Kent County Schools Will Cancel Bus Contract

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Reliable Transportation of Baltimore school buses parked at the former bowling alley on Route 213 in Queen Anne’s County 

A resolution to the school bus crisis is on the way.

At the Kent County Board of Education meeting on Sept. 18, Superintendent Karen Couch announced that the school system and Reliable Transportation of Baltimore have reached an agreement in principle to cancel their current contract. While details are still being worked out by lawyers for both sides, the school system has already begun transitioning to the new school bus system. At Superintendent Couch’s request, the board passed a motion to authorize the on-going final negotiations with Reliable.

By Monday morning, Sept 18, Couch said, there were already six buses on the road hired directly by Kent County Public Schools through contractors or individual owner/drivers.   All the buses meet both state and county safety standards with all required equipment installed. With more direct hires in the works, Couch stated that there is still a need for at least 14 more buses which Kent County Public Schools (KCPS) will purchase.

Until the new buses arrive, Reliable will continue to pick up children on the routes not covered by the drivers hired directly by the school district. The school board did not have a time line for the new buses to be in service as of the Monday meeting. They are still considering possible short-term options including borrowing buses – especially special needs buses – from other school systems.

Many of the bus drivers from Reliable will be offered driver positions as the new buses come in. This model of school transportation, in which a school system owns some buses and hires drivers directly, while other buses are supplied by independent contractors who own one or more buses, is known as a hybrid. Caroline, Talbot, and Queen Anne’s counties all have hybrid systems, while Wicomico owns all its own buses.

Reliable knows of the school board’s plans and has agreed to have its buses and drivers used until the school district can transition to their new buses. Couch said that cancellation of the contract with Reliable was despite the company’s best’ efforts and due to circumstances beyond their control. Reliable is committed to a smooth transition, she said.

The county will still need to hire more drivers, some of whom will probably be unfamiliar with the routes, so some of the problems such as late pick-ups and drop-offs may continue during the transition. Three buses will be available for field trips and athletics — an improvement over last year, when only two buses were available, which often made for scheduling difficulties.

Superintendent of Schools Karen Couch

The school plans to buy the additional 14 buses, two of which are special needs buses, for a total of no more than $1.5 million. KCPS will piggy-back the contract with one from another local school district. City National Capital will provide the loan at 2.15 percent interest for 10 years. The deal is a lease-purchase, so the county will own the buses at the end of the 10 years. The lease/purchase agreement is expected to cost $168,000 per year, which is within the school’s current transportation budget. There is no penalty for early repayment. Interest over the 10 years will amount to an estimated $183,000. As the average life of a school bus is 15 years, this may give the district five more years with only maintenance costs. The school district is hoping to join the county’s bulk fuel purchase program to minimize fuel costs.

 

Swingin’ in the Park!

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Come hear the big-band sound of Swing City on Sunday, Sept 24 at 3:00 pm.  This will be the last of the summer concerts in Fountain Park in downtown Chestertown.  Originally scheduled for July, the concert was postponed due to a torrential downpour on the day.  Note that due to scheduling issues, this Music in the Park concert is not on the usual Saturday evening.  Instead, Swing City will perform on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm in the usual location in the park. There is no charge for any of the Music in the Park concerts but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Led by trumpeter Elmer Dill, Swing City performs all over the eastern U.S., with occasional ventures as far afield as Canada. The 35-member band has been a hit with Music in the Park audiences, drawing large crowds for its appearances in the open-air concert series. Before the evening is over, there have usually been several couples dancing on the bricks around the fountain.

Elmer Dill, founder and director of Swing City, led his first band while still in high school. He attended the University of Delaware, where he played with the university’s stage band, the Delmodians. After college, he joined the U.S. Navy and played in bands all over the world. Several other Swing City regulars share Dill’s military band background, and nearly a third are current or retired musical directors. Most of them live in the Delmarva area, though a few come from as far afield as western Maryland, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. Members have ranged in age from students in their teens to musicians in their eighties.

Ann Morris of Swing City

The band’s repertoire includes both swing era classics from the likes of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller and stylish, big band arrangements of more modern material. The set list for Sunday features sax and trumpet solos as well as popular songs  such as “In the Mood,” “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and a six-trumpet arrangement of “Bye Bye Blackbird.”  Ann Morris, a favorite from previous Swing City concerts, returns as the band’s featured vocalist.

Sunday’s program begins at 3:00 p.m. and will end at approximately 4:30. Admission is free. Audience members should bring something to sit on. Only limited seating is available. Note that there is no rain date.  In case of rain, the concert will be canceled. This concert marks the end of the 2017 Music in the Park program. The summer 2018 series will begin in mid-June after the National Music Festival which is the first two weeks of June in Chestertown.

The Music in the Park series has brought a variety of musical styles, including jazz, swing, bluegrass, klezmer, folk, gospel and more, to Kent County audiences since it began in the mid-1990s. The concerts are sponsored by the town of Chestertown with support from the Kent County Arts Council and many 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 118 N. Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620. Donations may also be made at the concert.

