Steve Fotter — longtime musician, guitar instructor and benefactor — has raised about $80,000 for many causes over the years with his annual Warming Up for Christmas Concert, and Saturday’s 14th annual show will continue that tradition.

The three-hour concert, to include all sorts of music including rock, blues, jazz and folk, will be held 5 to 8 p.m. at the Williamson Performing Arts Center at Fairfield’s Lawrence High School.

“It’s a great time for people to get together,” Fotter, 60, of Benton, said Tuesday. “One of the best compliments I get is, it gets people in the mood for Christmas. It’s kind of people’s kickoff for the Christmas season. I guess I’m good for the economy.”

Over the years Fotter has raised money for various charities, including the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, through the show, which has been held in the Waterville Opera House and other venues.

This year the concert will benefit First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center and the Cassidy Charette Scholarship Fund, with First Choice garnering funds from ticket sales and the scholarship fund reaping the proceeds of a raffle to be drawn toward the end of Saturday’s show. Charette died in October 2014 in a hayride accident in Mechanic Falls. She was 17 and a junior honor student at Oakland’s Messalonskee High School.

Her brother, Colby, has been a longtime guitar student of Fotter and the families are friends, Fotter said.

Saturday’s show will include a performance by Messo Forte, an a cappella group from Messalonskee High, which will sing “This Little Light of Mine” in honor of Charette, Fotter said.

“It’s going to be a very, very special moment,” he said.

Uncle Dean’s Good Groceries owner Dean Bureau is the show’s bass player and a longtime friend of Fotter’s. Bureau is donating a $100 gift card from his store as part of a separate drawing.

Performers will include pianist Gerry Wright, who was Fotter’s choir director when Fotter was a student at Messalonskee High School in Oakland in the 1970s; the Blues Prophets; and the Christmas Kids, a group of 17 children ages 6 to 13. Teen and adult groups also will perform.

Fotter and Brian LaPlante, a singer and guitarist, will emcee the show, which will include performances by 65 of Fotter’s 95 guitar students. They include people of all ages and professions, including doctors, lawyers and teachers.

Fotter started teaching guitar in 1982 at Al Corey Music on Main Street in Waterville, and eventually he began teaching in his home studio, his current venue.

He started the Christmas concert as a way to raise money for heating assistance for those in need — thus, the name Warming Up for Christmas. He began using students in the performance 10 or 11 years ago.

“We’ve done better every year,” Fotter said. “We started really small. When I started using students, that brought a lot of people in.”

Fotter teaches six days a week and spends three months preparing for the show. He arranges songs, writes parts and organizes all performers. His wife, Linda, helps.

“It’s a ton of work,” he said, “but it’s my way of giving back. I’ve been blessed with a great gift, a good deal of talent, and music is my life. I love performing. I love playing. I love helping out the community in every way. It’s a good feeling. It’s a great feeling. You can go to bed satisfied and happy with what you’ve done.”

A 1973 Messalonskee graduate, Fotter has kept in touch with former classmates and some, including Down Home Music owner Doug Wainoris, perform in the show. Wainoris donates a guitar every year to be raffled off at the show. This year’s proceeds from that raffle will be given to the Cassidy Charette Scholarship Fund.

Fotter said audience members Saturday should see people in the community who they might never imagine are musical performers.

“My eye doctor is one of my students, my personal physician, longtime teachers,” he said. “People will come to the show and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s my doctor up there! That’s my teacher!'”

Performances will range from the Christmas Kids doing a takeoff on the Rolling Stones song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” to Fotter playing guitar, accompanied by a cellist and flutist performing Pachelbel’s “Canon,” he said. There should be music for everyone in the audience, he said.

“They’re going to get a little bit of everything. You get rock, you get blues, you get jazz and folkish-type music. If one song isn’t your style, wait for the next one.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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