Get To Know: Marcy Milne McCann

Marcy Milne McCann is the president of the board of directors of the Friends of Centennial Hall in North Hampton.

What is Friends of Centennial Hall?
FOCH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, renovate and maintain historic Centennial Hall for joint use by both private citizens and the public. To meet the challenges of our most ambitious revitalization effort to date I also assumed the position of executive director. As such, I manage the building, the tenants and the nonprofit organization.

Tell us a little about its history.
In 1997, a group of citizens, many of them alumni of Centre School, joined forces to preserve the Hall. … Since FOCH assumed stewardship of Centennial Hall … there have been 11 separate improvement initiatives, all focused on enhancing the building’s appearance and functionality. … Each of these projects has been successfully funded and completed, overseen by an
all-volunteer board with no paid staff.

Any recent projects?
After conducting a complete building assessment funded in part by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, FOCH recently launched the most ambitious effort in our history, a revitalization proceeding along two tracks: rehabilitation and access improvement. The approach to rehabilitation and access improvement is designed in three phases to provide the best possible results at the most reasonable cost and will keep the building open for active use throughout construction.

Can you provide us with some details?
The priority need at the center of this project is to ‘Open the Ballroom’ and restore access to the grand second floor and its 225-person capacity. This will greatly expand current performing arts programming and provide the community at large with what is desperately needed — private/public assembly and function space for a myriad of activities. A fully functioning large event space will bring the benefits of the creative economy to North Hampton, drawing even more arts and culture consumers. Our Open the Ballroom Campaign received a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program [LCHIP] challenge grant of $200,000 last winter, one of the largest historic resource grants given. This was the largest grant award for a historic resource on the Seacoast, in a very competitive year. These funds were designated for Phase 1 of our revitalization and matched in three months with contributions from residents, businesses and foundations. Projects in Phase 1 have a completion target in early spring of 2020, well ahead of LCHIP specifications for grants to be awarded in full.

I understand you worked with other folks. Who else helped make this happen?
FOCH … has benefited greatly with the support and assistance provided by North Hampton’s Heritage Commission, Historical Society, town departments, neighbors and business community. … For example, the law firm Donahue, Tucker & Ciandella have provided legal support for many, many years with immeasurable value. There are two key players with expert skills, dedication, and work ethic center to the current revitalization project’s success. General Contractor and Project Manager Peter Goodrich and historic preservationist and restoration specialist Steve Bedard. It’s accurate to say that we would not be at this exciting stage in delivering a fully accessible and restored building without their steadfast and dogged determination to get things done and done to the highest standards at the best possible price and with the best attitude.

Are you from the area? If not, where from and what drew you here?
I grew up in southern Connecticut, moved around and across the states before spending a significant part of my life in the Bay Area. I have been fortunate to have traveled extensively domestically and internationally and always found myself drawn to the New England coastline. When you live without the ‘seasons,’ the holidays feel disingenuous and hollow to some extent. Living on this beautiful coastline with access to the mountains and airports within a reasonable drive — is there any other place better to live and raise a family? I don’t think so.

What is your favorite part about North Hampton?
Community. We have a tremendously loyal support base in town, as we do with our neighbors, all town departments and commissions and the North Hampton Business Association Community. The only way we have been so successful with our initiatives is because of the people here in town. The support and philanthropy of North Hampton residents is and has been so rewarding professionally and personally and has kept me enthusiastic about the potential for the Hall for many years.
— Rob Levey

Going places: Art exhibition features on-location watercolors

The Seacoast Artist Association’s featured artist for the month of January is Doris Rice, a painter and art instructor.

Rice lives on the Seacoast and will have her exhibition, titled “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” displayed at the Artist Association’s gallery in Exeter.

“As a young artist, my passion was drawing, which also involved me in printmaking and watercolor,” Rice said.

She attended the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and earned her bachelor of fine arts, learning multiple ways of creating art.

After working as an illustrator in an advertising studio for several years, she moved to the Seacoast and started a family.

