George Mills has so many memories of playing at the Eastport Arts Center that he can’t quite count them; among these is his very first gig. “I remember the feeling of doing an actual gig for the first time … we played well; not just as some school event and more as a legit band. My musical experience started in pop band in elementary school where I learned to play bass because my brother played guitar. I played in jazz and pep band in high school as the bassist. I started playing guitar because I always liked acoustic guitar pieces and wanted to learn to play complex stuff like Andy McKee.”

George Mills (left) and Maleeka Barnes perform with Shead High School Jazz Combo during EAC’s 2019 High School Jazz Night. Photo by Brandy Argir.

George, who performs McKee’s Drifting in this video, shot July 10, 2020, in Eastport Arts Center’s parking lot, had planned to perform the tune at the Shead High School spring concert, or at the center’s annual High School Jazz Night. ” … but both of those were cancelled by Covid.”

One of this year’s recipients of an EAC Arts Award, given each year to high school seniors from Shead, Washington Academy and Calais High School, Mills intends continue his musical study. “My plan next year is to go to UMaine at Farmington; I will continue to hone my acoustic guitar skills and we’ll see if I decide to participate in bands or anything in school.”
“George has always been very musical and comes by it naturally,”
noted Shead music teacher Robert Sanchez. “Whatever he focuses on, be it the bass, which is my primary experience with him, the ukulele, piano or guitar, he always makes it sound good.”
We hope you’ll agree, and enjoy this special performance of the tune George wanted to share with peers and community to conclude his high school music career.

In this ‘behind the music’ moment, George’s father, Barry Mills, tries to dispatch a persistent horsefly from the set.

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