to the Maine Science Festival and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra for facilitating this collaboration and one that I hope will be a catalyst for discussion and action.

Tonight's Program

Welcome from Niles Parker,

Executive Director, Maine Discovery Museum


Welcome from Governor Janet Mills



Katherine Allen

School of Earth and Climate Sciences and Cooperating Appointment

Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Seth Campbell

School of Earth and Climate Sciences and

Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Jacquelyn Gill

Paleoecology & Plant Ecology, School of Biology and Ecology

and the Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Cassaundra Rose

Senior Science Analyst & Climate Council Coordinator

Maine Climate Council

Moderated by Ronit Prawer

Director of the Science and Innovation Network,

United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office



The Making of The Warming Sea Project

by Kate Dickerson & Brian Hinrichs




How Lucas Richman learned about the impact

of climate change in the Gulf of Maine.



World Premiere of The Warming Sea with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, women's choir, and children's choir.


Hear from the climate experts whom Lucas Richman

spoke with for the project. and get their reaction to the symphonic piece.


Barney Balch,

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences 

Sean Birkel,

Maine State Climatologist, University of Maine

Deborah Bronk,

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences 

Jeremy Gabrielson,

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Heather Hamlin,

University of Maine

Cathy Ramsdell,

Friends of Casco Bay

Scarlet Tudor,

University of Maine

Moderated by Kate Dickerson,

Founder & Director Maine Science Festival

Bangor Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Jayce Ogren

Violin 1

Trond Saeverud

Angel Hernandez

Sascha Zaburdaeva

Lynn Brubaker

Richard Hsu

Margi Ruell

Chris Nemeth

Gloria Vollmers

Shaina Graff

Elise Straus-Bowers

Violin 2

Nathan Lesser

Heather Kahill

Ron Conterio

Amanda Cushman

Melinda McCardell

Linda Johnston

Kendall Grady

Niu Ruixin


Linda Theriault

Waldo Caballero

Trevor Andrews

Linda Vaillancourt

Ariel Chapman

Jeanie Wester

Judith Pagon


Noreen Silver

Marisa Solomon

Caroline Reiner-Williams

Tim Garrett

Ben Noyes


Edward Allman

Jim Adams

John Lawson

John Clark

Noel Chelberg


Roberta Michel

Nicole Rabata

Liz Downing


Ben Fox

Katie Hardy

Andrea Heyboer


Kristen Finkbeiner

Maria Wagner

Glen Sargent


Wren Saunders

Lynn Flagg

Susannah Telsey


Nancy Rowe


Scott Burditt

Ken Miller

John Boden

Wanda Whitener


Bill Whitener

Curt Brossmer

Scott Johnston


Michael Tyburski

Sebastian Jerosch

Anita Jerosch


Mo Nichols


William Dietz


Amy Irish


Stuart Marrs

Mark Fredericks

Michael Venti

Torin Smith

Bangor Area Youth Choirs

Molly J. Webster, Artistic Director

Kylie Antworth

Hadley Bond

Lydia Caron

Alyssa Comeau

Lily Deschaine

Bridget Frazier

Chloe Lane

Sophia Lindsey

Thomas Moring

Anna Nangle

Benjamin Parsons

Esmae Stockley

Tristan Uhlman 


Molly J. Webster, Artistic Director

Rachel Dobbs

Sara Hicks

Amy Kurman

Jean Nowak

Claire Picard

Anneliese Smith

Elaine Thomas

Molly J. Webster


The Warming Sea was comissioned by the Maine Science Festival and composed by Lucas Richman. The Maine Science Festival is a program of the Maine Discovery Museum.

Kate Dickerson

Founder and Director

Maine Science Festival

Lucas Richman

Composer, The Warming Sea

Niles Parker

Executive Director

Maine Discovery Museum

Brian Hinrichs 

Executive Director

Bangor Symphony Orchestra

The Warming Sea Branding & Graphic Design

Maranda Bouchard

Short Film filmed by Jeremy Grant

Editing by Patrick Shaver

Video Accompanying the Ochestra by Chuck Carter

Lighting Design by Scott Stitham

Sound by Jeff Richards

Special thanks to Angela Smith, Kim Stewart, Autumn Allen, Trudi Plummer, Tina DeMerchant, Mason Pellerin, Monica Conary, Sarah McCarthy, Megan Mansfield, Matt Dexter, Bobbi-Jo Cochrane, Stesha Cano, Doug Meswarb, Ron Lisnet, Tremont Consolidated School; Trenton Elementary School; Lincolnville Central School; Leonard Middle School; Waterville area G&T, British Consulate-General Boston, Ronit Prawer, Charolette Harris, Cassaundra Rose, Anthony Ronzio


From the first Maine Science Festival in 2015, arts organizations have been a vital partner, providing a way to introduce science in a format that is inviting and different from most ways people learn about science. While "symphony" and "science" are not necessarily connected in most people's minds, THE WARMING SEA is an almost perfect example of what the Maine Science Festival has been trying to do to achieve its mission: use every possible avenue to celebrate and explore the remarkable science in Maine and the people who do (and rely on) that science. Through this kind of programming, collaborative projects have arisen out of the connections made at every MSF and continue today. Our most ambitious project has been a direct result of our collaboration with the arts: The Warming Sea composed by Lucas Richman was commissioned by the Maine Science Festival in 2019. 

Climate Experts

The Warming Sea was informed by interviews with climate scientists and experts up and down the coast of Maine along with conversations with middle school students. This symphonic piece presents the overwhelming issues of the climate crisis through the lens of music, and it is our hope it will inspire our community to all that we can to mitigate and adapt to a chaotic future.  


Cathy Ramsdell

Friends of Casco Bay


Barney Balch

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences


Andy Pershing

Gulf of Maine Research Institute


Carla Guenther

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries


Heather Hamlin

University of Maine

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David Fields

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences


Deborah Bronk

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Jeremy Gabrielson_edited.jpg

Jeremy Gabrielson

Maine Coast Heritage Trust


Kathleen Billings

Town of Stonington

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Nichole Price

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences


Paul Anderson

Maine Center for Coasta Fisheries


Robin Alden

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries


Sean Birkel

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Editor in Chief


Ted Aimes

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries

Assistant Manager

Actions You Can Take

Stay informed

Keep in touch to learn about ways you can help tackle the climate crisis on a local level.

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Subscribe to the Maine Science Podcast. We will be dropping Lucas' full interviews with The Warming Sea climate experts.

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This triple collab between OBC, the Maine Science Festival, and Foundation Brewing is tasting amazing, and was brewed to promote Maine Science Festival’s work exploring hope in the face of climate change in the Gulf of Maine. Hope Begins With Truth IPA (6.1%) is a classic NEIPA, and features Strata, Talus, and Cryo Simcoe hops. Look for it on shelves at your favorite store, or on tap at your local restaurant!

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