In 1986, Rice attended her first plein air watercolor workshop, which involves painting outdoors, and she has stuck with the technique since.

“It was with Judy Wagner, a noted watercolor artist and author of Painting with the Whites of your Paper. Judy and her friend Tony Van Hasselt introduced me to a new world of expression,” said Rice. “The rapid execution and intense on-location focus suits me well. From there, I have grown. I love being outdoors and I love watercolor. It’s a perfect blend for me.”

Besides creating art, Rice also teaches painting classes throughout North America and Europe.

She began teaching also in 1986, starting at Art East in North Hampton.

She has also taught at the Seacoast Artist Association and with youth programs, artistic residences at schools, and nursing homes. Local one-day workshops assist with watercolor skill development.

“I currently offer programs for a local nursing home in Rye and a retirement community with classes at three campuses, and [offer] adult education classes twice a year in Kittery, Maine,” she said.

Rice hosts weekly travel workshops once a month from March to October, calling them “field trips.”

“We travel to the location and settle in to paint. We stay in a centralized accommodation, often having meals and social time together as we consider the culture, wines, food, history, and of course we paint all of it,” Rice said. “We discover things about ourselves, our own painting styles, our opinions. … It’s an ever-evolving process. One experience leads to another, so the future is always an experience to look forward to.”

Some of the European countries Rice has traveled to are France, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

She has also been to various parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico and California.

While she may return to a location, the experience is never the same and always has a new component.

“As an artist as well as a teacher, I am delighted to see new places, be in new locations for new experiences, and to be able to share the world through paintings and bring other artists to a new adventure,” she said. “I find fulfillment in seeing the world around me, and reflecting on what it means to me.”

When Rice is not painting, she stays busy with culinary arts.

She said she can feel a sense of community around food and finds the creation of foods to be sensory, visual and savory.

Rice’s work will be exhibited at the gallery throughout January.

The gallery is located at 130 Water St. in Exeter.

“The featured artist wall offers the opportunity to find completion with those thoughts and those times. Preparing work for exhibition is a multi-step process, and I am happy to see how many have joined me to bring their art to this level,” she said.

While Rice’s work will only be at the gallery for January, she also has her work displayed and available to purchase at Kennedy Gallery at 41 Market St. in Portsmouth.

Lightship Editions and are both online galleries, where you can find her work as well.

Rice also paints on commission for individuals and organizations. She can be contacted at

— Danielle Roberts

Eat with Santa

Join Santa for North Hampton’s annual Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the North Hampton Town Hall.

There will be three seatings, 8, 9:15 and 10:30 a.m.).

The cost is $8 per person.

Reservations are required; register at

Or enjoy a breakfast buffet and see Santa at Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

Take a selfie with Santa and enjoy a festive breakfast buffet, which includes traditional favorites at The Breakers.

The cost is $18.95 for adults and $12 for kids 5 to 12 (plus tax and gratuity); children 4 and under eat free.

Reservations are suggested: 926-6762 x610.

Vintage shopping

The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Edition will be held Friday, Nov. 29, from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lafayette Plaza in North Hampton.

Seventy vendors will offer decorated and curated booths with vintage treasures, holiday treats, upcycled salvage styles and unique handmade gifts.

Tickets are $10 at

Free admission for children under 16.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, the 2019 Hampton Winter Antique Show will be held at the Best Western in Hampton from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Check out the vendors displaying and selling 18th- and 19th-century furniture, Americana, ceramics, paintings, silver, toys, folk art, jewelry, nautical and more.

Admission is $10.

Shop local

The Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce and many local businesses will be promoting Shop Local Week from Friday, Nov. 29, through Friday, Dec. 6. Get a jump on your Christmas shopping, as many of the local shops are having special deals and incentives.

Each of the participating locations will be hosting a raffle, and the more places you visit, the more chances you have to win.

If you would like to participate in a larger raffle, pick up a “Passport” at the following locations: the Chamber office, Harp’s Variety, Wicked Flannel or Your CBD Store.

Once you have one, when you go to each location, get them to stamp your passport.

