Rick Charette Leaves the Stage, and a Legacy Behind


Sharron Collins

Kids listen to the bright music of Rick Charette during one of his concerts. “The kids so enjoyed the music, and it was always rewarding to see the parents enjoying it as well,” said Rick Charette, children’s musician. Past concerts remain fond memories for families and friends, as they reminisce and listen to Charette’s music.

Elizabeth Collins, Staff Writer

Upbeat, child-friendly songs brought the music of Rick Charette into the homes of thousands of young Mainers. The 72-year-old performer announced his retirement this past fall, but he still hopes to perform again with his Bubblegum Band.

Playing and writing music for kids was what Charette knew he wanted to do, and he thanks his fans for making his career possible. “I’ve been able to live my dream and feel fortunate about that. I am very grateful to all who have supported me,” said Charette via email and in a conference call with Anchor staff

“I found inspiration all around me,” said Charette. “My children, my family, my friends and fans, and the world.” Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is what he does best. 

“Only folk songs were available for kids at the time [when he began writing],” said Charette. “I felt that there was a need for songs about their world… fun, relevant songs!” And he was right. Parents and kids love the family friendly songs.

Telling stories about offbeat and yet everyday topics is one of Charette’s best abilities. He talked about how he came up with the song “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.” “Some of my friends went to Hawaii, and I had read about a second grade class that was really worried because Hawaii didn’t have a state fish,” explained Charette. “And the second graders go, ‘We really love the humuhumunukunukuapua’a!’ And they ended up going to the legislature and got it passed, so now it’s the official state fish of Hawaii.”

Those who grew up with his music still remember the tune and words to “Mud” and “Alligator in the Elevator,” which Charette says are the all-time favorite songs. 

“My favorite song was definitely “Alligator in the Elevator,” said Megan Gardiner ‘20. “I remember singing it with my family, and I still remember the tune today.”

Charette shared his fondest memory. “I remember a little girl coming into the room where my Bubblegum Band and I were setting up for a concert exclaiming: ‘Mommy, this is a dream come true!”’

“I remember my sister taking me to a concert in the [Presque Isle] high school gym,” said Kristen Chambers, ‘21. “I bought a CD and we listened to “Mud” on the way home. It’s a great memory!”

At this stage in his career, Charette is enjoying hearing what older students have to say about his music, and the impact his songs had on their lives. “It really is heartwarming to see that the music goes on,” said Charette. 

“I believe, that even to this day, a childhood should be a really happy time in a person’s life,” said Charette. Childhoods may be over, but the memories remain. With his music, Charette was able to inspire and influence multiple generations of Maine children. 

When I reached out to Charette, he said, “I am honored to think you’re writing a story about the impact my music has had on Presque Isle students. I have such fond memories of performing at their schools.”