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Panist and Tuner -- Carl and Susan Chase, pillars of local arts, die by choice

The Weekly Packet

by Anne Berleant

Maine, USA - Carl and Susan Chase, longtime Brooksville residents and huge contributors to the local music and arts scene, died together in their home on October 27. The cause of death was suicide, according to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and by the couples’ own admission. Carl was 77 years of age, and Susan was 75.

“We have had full and happy lives, blessed with extraordinary good luck,” the couple wrote in a letter to the community found after their deaths. “It is unreasonable at our age to assume it will continue that way, and we want to leave while things are still good, before our luck runs out, not after!”

Carl Chase was best known for founding Flash! in the Pans, a community steel drum band that branched into the schools, summer culture—with the Monday evening fundraising concerts—and the wider steel band community, with the 2015 Pan New England Steel Band Festival held in Blue Hill in 2015. 

“He did something that touched a lot of people over a long period,” Flash! treasurer and friend Matthew Freedman said. “I think of kids who were 8 years old when they started and are still playing in their 30s.”

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Condolences to the friends and family of Carl and Susan Chase.

Condolences to the family and friends of Carl and Susan Chase.

This was SAD.

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