Toe-Tappin’ Fun with Annapolis Bluegrass at “Music in the Park”



Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition plays in Fountain Park on Saturday, Aug 5. L-R: Mike Hartnett (Fiddle), Larry Connor (guitar & vocals), Roger Green (mandolin & vocals), Terry Wittenberg (banjo & vocals), Jim Duvall (bass fiddle)

Bring your dancing shoes for this Saturday’s Music in the Park concert featuring the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition.  The music starts at 7 p.m. in Chestertown’s Fountain Park and continues until about 8:30 p.m. One of the area’s most popular groups, Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, combines instrumental virtuosity with close harmonies in a mixture of bluegrass standards, originals by band members and a few “out-of-genre” tunes adapted for the bluegrass style. The band will concentrate on bluegrass standards for its Chestertown set, as well as a selection of originals by band members.

The band leader and founder is Roger Green, who plays mandolin, and sings both lead and harmony vocals.  Larry Connor plays guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals.  On banjo and vocals is Terry Wittenberg. Rounding out the group are Mike Hartnett on fiddle and Jim Duvall on bass fiddle.

Roger Green – Band leader, Mandolin, Guitar and Lead/Harmony Vocals. Major bluegrass influences: Reno & Smiley, Flatt & Scruggs, Jim & Jesse, Country Gentlemen.- currently leader of Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition

Born in Washington DC, Green grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. Green said that he has played bluegrass since he was 10 years old. He writes most of the band’s originals. He particularly likes train songs and has added several to the band’s repertoire. In his early teens and through high school, he played banjo and formed his first bluegrass band, The Mink Hollow Boys, with high school buddies.  Shortly after, Roger began playing mandolin and for a short time performed with Emerson & Waldron.  During a tour of duty in the Air Force, Roger picked with Mac & Hazel McGee who later went on to form the popular New England band,  White Mountain Bluegrass.  After being transferred, Roger worked with a Montgomery, Alabama, band called the Wry Grass Medicine Show.  Following military service,  Roger picked with local Washington DC bands, Leon Morris & AssociatesDestination BluegrassNone of The Above and Ritchie Reunion.  In the early 1990’s Roger switched back to guitar and formed a new group with Tom Gray & Fred Travers called the Gray, Green & Travers Trio.  After Fred left to join the Seldom Scene, Roger started working with pickup musicians under the name of Roger & The Real Good Pickers until finally starting the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition

Mike Hartnett – Fiddle. Major bluegrass influences: Howard Forrester, Kenny Baker.

Mike Hartnett was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in Chase, Maryland. He started playing at age 12.  His early age musical influence was from his father, also Mike Hartnett, who played old time fiddle.  Mike brings over 30 years of fiddle experience with him adding a new dimension to the overall sound of the band.  His style is mostly in the traditional bluegrass vane, but he also draws from the more eclectic as well as old timey fiddle.  Mike’s first bluegrass band was Overland Express and he stayed with them from 1978 until the early 1980s.  He then did a stint with the long standing and well-known Patent Pending band and then moved on to a group known as the Lawson Brothers until the late eighties. Mike also played with other local bands such as Dean Sapp and Harford Express throughout the eighties and then reconnected with former Overland Express members in the popular Blue Daze band.  Other bands of note that Mike was a part of includes Shiloh Ridge from the York Pennsylvania area and Blue Train.  He is also much in demand as a fill in musician for groups such as Foggy Hollow and Across The Track.

Terry Wittenberg – Banjo and Lead/Tenor/High Baritone Vocals. Major bluegrass influences: Bill Emerson, Ben Eldridge

Born in Baltimore, MD and raised in Silver Spring, MD, Terry Wittenberg started his musical interest at age 7 with the guitar. During his high school years, Terry played rock guitar and was heavily influence by the early blues recordings of Eric Clapton. He was also a fan of country singer Buck Owens and learned how to sing tenor by emulating Buck’s tenor singer, Don Rich.  Terry was introduced to bluegrass during an evening at the Red Fox Inn, where he saw Bill Emerson playing banjo, and he knew right then that banjo was what he wanted to play. Going full steam into bluegrass, he was a founding member of the popular Washington DC group, None of the Above. He also played with Southgate and Overland Express. Later he fronted his own band, NewGrass Effect.  Terry is frequently called on to fill in with different bluegrass bands, and occasionally would work with the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition. In spring of 2014, Terry became a member of Annapolis Bluegrass. He brings a new dynamic to the Annapolis Bluegrass vocal mix that includes lead, tenor and high baritone. He contributes significantly to the hard driving sound that Annapolis Bluegrass is noted for and has a keen sense of originality in his approach to the banjo. Terry also has a unique capability of recognizing songs from different genre’s that will fit well into bluegrass. The tunes and songs that he introduces to the band helps keep the Annapolis Bluegrass repertoire fresh, relevant and exciting.

