Contest provides positive 'noise' for Young & Free, Maine credit unions

Maine Credit Union League Update

Finalists in the band and soloist/duo categories of the Sound Off Music Competition gathered at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer on Thursday, March 31, to perform their original music live before a panel of judges. Portland-based duo Happy Folk and the band Max Ater & The Marshalls of Bath were the Grand Prize winners, with each group winning a $500 gift certificate to Main Street Music Studios and both will be performing at the 2016 Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 12.

Strong media coverage from local TV and radio provided positive awareness for the contest and the Young & Free Maine program.  Nik Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of Happy Folk spoke with WLBZ 2/WCSH 6 after their win. "It stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in, despite economic or other reasons you might decide not to," said Nik.  "[We're] chasing the dream, really, and just going at it no matter what," continued Aria. "If you have work, if you have school...For us, we're full time school students and full time workers. Music is hard, but we make it work. It's a passion and it's never going to die."

This was the fifth year that Young & Free Maine sponsored and hosted the Sound Off Music Competition. The contest is open to Maine residents between the ages of 18-25, and musicians may enter in one of two categories: band or soloist/duo. The four-judge panel was comprised of Andrew Clifford, President and Founder of Main Street Music Studios; Brad O'Brien, bass teacher and member of the trio River Bottom Funk; Jared Wilkinson, folk artist, jazz musician, and member of 2015 Sound Off winning band Sasquatch; and Josh Howes, Branch Manager of Maine Savings FCU.

"Maine Credit Unions really care about reaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes," said Young & Free Maine Spokester Mallory Lavoie in an interview with WABI 5.

All finalists have been featured on the Young & Free Maine website. In addition to the prizes received by the Grand Prize winners, 1st Runner-Up finalists Logan Burns and the band Wyld Lyfe each won a promotional video, along with a DJ interview and live performance on WCYY 94.3. The 2nd Runner Up finalists Paige & Brooke and the band Hours North each won a customized marketing and promotional package.

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Maine Musicians Compete for Recording Time & Portland Performance

WABI TV5 | By Caitlin Burchill

Maine musicians had the chance to score some sweet prizes to kick start their career Thursday.

Young and Free Maine, a Maine Credit Union League program, hosted the “Sound-Off Music Competition” at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer.

After wowing people on social media, the top three groups and solo/duo acts, now had to impress the judges.

Winners went home with recording time at Main Street Music Studio in Bangor and a chance to play at the Old Port Fest in Portland.

“Everyone else is really great, so it was just kind of fun to be here and listen to the competition because they’re all really talented,” said Paige Bacon of “Paige & Brooke,” a country music duo from the Hermon area.

“Maine Credit Unions really care about teaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes,” said Mallory Lavoie of Young and Free Maine.

Both winners in each category were from Southern Maine.

“Paige & Brooke” were second runners up for the solo/duo category. They received customized marketing materials.

List of winners, visit this website.

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Portland Duo, Bath Band winners of Sound Off Music Competition

WCSH 6 Portland | By Chris Facchini

Some talented young musicians competed Thursday in Brewer for a chance to get some studio time to record an album and to play their original songs before a live audience. It's the fifth annual Sound off Music Competition put on by the Maine Credit Union league and Young and Free Maine.

Winners announced in Sound Off Music Competition

Winners announced in Sound Off Music Competition

The six finalists competed before a panel of judges at Next Generation Theater in Brewer. The winner of the competition gets 500 dollars of free recording time at Maine Street Studios in Bangor and a slot to perform at the Old Port Festival in Portland in June. Nick Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of "Happy Folk" are the winners in the category of soloist or duo. The young couple say they're thrilled to play before a hometown crowd.

"Really it stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in you know based on economic or other reasons you might not want to," Nick said. "Chasing the dream really and just going after it no matter what if you have school, you know for us we're full time students and full time workers. Music is hard but we make it work and its a passion and we're not going to let it die," added Aria.

The winner in the band category was Max Ater and The Marshalls of Bath.

Young & Free Maine Attends Week-Long Entrepreneurship Conference

Maine Credit Union League Update

Last week, your League was one of several sponsors for the Maine Startup & Create Week, a seven-day conference hosted in Portland focused on a variety of issues and topics relating to entrepreneurship. There were over 75 events including 45 presentations, workshops, panel discussions, and five keynote speakers. This week-long conference focused on Small Business, Food Innovation, and Scale & Growth.

Lots of millennials were among those attending the Maine Startup & Create Week in Portland. Young & Free Maine Spokester, Mallory Lavoie, attended a number of events including the one on successful career pivots which is pictured here. Maine's credit unions were one of the sponsors of the week-long event.

Lots of millennials were among those attending the Maine Startup & Create Week in Portland. Young & Free Maine Spokester, Mallory Lavoie, attended a number of events including the one on successful career pivots which is pictured here. Maine's credit unions were one of the sponsors of the week-long event.

Maine Startup & Create Week was hosted to showcase the vibrant, startup eco-system in Maine and connect the growing community of people inspired by the entrepreneurial success and potential of the city. Young & Free Maine Spokester, Mallory Lavoie, reported that research by experts has found that nearly 2/3 of millennials want to pursue an entrepreneurial path instead of climbing the corporate ladder. 

"It an exciting time to grow as an entrepreneur and business leader in Maine. There are so many people of all ages sharing the same experiences, proving mentorship, and learning from each other," said Mallory, who attended three days of this conference and six of the sessions offered throughout the week.  "The conference not only opened my eyes to the growing community of Maine entrepreneurs, it also positioned Maine's credit unions as a resource and partner for Maine's young and future entrepreneurs."

Be sure to watch Mallory's recap video on her experience at Maine Startup & Create Week by clicking here.

Saving You Money: Post Grad

WGME

For new grads, there's a lot of uncertainty. For the first time, they're out of college and truly on their own, learning how to make a living and support themselves. Figuring out finances is an important piece of that puzzle. First things first, start a budget.

"I think budgeting really allows you to get a handful of where your money is going," said Mallory Lavoie, the Young and Free Spokester for Maine Credit Union League. "Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, you're telling it where it needs to go, instead of wondering where it went."

Lavoie holds a unique position with the Maine Credit Union League to help young people manage their money. She said, when figuring out your budget, factor in your fixed expenses like rent and insurance. Then plug in your variable expenses like groceries and gas. Make sure you don't forget to leave some money for fun activities.

While you're paying off your bills, don't forget to put money aside. Start a rainy day fund separate from a savings account. "You'll have at least a few months of expenses in advance in case you get sick and can't work or in case something happens to your car," said Lavoie. "You'll have the funds to cover them." 

Retirement may seem forever away for new grads entering the workforce, but it's never too early to prepare for it. Ideally, graduates should try to contribute to their 401K and save ten percent of their income per year.

Once you have a good idea of what you're spending and saving, find ways to trim. Learning how to cook and bringing lunches to work will save you from spending money on dining out. If rent is too expensive, consider living with a roommate or your parents.

Consider that any income, is good income. Even if it isn't your dream job, you should find some sort of employment to make sure you receive a paycheck.

"It may not be ideal but there are always opportunities," said Lavoie. "Go in passionate about it and people will see it and notice and that will help give you some opportunities in the future."

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