Have you ever planned and envisioned a single moment for several months and then had it finally happen EXACTLY the way you had hoped for? I had one of those experiences last night at the University of Maine. It was truly amazing and a moment that will live forever.

After spending the afternoon rehearsing, it proved to be a fantastic show at the Collins Art Center on the campus of the University of Maine. We screened the hour version of “Salt of the Earth” to a loudly appreciative audience that cranked out wave after wave of laughter followed by silence for the emotional climax of the film. Then as the end credits began to roll we had the two stars of the film, lobster fishermen Brian and Stevie Robbins, accompanied by country music legend John McEuen, all seated behind the movie screen. The three of them began playing a rousing rendition of “Don’t Think Twice.”

The sound guys faded out the end credit music, replacing it with the live music of the trio. Virtually no one in the theater suspected a thing — they thought it was just another piece of music score in the movie. But as the credits ended, the screen raised, revealing the trio playing live in a single pool of light. And suddenly the theater erupted in a booming round of applause as everyone made the connection, realizing the 6 foot 5, 350 pound, 67-year-old guy with the shaved head was the same Stevie Robbins that they had just listened to for an hour in the movie, back when he was the captain of a 55 foot lobster boat and 19 years younger.

It was incredible. The synthesis of everything we had planned. Brian laid into the harmonica and Stevie belted out the vocals. Truly a magic moment.

What more can I say? It was what we had hoped for.

And lastly, my heartfelt and sincere thanks to Dr. Malcolm Shick, Maine Sea Grant College Program, University of Maine Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series, Collins Center for the Arts, School of Marine Sciences, The President’s Office, College of Natural Resources, Forestry & Agriculture, School of Biology & Ecology, Department of Earth Sciences, Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), Center for Teaching Excellence, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Honors College, and especially the awesome technical support staff at the University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts, especially Jeff and Scott.

Here are a few initial photos that capture some of the joy of the evening.

Rehearsal in the afternoon. From left, Stevie Robbins, Brian Robbins, John McEuen

Stevie Robbins talks with University of Maine Professor Emeritus John Dearborn. The last time they saw each was 1968 when Stevie was a crew member of the NSF Antarctic research ship on which John conducted his research.

Brian erupts in laughter over something Stevie said as they watch the awesome warm-up bluegrass band, Blue Northern.

The trio, live on stage, shortly after the screen raised, revealing the source of the end credit music.

John McEuen steps forward to entertain the audience with fifteen minutes of banjo solos and stand up comedy as the brothers look on.

"Cultural Liason," Ed Leydecker, with the big guy.

After the show, Ed with an official member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

Me n' Shrek. What a night. What a guy.