Larry Conner – Guitar and Lead/Harmony vocals. Major Influences: Osborne Bros., Flatt and Scruggs, New Grass Revival, J.D. Crowe, Tony Rice, parking lot picking at Sunset Park in Pennsylvania and Watermelon Park in Virginia 


Larry Connor was born in Baltimore and grew up in Perry Hall, Maryland. Larry started playing guitar at age 10.  Coming from a family whose roots are from the Floyd County area of Virginia, it was natural for him to learn Bluegrass and old time music at an early age. His father played guitar, banjo, and sang along with his brother, uncles, cousins, and other relatives including his grandmother.  Larry has played Bluegrass with local musicians and family members throughout his entire life. At the early age of 18 he was singing with the Floyd County Boys and then The Conner Brothers Band along with his cousins Tommy, Mickey, and John Conner on two of their albums.  For many years, Larry continued to develop his guitar chops playing country and country rock with the Baltimore based band Dakota until 2010 when he teamed up with Bill Runkle and Smith Hollow.  In early 2017, Larry became a member of The Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition doing what comes naturally; picking bluegrass guitar and singing high lonesome songs.

Jim Duvall – Bass Fiddle. Major bluegrass influences: Jim & Jesse, Seldom Scene, Country Gazette 

Jim Duvall “keeps everyone honest” with the steady beat of his bass fiddle. A veteran of many bands in different styles, Jim also takes an occasional bass solo on instrumental numbers. He was born in Washington DC, though he grew up in Burtonsville, Maryland.  Although he has been playing music all his life, Annapolis Bluegrass is his first stint as a bluegrass and acoustic bass player.  His musical background goes back more than thirty years and includes clarinet, electric guitar in a Motown band called Louie & the Uptights, and much more recently electric bass for a top 40s country band called Southern  Pride.   He plays an S-Model Kay bass, the perfect instrument for the lower registers of bluegrass music.  

For more information, visit the Annapolis Bluegrass website.

Music in the Park performances begin at 7 p.m. in Fountain Park and run until about 8:30. Annapolis Bluegrass is always one of the best-attended performances of the series and a limited number of seats are available. Audience members are advised to bring folding chairs or blankets.

In the event of rain, the performance will be held in Emmanuel Episcopal Church, on Cross Street opposite the park.

Music in the Park is sponsored by the town of Chestertown, with support from the Kent County Arts Council and community contributions. There is no charge for admission to the concerts, but donations to support the program are encouraged.

Smoke, Rattle & Roll – Chestertown Has a New Restaurant!


Chestertown has a new restaurant! Smoke, Rattle & Roll opened on Saturday, July 22.  The second of its name – the first is in Stevensville on Kent Island – SR&R specializes in barbecue and Mexican dishes along with a variety of sandwiches, salads, and sides.  SR&R will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm then stay open til 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Located in Kent Plaza next to China House, Smoke, Rattle & Roll will offer eat-in, take-out, and catering. The specialty of the house is the BBQ ribs platter (full rack $21.99, half $12.99).  There is a choice of seven sauces that range from the mild and sweet to the hot and spicy. In addition to the ribs, there’s barbecued pork, chicken, or beef brisket served in a sandwich with one side or on a platter with more meat and two sides. These are reasonably priced, running from $7.48 – $12.00 for the BBQ sandwich/platter selections.  All the meat is rubbed with their special recipe then hickory-smoked for a minimum of twelve hours.

If you’re not in a BBQ mood, you can order a burger or a BLT.  Or wings.  Or mac-n-cheese. There’s something for everyone. Burgers are priced from $8.48 – $12.98 and come in one patty (1/4 lb) or double patties (1/2 lb).  Gluten-free buns are available for $1.50 extra.  You can satisfy your yen for Mexican food with a burrito, taco, quesadilla, or nachos.  There’s a house salad, a Caesar salad, and a taco salad.  See the complete menu online.

Rarin’ to go! The new staff finished a day of training and orientation before the grand opening on Saturday.