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It Happened on Queen Street

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David and Anne Singer of Chestertown were out of town for a few days at the beginning of July.  When they returned, they noticed a puddle in the driveway but thought nothing of it.  Maybe it had rained.  But the next day, the puddle was still there.  Was it a little larger?  Long story short, a pipe under the driveway from the house had sprung a leak.  They turned off the water to the house and called their plumber.  However, it was now in the middle of the July 4th holiday.  Their plumber was out on a job and not available.  They called several other plumbers but each was either busy or didn’t have the large equipment necessary to dig down to the pipes. The Singers had now been over 24 hours with no water in their house.  Finally, they found Doug Nicholson, Sr, plumber and electrician, who had the equipment and was willing to come in over a holiday for an emergency job.  After excavating the full length of the driveway to a depth of about five, Nicholson unearthed something the Singers had never seen before – “tar-paper” pipes.

The Singers’ house is one of those wonderful old brick homes on Queen Street. Built around 1790, number 109 N. Queen Street is listed as “The Chambers House” in Michael Bourne’s Historic Houses of Kent County (p 350). According to Bourne, it was probably built at the same time (1788-90) as the Nicholson House, next door, with which it shares several architectural features including a molded Doric cornice, one of the earliest documented in Kent County.

The plumber-to-the-rescue, Doug Nicholson, Sr., is not related to the next-door Nicholson House family from the 1790s, – as far as we know. But then again, it’s Kent County, so who knows!

The Chambers house is not known to be listed in any official records until 1811 when it appeared on a deed. The land was acquired in 1786 by Benjamin Chambers, a prominent attorney in the town who served as Clerk of the Court and later as a general of the militia at the Battle of Caulk’s Field. His prominence can be measured by the fact that in 1810 he moved to Widehall. At that point, he transferred the house to his son Ezekial Chambers, a prominent attorney in his own right and later a judge. The younger Chambers moved to Widehall in 1822, and the North Queen Street house became a rental property until 1865, when Chambers sold it to a local contractor, John Greenwood.

Then Greenwood sold the property just a year later to the Vestry of Chester Parish, who converted it into a residence for the rectors of Emmanuel Church. It remained in the hands of the parish until 1910. During that time, the house was expanded to add a pantry and dining room on the first floor and two bedrooms upstairs. Thereafter it had several owners until 1994, when the Singers bought it and began restoring it.

The tar-paper pipes were a surprise to the Singers but not to Nicholson who said that he had seen them often in the older parts of town. They looked like hollowed out logs.  Not at all like today’s plastic pipes. The tar-paper pipe is made of wood pulp and pitch. It represents a less expensive alternative to classic clay piping which has been used throughout history, in ancient Rome, through Chinese dynasties, and into modern times, and is usually referred to as terra cotta.

In addition to tar-paper pipes being used as sewer pipes, they were frequently used as conduits for electrical wiring – notably in the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers. Tar-paper pipes were also adopted by the oil industry to pump salt wastewater out of drilling sites. Its use as sewer pipe was very common during World War II and into the 1950s, which fits Nicholson’s estimate that the pipe at 109 N. Queen St. was “about 70 years old.”  The pipes are commonly called Orangeburg pipes from the name of the upstate New York town where they were manufactured by the Fiber Conduit Company, which later changed its name to the Orangeburg Manufacturing Company. Orangeburg pipes were widely used from 1860 until 1970, when plastic pipe such as PCV came into common use.

Bob Sipes, Utilities Manager for the town of Chestertown, said the sewer system on Queen Street was installed in the first decade of the 20th century, so it’s conceivable that the Orangeburg pipe, which is a lateral line leading from the town sewer mains to the house, dates back to that period. However, that would be unusually long for that sort of pipe to last.  The town’s water and sewer systems were not built using Orangeburg.

Orangeburg pipe’s main liability is its tendency to flatten under pressure. The layers of rolled-up tar paper can also begin to separate, creating “bubbles” or humps.  While its normal life expectancy was listed at 50 years and some can last considerably longer, Orangeburg was often known to fail within 10 years, usually due to the pressure of the soil in which it was buried. So this one, at 70 years old, did pretty well.

While we were there taking pictures and talking to the Singers and several neighbors who came by to see the progress, we noticed a steady stream of cars come slowly up the one-way street, carefully negotiating the speed bump and the construction.  David Singer sighed and said that for some reason many GPS systems give this narrow, one-lane, one-way, residential street as the preferred route to downtown Chestertown rather than the wider Cross or Spring streets.  At least, he noted, the drivers first view of Chestertown is the beautiful, historic homes of Queen Street.

Well, now the pipes are all replaced with modern longer-lasting pipes.  The water is turned back on. The Singers can heave a sigh of relief. Until the next time.  That’s the joys of owning an historical home – you never know what’s in the attic, under the stairs or the paint or even the driveway.  But you learn a lot of fascinating history along the way.

(This article, “It Happened on Queen Street,” is the first in an irregular Spy series on the homes and history of Chestertown and Kent County.  Please contact us if you have an idea for a future subject in the series, either below in the comments or by email to Editor@ChestertownSpy.com.)

All done! But then it’s never all done with an old house, is it?

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

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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!

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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 contact@smokerattleandroll.com

Welcome to Chestertown, Smoke, Rattle & Roll!

Email: contact@smokerattleandroll.com For more information see the Shake, Rattle & Roll website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 22 Music in the Park Canceled Due to Weather

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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

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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!

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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.

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

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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