All Passports must be turned in to the Chamber office no later than 4 p.m. on Dec. 6 to be entered into the drawing.

Whoever has visited the most locations and gets a stamp will be the winner. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn from a hat.

Holidays in Hampton: Tree lighting and parade bring festive fun to downtown

A fun-filled holiday-themed weekend in downtown Hampton will kick off with a tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 6, at Marelli Square.

The tree lighting event runs from 6 to 8 p.m., with the lights flipped on around 7 p.m., and will feature music, a photo booth, hay rides and a surprise visit from Santa Claus.

Local businesses will be open during the event offering treats such as hot chocolate and popcorn.

“It’s definitely a fun night,” said Dean Merrill, the president of Experience Hampton, which collaborates with Hampton Parks and Recreation to put on the tree lighting.

Experience Hampton also hosts the annual Main Street Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The organization has been putting on the parade since 2010, a few years after the Hampton Chamber of Commerce put it on the back burner.

Experience Hampton was founded specifically by a group of business owners to host the parade every December.

“It’s bigger than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Merrill joked.

“It’s one of the largest [local] Christmas parades and a lot of people come out for it.”

The parade begins at 1 p.m., kicking off at the bridge in North Hampton and ending on Winnacunnet Road.

This year’s theme is “Main Street Christmas” focusing on the Hampton community.

There will be 10 marching bands.

Some are high school bands, such as Bedford, Winnacunnet and Salem, but there will be other local bands performing, such as the Boston Firemen’s Band, NH Pipes and Drums, NH Police Association Pipes and Drums, and the UNH Winter Guard.

As for floats, some featured are the Hampton Rotary Club, Miss Hampton Beach 2019, Seacoast Powersports, Great Bay Limousine, and The
Old Salt.

This year, the Grand Marshals of the parade will be the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway, a local chapter of the East Coast Greenway.

They have been working on bringing the Rail Trail to the Seacoast, turning former railroad tracks into a network of state trails for hiking, biking and more.

“With the theme of Main Street Christmas, it seemed fitting to highlight the effort of the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway, dedicated to making Hampton’s downtown corridor more pedestrian-friendly and accessible,” Nicholas Bridle, vice president of Experience Hampton, said in a press release.

Merrill said Experience Hampton begins planning for the parade in March and organizes a lot of fundraisers to raise money for it.

The biggest fundraiser is a golf tournament at the Pease Golf Course, where they raise money from sponsors, golfers, businesses and people in the Hampton area and host a golf raffle.

“All of the work needed to ensure a successful event is a lot of time and effort. We really couldn’t put on this event without the help of the volunteers and the support of the town,” said Merrill.

This year’s parade is dedicated to the memory of Nancy Waddell, who died earlier this year.

She was the Parade Committee Chair for Experience Hampton for many years.

“She was like ‘parade central,’ so we thought it would be a neat way to honor her,” said Merrill.

“Nancy connected all the dots and kept us on task. We thought dedicating this year’s parade in her memory would help keep us focused and hopefully put on an event that she would have been proud to take part in,” said Bridle.

Crowds for the parade are large; an estimated 20,000 people came out in 2018.

People start lining up for the parade anywhere between half an hour to an hour beforehand, and Merrill said they have recently added a few new components to that time before the parade starts.

“The downtown area will have the Hampton Academy choir and Winnacunnet High School chorus performing prior to the parade, to put you in the Christmas spirit,” he said.

Merrill hopes that everyone will have a fun day in town if they decide to attend the parade.

For him, the crowd size isn’t as big a deal as it is to see the positive reaction from children and families.

“As long as I make a little child happy that day and they get to meet Santa at the end, I think that’s more important to us [than how many people attend],” he said.

The weather isn’t a factor for this parade either, as they never have a makeup date and once put it on during a snowstorm.

“We’ve got all our ducks in a row and we’re excited to have a fun Saturday, rain or shine,” Merrill said.

The annual Christmas tree lighting will happen from 6 to 8 p.m. at Marelli’s Square Gazebo on Route 1 in Hampton on Friday, Dec. 6.