Smoke, Rattle & Roll has four large flat-screen TVs on the wall behind the bar.

The restaurant has applied for and expects to receive a license for beer and wine in the near future.  The bar is all ready to go into action.  It has the traditional high stools and four large flat-screen TVs on the wall behind the bar.

The restaurant also has several catering options.  You can come in and pick up a DIY kit and put it all together at home.  Or you can hire Smoke, Rattle & Roll’s food truck to arrive at your house or business with everything you need to feed your hungry hordes – from the grill and ingredients to the cooks and kitchen crew.  The truck is $300 per hour plus the price of the food. For details email the catering manager, Randy Bone, at

Welcome to Chestertown, Smoke, Rattle & Roll!

Email: For more information see the Shake, Rattle & Roll website.









July 22 Music in the Park Canceled Due to Weather


The Saturday, July 22 Music in the Park Concert, featuring the Swing City big band, has been canceled due to weather. The group is too large to fit easily into Emmanuel Church, the alternate venue in case of rain.

If possible, the concert will be rescheduled.

The next Music in the Park concert will be Annapolis Bluegrass, Saturday, August 5, 7:00-8:30 pm.

Chainsaw Art at the Kent County Fair


Josh Miller is a Kent County boy.  Born and raised.  He grew up in Chestertown, attended Kent County High School and graduated from there in 1999.  Then he began his wandering. First, he went to Nashville, Tennessee, to an automotive painting school.  He had always had an artistic side. That led to a career in building and custom-painting motorcycles.  Did I mention that he also had a mechanical side?  A very good one, too. Well, one thing led to another and pretty soon he was custom-painting drones for the military.  They loved his work.  In fact, they loved it so much that one of them was chosen to be hung in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum where you can go see it any day.

This weekend, Josh Miller is wandering back to his old stomping grounds.  You can see him in action at the Kent County Fair this weekend, where he will be demonstrating the latest turn in his artistic and mechanical career – chainsaw art – specifically chainsaw wood sculptures.  Josh will be on-site all three days of the fair.  Several of his sculptures will be included in the Saturday evening auction.  Don’t miss your chance to own your own chainsaw sculpture!

For the past two years, Miller has been on the Eastern Shore, living in Felton, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters. Before then the family was in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.  It was there that Miller was first inspired to turn his chainsaw into an artist’s tool.  He had to cut down a tree and thought why not have some fun, turn this into art.  Thus was born Josh Miller’s chainsaw sculpture career.  He’s been making and selling chainsaw sculptures ever since.

Miller’s subjects range from the sacred to the profane, the ridiculous to the sublime, with an emphasis on nature.  His bears are especially popular.  His birds are beautifully detailed.  His humor is home-spun and pun-full, some visual puns, some verbal.  To see more, be sure to stop by his FaceBook page.  After you’ve been to the fair, of course.

Chainsaw sculpture by Kent County native Josh Miller.


Rifle-stand with boots. Every cowboy needs one!

Carving a bear

Three-person “butt bench” – we didn’t ask who the model was.

Horse bench – on display this weekend at the Kent County Fair




Music & Magic – A Vibrant Weekend in Chestertown!


The Honey Dewdrops, Kagey Parrish & Laura Wortman, sang songs of America and played clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and guitar, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

What a weekend in Chestertown!  It started Thursday night.  At 6:30 pm, Washington College’s free Riverfront Concert series kicked off with folk music by The Honey Dewdrops.  It was a lovely evening – a little hot but with a breeze off the river.   The concerts take place beside the Chester River at the foot of  High Street, on the lawn behind the Custom House, home of Washington College’s  Starr Center for the American Experience.  Just shy of a hundred people were there, sitting on the grass, leaning against the trees, or relaxing in the folding canvas chairs they brought with them.  There were quite a few kids dancing on the lawn.  You could watch the river flow gently by.  The only glitch was the humidity causing the PA system to short out.  After a couple of tries, the performers invited everyone to come up closer and then they played unamplified.  That actually made the concert feel more intimate.  Wortman’s voice rang clear on both originals and well-known folk songs.   There are two more in the Riverfront Concerts.

Listeners relax in lawn chairs for the Starr Center concert

The schooner Martha White made a scenic background for the Custom House concert.










