81 Years of Tradition
Located in Sidney on 175 acres along Messalonskee Lake, also known as Snow Pond, the New England Music Camp was founded by conductor and musician Dr. Paul E. Wiggin and his wife Nina. Many of the camp’s structures date back to 1930 when it opened as the Eastern Music Camp, operating for only a short time before the Great Depression forced its closure. The Wiggins established their own summer music program on the grounds, basing it on their belief in the value of music education balanced with recreation and social activities.
In 1970, Paul’s son Davis and his wife Jeanette took over camp operations. It is their leadership and oversight that enabled the camp to grow into the world-renowned music program it is today. Davis, a long-time athletic director
at the Maine Central Institute and Maine Maritime Academy, and Jeanette, the daughter of an Aroostook County potato farmer, celebrated their Maine roots. Their love of Maine and the Belgrade Lakes inspired them to spread the word about the wonderful camp experience on Snow Pond. During their tenure, enrollment doubled, and the camp began to draw students from across the country and internationally. Davis concentrated on improving the infrastructure and strengthening the camp’s finances, ultimately building an endowment that has kept the camp accessible to talented young musicians from all economic backgrounds. Jeanette, a skilled organizer and administrator, focused on enriching the camp experience. Her influence led to happy and memorable summers for generations of campers and staff, and the footprint she left behind ensures there are many more to come.
In 2010, the third generation of the Wiggin family, Davis and Jeanette’s son John and his wife Kim, took the helm as directors. John and Kim are dedicated to continuing the legacy of his grandparents and parents, continuing to deliver the same topnotch music camp experience that has been enjoyed at the New England Music Camp for many years while creating new and enhanced opportunities, rooted in the arts, to benefit Maine communities and people of all ages during and beyond the summer season.