Mama Tried performs alongside student musicians in the Brunswick City Limits fundraiser at Crooker Theater in April. (BETH STEMMLER PHOTO)


On April 8 and 9, the band Mama Tried performed two shows at Crooker Theater as part of the Brunswick City Limits fundraiser, which brought in more than $3,400 for the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.

The band is comprised of teachers from Brunswick High School and other area schools, as well as a school nurse and a local physician. Each year, they combine their talents in support of students — and perform alongside student musicians and vocalists. This was their first fundraising performance since 2019.

At the door of the concert, Brian O’Connor, a Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund board member, had the chance to speak about the fund and how to apply for its benefits with rising seniors, their families and Brunswick High School alumni.

“Events like this are a direct investment in the BHS and Mt. Ararat communities,” he said.

The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund’s primary mission is to award scholarships to eligible high school graduates from Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham who pursue postsecondary education, not only at four-year colleges and universities, but also at trade schools, technical schools, junior colleges and similar institutions. This year, the organization plans to distribute $546,000 in scholarship funds. Throughout the life of the fund, more than $9 million has been awarded to local students.

The organization was founded in the mid-1950s by a group of local individuals led by Mario Tonon. During its early years, the fund’s growth resulted primarily from the financial support of local businesses and fundraising by students. More recently, the fund has sustained its growth with a combination of sound financial and investment management, along with the continued support of local businesses, individuals, estates and trusts.

“Funds raised at events like this directly support our future professionals, service providers and business owners,” O’Connor said of the April concerts. “I also received several donations over the two evenings and had a chance to reinforce the fact that the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund is a needs-based organization run entirely by volunteers. The show was very good, too. We have a lot of talented people in our town.”

Brunswick City Limits was originally dubbed Hot Country Nights, a fundraising show started by Darren Avery at Lewiston High School. When he and band member Clark Porter moved to Brunswick High School in the early 2000s, they brought the show with them. Since then, performances have raised money for the Brunswick High School senior class and the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. This was the first collaboration between Brunswick City Limits and the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.

“Doing what we can to help young people is what we do,” said Porter. “It’s for the kids! We all live in the area served by BASAF, so all of our children may benefit from the organization.”

To learn more about the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund or to support the organization, visit