But the Riverfront Concert was just the beginning of the music and magic.  On Friday, June 23, you had your choice of indoor theater or outdoor theater. At the Garfield Center for the Arts on High Street, it was opening night for Short Attention Span Theatre , in which eight short plays, each about ten minutes long, were performed. The idea is that if you don’t like one, if this play loses your attention, well, the next one will be along in under ten minutes!

While Short Attention Span was just opening it’s three-week run indoors at the Garfield, over at Wilmer Park, Shore Shakespeare was celebrating the end of their triumphant tour of the Eastern Shore with a magical production of  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, full of fairies, enchantments, love triangles, and noble passions.  The weather cooperated beautifully with nearly 200 in attendance at each of the weekend’s performances, Friday and Sunday.  The tour took A Midsummer Night’s Dream to six locations on the Eastern Shore, finishing up this past weekend with two free performances at Wilmer Park in Chestertown.

Puck (Avra Sullivan) enchants Bottom the weaver (Patrick Fee) in Shore Shakespeare’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  Another fairy (Jane Terebey) watches from behind a tree in the magical woods near Athens.

On Saturday, there was a ribbon-cutting for the re-naming of the neighborhood park in the Washington Park area of Chestertown.  Formerly just referred to as “Washington Park” – which would make it redundantly “Washington Park” Park – it is now officially the “Louise D. Carpenter Park”. Councilman Sam Shoge was on hand to help cut the ribbon along with community members who had worked hard to upgrade the facilities.  There is a basketball court, new benches, and a large swing and climbing set. In its own way, it was a magical moment for community members who helped bring it about.

Council members Sam Shoge, Liz Gross, and Marty Stetson join Washington Park residents and members of the town Recreation Commission for the ribbon-cutting at newly-named Louisa D. Carpenter Park

Children swinging and climbing on playground equipment in refurbished and renamed Louisa D. Carpenter Park in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chestertown.

Later on Saturday morning, the Fort Delaware Coronet Band, dressed in authentic Civil War uniforms, joined the Kent County Community Marching Band and local re-enactors in a short parade, followed by a ceremony recognizing the veterans of America’s Civil War.  Thomas Hayman, who organized the event, laid flowers at the 1917 Civil War Monument and the more recent 1999 monument to the USCT, United States Colored Troops from Kent County.  Then the Fort Delaware band played songs from the Civil War Era on period instruments.  Nearby was a “living history” exhibit with uniforms, guns, items for camping and cooking, and other items, all originals or authentic reproductions from the era.

The Fort Delaware Cornet Band played music of the Civil War Era on period instruments


The Kent County Community Marching Band plays “Maryland, My Maryland” before the wreath-laying at the Civil War monuments.


Civil War re-enactors stand at attention as three wreaths are laid at the monuments honoring those who fought in that conflict.

If that wasn’t enough music for you, not to worry.  At 7 p.m., the inaugural concert for the 2017 summer season of Music in the Park started with The Andovers Trio presenting “A Half Century of Hits.”  It was a lively evening of good old rock-n-roll plus a few country tunes!

John Barrett and Aaron Maloney of the Andovers Trio played for Music in the Park on Saturday evening.


Juanita Wieczoreck gives a heart-felt eulogy for Rosa the cat in the “Hey, Wait a Minute” series of one-minute plays.

The Short Attention Span Theater 10-minute play festival at the Garfield is a perennial favorite with local theater-goers, with plays “just long enough.”  And if your attention span is even shorter, why the one-minute plays in the lobby of the Garfield might be just your thing!  Hey, Wait a Minute was a set of five “One-Minute” plays in the lobby for the audience to enjoy while waiting for the doors to open for the main attraction. Short Attention Span Theatre has two more weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings with 3:00 pm matinees on Sunday.

Yes, the weekend in Chestertown, Thursday through Sunday, June 22-25, was a wondrous one – full or music and magic for everyone.























































The Andovers Play “Half a Century of Hits” at Chestertown’s Music in the Park, Saturday, June 24



The Andovers Trio – John Barrett, Aaron Maloney, & Ken Hudson

The “Music in the Park” concert series kicks off this coming Saturday evening in Fountain Park in downtown Chestertown when the Andovers will present “Half a Century of Hits”.  The concert begins at 7 p.m. and will last approximately an hour and a half.

