Education & Heritage
Hill Mill Hockey

A group of boys plays hockey in the parking lot of Hill Mill in Lewiston, circa 1960. (photo courtesy of the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College)

Franco Heritage: classes, events & performances

No events

While the impetus to create the Franco Center as a non-profit entity was the imminent destruction of of the magnificent structure that was known until July 2000 as St. Mary’s Church, the preservation of the building — while being our primary function — is not our sole purpose.

The Dolard & Priscilla Gendron Franco Center also exists to preserve the language, culture, art and cuisine of the French-Canadian immigrants who settled in the Lewiston-Auburn area beginning in the 1860’s. After being discouraged both legally and culturally for over a hundred years, over the past decade or so there’s been something of a resurgence in the pride that Franco descendants of those immigrants feel about their common heritage. To bolster that resurgence, The Franco Center:

• hosts a monthly French-language luncheon known as La Rencontre, with entertainment that is more often than not also in French,
• offers French classes to adults and children alike,
• coordinates after-school French language, culture and art classes known as the Maine French Heritage Language Program in two Auburn elementary schools, where kids in grades K-6 spend four hours per week learning about world Francophone cultures with an emphasis on New England Franco-American traditions,
• produces French language concerts and other events on a regular basis,
• maintains a Franco heritage museum consisting of items and photographs of historic and cultural value, including a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Grey Nuns, also known as the Sisters of Charity, a group of nuns from Québec who worked tirelessly to ease the hardships for newly arriving French-Canadian immigrants is the days before the weaving of the social safety net,
• holds an annual reception to celebrate the latest inductions of Maine members into the Franco-American Hall of Fame, an event that coincides with La Semaine de la Francophonie (Francophone Week) and official recognition by the Maine Legislature of the contributions by Francos to Maine’s historic, economic and cultural life.

French Reacquisition

Upcoming Performances

  • Mar

    Mainely Improv

    Heritage Hall

    Mar 3 - Mar 3

    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    On the Spot Comedy PhotoWhat do you get when you combine the improvisation style of the television show, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” with a Maine-based comedy troupe that loves the art of improvisation?

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  • Mar

    6th Annual Maine's Got Talent 2017

    Performance Hall

    Mar 4 - Mar 4

    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    MGTlogo_2013Maine’s Got Talent  features 10 performing artists competing for cash prizes. Fifty percent of the vote comes from the audience and the other fifty percent from our celebrity judges. The celebrity Judges this year are Tom Doucette, 2014-16 performer of Maine’s Got Talent, Joe Philippon, Lewiston Police Department and Celeste from WBLM’s Morning Show.

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  • Mar

    Blowin' in the Wind – Pettingill Fundraiser

    Heritage Hall

    Mar 5 - Mar 5

    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Graphic - Denny Breau 3-5-17The music of Bob Dylan, Mamas & Papas, Simon & Garfunkle, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and other popular musicians of yesteryear is coming to the Franco Center in Lewiston.  On Sunday, March 5, Denny Breau presents the “Blowin’ in the Wind” concert

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  • Mar

    Piano Concert with Michael Lewin

    Performance Hall

    Mar 10 - Mar 10

    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Michael Lewin at PianoThis Steinway Artist launched his concert career following victories in the William Kapell and the Franz Liszt International Piano Competitions.   Also highly respected as a teacher

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  • Mar

    MSO – Midcoast Symphony Orchestra – Pops at the Opera

    Performance Hall

    Mar 18 - Mar 18

    7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

    MSO Returns to the Gendron Franco Center with
    With Guest Conductor: Eric Hewitt
    Pops at the OperaMSO for 2007 Sponsor Sheet
    Strauss, Jr. – Overture to Die Flede maus
    Wagner – “Liebestod” from Triston & Isolde
    Bizet – Carmen Suite No. 2
    Ponchielli – “Dance of the Hours” from La gioconda
    Puccini – “Intermezzo” from Manon Lescaut, Act III
    Tchaikovsky – “Polonaise” from Eugene Onegin, Op. 24
    Verdi – “Prelude” from La Traviata, Act I
    Strauss – “Waltz Sequence” from Der Rosenkavalier

    For Tickets


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