The Main Street Christmas parade will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the North Hampton bridge.

It will end at Winnacunnet Road, so there will be plenty of space along Lafayette Road throughout Hampton to find a perfect viewing spot.

Both events are free for everyone to attend.

“Hampton is our community, and we hope that everyone comes out and enjoys both days,” Merrill said.

— Danielle Roberts

Holly Days Fair

The annual Parish Holly Days Fair at the Sacred Heart School Gym in Hampton will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Shop among craft vendors, visit the Mrs. Claus Bakery and the Kafe Kringle for goodies, coffee or lunch, and get your gifts wrapped at the Elf Stop Wrapping Station.

Kids can write a letter to Santa and sing along to Christmas songs, and at 10:15 a.m., a folk tale will come to life.


Sound the trumpets: Winnacunnet alum returns for concert

If you are looking for an afternoon of entertainment and good music, check out “From Stardust to Penny Lane” featuring trumpeter Jay Daly on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 3 p.m. at Winnacunnet High School.

Daly graduated from Winnacunnet in 1975 and has been part of the music industry since.

“I got the music bug when I started working with a funeral home to play taps [on the trumpet],” he said.

“They’d hire me to go into the cemetery and play, and it was an emotional tune. And they were paying me for it!”

Being able to connect to people through music made Daly want to continue playing the trumpet.

After taking lessons and being part of the music program at school, Daly attended the University of New Hampshire and studied music education.

“My [band] director said it was tough to make it to the business, so [he advised] me to get my music education degree and put it in my back pocket. You can always fall back on teaching,” he said.

Daly ended up using his degree as a middle school band director in Merrimack for three years.

While he was teaching, he still wanted to play the trumpet and eventually began to pursue a career as a musician full-time.

He has performed with the Seacoast Big Band and the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and has also been a part of many theaters and pit orchestras.

He worked with The Book of Mormon in Hartford, Conn., and most recently did a two-week run with the musical The Bodyguard in Boston.

“I’m a freelancer and pick up work, and I hope it’s good and plentiful. I’m not a soloist that often, so this concert is kind of special,” Daly said.

Daly was approached for this upcoming concert at Winnacunnet by the church he was a part of growing up.

The Hampton United Methodist Church was looking into ways to raise money for the church and families in need, and contacted Daly about doing the concert.

Daly had the freedom to decide what he wanted to do for the show, and decided on a tribute to five decades of music.

“This is all the trumpet solos that were [in popular music] from the 1920s through the 1980s.

It’s a whole medley of tunes that … will be nostalgic for anyone who wants to go back and remember it, and there will be a whole group of people who haven’t heard this music and it won’t be familiar,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to play at my alma mater, and now I’m back at my high school and the concert is being produced by my hometown church.”

There will be plenty of famous solos performed by Daly at the concert, backed up by the Seacoast Big Band.

“Stardust” by Hoagy Charmichael and “Penny Lane” by The Beatles (which features a trumpet solo) are the title tracks of the concert.

Daly also plans on performing “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and the theme song from the Rocky series by Maynard Ferguson.

There will be many other songs featured as well for guests to enjoy.

“Everyone kind of enters a musicaltime capsule, where they walk in andare transported to another era.

It’s so important to have culture and arts and creativity in life,” Daly said.

The concert will also have a special meaning to him.

Not only did he graduate from Winnacunnet High School, but his late younger brother also attended high school there.

His mother was the secretary at the school for more than 20 years.

“I’m dedicating this concert for their memories, and it’s special that I get to make a dedication,” he said.

Daly has unique ties to the Seacoast Scene.

His father, Jack, founded the newspaper and owned it for 40 years before selling it to Hippo Press.

“My dad would tell me to just take it over for him, but I’m a trumpet player!” Daly said.

“From Stardust to Penny Lane” starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, and will take place at the Winnacunnet High School Auditorium in Hampton.

General admission tickets are $30, while tickets for seniors 65 years and older and youth 18 and under are $25.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on and will be available at the door for $35, cash or check only.

— Danielle Roberts