The Andovers are a classic cover band, playing the hits from the 1950s to the 1990s, with occasional forays into other decades.  The trio consists of Aaron Maloney on vocals and keyboard,  Ken Hudson on drums and vocals, and John Barrett on guitar.  The band knows a wide variety of styles and can play the top hits from multiple genres, including classic rock and popular country songs.   Maloney said that the Andovers also play in several different configurations, sometimes adding a bass player or other instrument.  It depends on the occasion, he said.  They play weddings, parties, and festivals

A typical song list for the Andovers may include songs such as “American Girl,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Billy Jean,” “500 Miles,” “Friends in Low Places,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Free Falling,” “Boot Scoot Boogie,” Frank Sinatra songs, and more.

Maloney grew up in Delaware but now lives in Galena where he runs Andover Recording Studio. Maloney and Hayden Chance co-founded Andover Media in Galena, a full-service recording studio, about four years ago. Maloney is now sole owner and operator.  Last year, the studio moved into a new building with expanded facilities. The studio also offers lessons in voice and several musical instruments taught by Maloney and other instructors.  They also offer songwriting and music theory classes.

Barrett has taught drums for over 15 years — in fact, he taught Maloney. Both Hudson and Barrett work for Music and Arts in Middletown, where Barrett was a manager for a while.

Their big teaching project is Camp Rock, which debuted last year. A five-day music workshop for teens ages 14 to 18, the camp brings in a variety of instructors in various instruments, singing, songwriting, sound reinforcement, and live performance. The instructors bring their own real-world musical experience to give the students a valuable overview of creating and performing music in a fun and creative environment. Campers write and record a song, then set up the stage and sound equipment for a final showcase performance.  For information, visit the Andover Media website.

All Music in the Park performances are free.  Bring lawn chairs or something to sit on.  There are a limited number of folding chairs and benches available provided by the town.  Rain location is Emmanuel Church at 101 N. Cross St., across from the park.

Butch Clark is the technical director of Music in the Park, with the assistance of Jack Brosious and Nehemiah Williams.  Jane Jewell is the program director. Music in the Park is sponsored by the town of Chestertown with support from the Kent County Arts Council and community contributors. To help make these free programs possible, send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown and designated for Music in the Park, to Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620.

All are invited to join us for Music in the Park this Saturday, June 24,  from 7:00 -8:30 pm in Fountain Park in downtown Chestertown, MD

Heron Point: The 2017 OlympiActs!


The Olympics, we know, come every four years.  But at Heron Point, the Olympics come every year!  On Thursday morning, June 8, buses began arriving early with the senior athletes from five other communities. Heron Point was the host for the 2017 OlympiActs, sponsored this year by BB&T.

The five traveling teams were from Lima Estates, Granite Farms Estates, Cokesbury Village, Country House, and Manor House.  With Heron Point, that made six teams competing for the gold!  There were eight sports plus one “brain game” for a total of nine events.

Wearing their “crab hats” with their clackers at the ready, Heron Point residents wait for the results at the closing ceremonies.

Spirits were high!  Many people carried clackers or pom poms.  Every athlete wore an OlympiActs t-shirt in their team colors. Heron Point’s shirts were blue while staff wore black t-shirts.  Lima Estates even had a lion mascot to cheer for its team!

The sports  (with Heron Point competitors) :

Walking Relay Race (John Henderson & Nancy Henderson),

Wii bowling              (Cole Taylor)

Bocce                          (Jack Stenger & Tom Blum)

Billiards                      (Tom Fisher)

Anything Goes in the Pool (swimming)        (Kent Kerbel & Bill Mohan)

Trivia                            (Mary Jane Mitchell & Sandy Durfee)

Corn Hole                    (Ed Tinucci  & Wendy Johnson)

Table Shuffleboard     (Pam Fisher)

Golf Putting                  (Bill Trakat)

The Walking Relay had a beautiful setting. Participants race-walked out and back Heron Point’s long dock.  It’s a wonder that the contestants didn’t get distracted by the beautiful views of the Chester River. There’s even a shady gazebo with benches to further tempt them.  But the relay teams were focused.

Each community could send two participants per sport, although in some of the events, some communities fielded only one athlete.  The chosen athletes had already gone though various competitions and try-outs in their home communities.

The spirit of fun was obvious throughout the day.  Everyone commented on how much this event brought back happy memories of Field Day from their school days.  This was the second year that Heron Point has participated and Executive Director Garret Falcone said that it was already one of his favorite days. The participants, he said, were laughing and joking but became very serious when it was their turn to compete.  They take it seriously, he said, then laughed and added,  “It’s cut-throat out there!”

Heron Point has a new 6-hole course for golf putting.  The course was installed just a few weeks before the OlympiActs.  They already had a pool, Bocce field, and a billiards room.

OlumpiAct medals await the winning competitors.

The day began with opening ceremonies where the Olympic “flame” was lit.  (It was a clever mini-fan concealed in a base that blew wind onto the gold paper “flame”, making it flutter.  The day ended with a traditional awards presentations.  Medals on blue ribbons – just like the Olympics! – were hung around each winner’s neck.  Falcone was pleased that every community had a winner in at least one of the nine events.

Brian Donathan Communications Manager), Garret Falcone Executive Director of Heron Point), Kim

Heron Point opened in 1991 and, since 2010, has been an affiliate of Acts Retirement-Life Communities, headquartered in Philadelphia. Acts-Retirement-Life communities  is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization of residential continuing care organizations.  It runs 22 senior communities in eight states with over 9000 residents.

More pictures of participants, teams and medal winners below.

With old-fashioned courtesy and good sportsmanship, contestants shake hands after a round of corn hole.

Corn Hole Competitors







Competing on the New Putting Green

Wii Bowling



Local photographers were on hand to capture the action.

Medal Winners of the 2017 OlympiActs!

Winners in the Bocce event. Heron Point residents, Jack Stenger and Tom Blum (in blue on right) took first place.






















National Music Festival – A Musical Feast! – Photo Gallery


It’s here again!  The National Music Festival has begun its seventh season here in Chestertown, bringing a garden of musical delights for young and old.   Sunday evening saw the opening concert with the Fiddlesticks Orchestra joining the Chester River Youth Chorale to show what they had learned this past year.  The Brass Band added to the fanfare.  Now there are two weeks of concerts and free rehearsals to attend.

On Monday evening, there was the traditional community, meet-&-greet potluck at Dave Keating’s K&L garage.  This potluck, to me, is symbolic of how Chestertown and Kent County has responded to the National Music Festival.  They love it.  Individuals, businesses, organizations, churches – so many have volunteered, helped as cooks, drivers, hosts, provided concert venues, offered discounts, etc.  Sacred Heart Catholic Church made special floral decorations for their doors to welcome the musicians for the concerts held in the church on June 8 & 9.  The hospitality committee ran fundraisers before the festival and are providing beverages and snacks for rehearsals during the festival.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church is opening its parish hall every day and a band of volunteers come into the church kitchen and prepare free lunches for the apprentices.

Redner’s grocery store has given multiple cases of water and many restaurants offered discounts.

On Saturday, June 10, musicians will be on hand at the Farmers’ Market in Chestertown.

We’ll be posting pictures here as the festival goes along and adding names.  So come back again or send us your favorite photos from the festival and we’ll post as many as we can.

For more information and schedule of free and ticketed events, see National Music Festival website.

Apprentices in the Arts Administration program make the wheels run smoothly. They keep track of all the details that make up a music festival – from tickets to transportation to setting up the stage.

Apprentices Maria Rusu (viola & Arts Administration – from Romania) & Kelly Harper (Arts Administration – from New York)

Michael Sawzin, NMF Youth Director, with Caitlin Patton, NMF Executive Director, celebrating the beginning of the festival at Decker Theater on Washington College campus.

Conductor and Artistic Director of the NMF, Richard Rosenberg, conducted the world premiere of Rosenberg’s edition of “Transfigured Night” by Schonberg.  First violin on left.

Festival String Orchestra on Tuesday evening, 6th of June, 2017, just after “Transfigured Night”.

Flute and percussion mentors, Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Clarinet mentor, Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Close up of the floral “logo” on the doors of Sacred Heart Church on High Street.

The doors of Sacred Heart Church on High Street with the NMF logo in flowers!

Caitlin Patton, Executive Director of the NMF with her mother, Bonnie Keating, who, like her daughter, is also a talented singer.




Caitlin & Richard – Wed 7 June 2017


















Caitlin & Richard





























































































































































































































Something for Everyone at Chestertown’s First Friday – Photo Gallery


A number of years ago, Chestertown started a First Friday tradition. Local businesses and organizations stay open two or three hours later on the first Friday of each month, usually until 7 or 8 pm.  The tradition has blossomed into a wonderful evening of music, wine and cheese and other snacks at local shops, open galleries, and special displays, lectures, and dramatic presentations.  This past First Friday, June 2, featured a talk on the history of ice cream at the Historical Society, a showcase of musical talent at Bill Drazga’s Music Life store, the display of a beautifully restored log canoe originally built on Tilghman Island in 1894, an exhibition opening at RiverArts, and a pair of One Minute Plays at the Garfield.  All in all, a vivid reminder of what makes Chestertown so wonderful.  And the weather was perfect – temps in the low 70s with a light breeze!

The Mary Julia Hall log canoe was on display in front of the Bordley Center on High Street. The owner is looking for crew. Any volunteers?


Hull of the Mary Julia Hall before restoration.

Detail of restored log canoe Mary Julia Hall with Emmanuel Church in the background.



















Chris Jones, Sam Scalzo, and Frank Gerber play “All of Me” at the Music Life Showcase of Talent.



















Talent Showcase at Music Life – First Friday



















Reception at RiverArts for the opening of an exhibit titled “The Journey”.


Artist Sihnja An Whitely

RiverArts’ new exhibit has a wonderful display of members’ interpretation of the theme “The Journey”.  The main room has pieces in multiple mediums – from digital art to watercolors to oils. The second room is devoted to a retrospective of artist Sihnja An Whiteley, who has been painting and teaching in Chestertown since 1985.

Sihnja An Whiteley grew up and attended college in Korea where she earned her Batchelor’s and Master’s degrees in European history.  She also studied painting and calligraphy while in Korea. After moving to America, she studied art history and studio arts at Washington College.

Her heart has always been in the arts.  According to the notice on her exhibit at RiverArts, “her paintings are a synthesis of East and West; discipline of the East; freedom and individuality of the West.”

For some time now, the Historical Society of Kent County has held a well-attended series of First Friday talks and presentations.  This month the society had a double feature!  The windows of the Bordley Center on High Street had a display on boats of the river and the bay.  On the street just outside the building was a 52 foot-long restored log canoe, the Mary Julia Hall.  Built in 1894, it has been beautifully restored by Jim of Kent County.  It is now sea-worthy and Jim will enthusiastically show you pictures of it under sail.  It is for sale, Jim says, at the right price.  But now he is looking for crew.  The canoe can carry at least ten, he said.

Bayly Ellen Janson-La Palme shares her research on the history ice cream in Chestertown.

While people admired the boat outside, inside the Bordley Center, Bayly Ellen Janson-La Palme spoke on the history of ice cream in Chestertown.  Making ice cream, she said, was a relatively simple process.  But it was hard work.  You had to crank a handle continuously and your arms would get tired quickly.  So people naturally liked to go out for their ice cream where someone else worked that handle. Over time, the process became mechanized and ice cream plants opened where gallons were made and shipped to stores and restaurants. Thus making ice cream changed from from a labor-intensive enterprise done in the home or on-site at a restaurant  to a capital-intensive one in a factory setting.

The first recorded ice cream saloon in Chestertown was started in 1846 by Philip Jones, an African-American who owned an oyster restaurant on Queen Street.  Ladies were served in a separate room from the men.  In the twentieth century, the Gill brothers ran an ice cream plant from 1920 to 1953.  Their ice cream was sold in stores from Cecil County to Delaware. Until the late 1940s, you could even get home-delivery.  In addition to their factory, the Gil Brothers soda and ice cream parlor  – in what is now Play It Again Sam’s – was a fixture for teens and families during the hot summers.

The Historical Society has published a booklet by Janson-La Palme titled “Ice Cream versus Hot Weather: Ice Cream Sales and Manufacturing in Chestertown”, available at the Bordley Center for a suggested donation of $5.00.

The Sensation of the Season! Chocolate ice cream bars made by Gill Brothers of Chestertown. They were in business from 1920-1953.

Topping the evening off, was a preview of “Hey, Wait a Minute” at the Garfield Center for the Arts.  “Hey, Wait a Minute” is a series of five short “one-minute” plays.  (Well, some of them do come in at two or three minutes.) These mini-plays will run before each showing of the “Short Attention Span Theatre” over three weekends, June 23 – July 9.  On this First Friday, you could get a peek at two of the plays,  The entire series of five will be played in the theater lobby while audience members wait for the show to start.

Zac Ryan and Severin Schut in “One-Minute” play “When in Rome” –
part of the “Hey, Wait a Minute!” series at the Garfield.
Photo by Jeff Weber, courtesy Garfield Center

Nivek Johnson was celebrating his recent graduation from Salisbury University with a degree in communications.