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John Gorka at The Mainstay, August 4


The renowned folk singer and songwriter John Gorka returns to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Thursday August 4 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website

John Gorka 3HROriginally from NJ, and now based in Minnesota, the world-renowned singer and songwriter John Gorka got his start at Godfrey Daniels Coffeehouse in Bethelehem PA.

The New York Times has said, “Listening to John Gorka sing, one can get goosebumps all over. There are many reasons: fresh lyrics, a stunning emotional baritone and a twisted sense of humor.”

His songs have been recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith and his live performances inspire with his thoughtful and thought-provoking songs, subtle wry humor, expressive guitar and warm, friendly, baritone.

Godfrey Daniels is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions in eastern Pennsylvania. A small neighborhood coffeehouse and listening room, it has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians, and, in the late 1970s, one of these was a young Moravian College student named John Gorka. Though his academic course work lay in Philosophy and History, music began to offer paramount enticements. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident M.C. and soundman, encountering legendary folk troubadours like Canadian singer/songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs – mostly as an opener for visiting acts.

Soon he started traveling to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer/songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival (where he won the New Folk Award in 1984) and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and emerging songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him – Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin – had become his peers.

In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album, I Know, to popular and critical acclaim. With unusual drive and focus, Gorka hit the ground running and, when an offer came from Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that label’s imprint, High Street Records. He proceeded to record five albums with High Street over the next seven years: Land of the Bottom Line, Jack’s Crows, Temporary Road, Out of the Valley and Between Five and Seven.

His albums and his touring (over 150 nights a year at times) brought new accolades for his craft. Rolling Stone called him “the preeminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.” His rich multi-faceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany.

While he is a festival favorite, and occasionally plays large rooms he is most at home in a small room like The Mainstay where he and an audience can make a deep connection.

In 1998, after five successful recordings and seven years at Windham Hill/High Street, Gorka felt the need for a change and returned to his musical roots at Red House Records. The choice was driven, in part, by the artistic integrity that the label represents in an industry where the business of music too often takes precedence.

His 1998 release After Yesterday marked a decidedly different attitude towards making music for Gorka, and his next release The Company You Keep held fast to John’s tradition of fine songwriting, yet moved forward down new avenues. Its fourteen songs displayed John’s creative use of lyrics and attention to detail. Andy Stochansky played drums and shared production credits with John and Rob Genadek. Ani DiFranco, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky and Patty Larkin contributed stellar guitar work and vocals to this fan favorite.

Old Futures Gone was informed by his life as husband and father of two young children and also contained the colorful experience of many hard years on the road. He has continued to record for Red House and his most recent is 2014’s Bright Side of Down.

In addition to his many critically acclaimed albums, Gorka released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life. Windham Hill has also recently released a collection of Gorka’s greatest hits from the label called Pure John Gorka.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street.

Delmarva’s ‘Big Band’ to Play ‘Music in the Park’ July 30


Swing City, Delmarva’s Big Band, will bring its arrangements of popular standards and danceable big band charts to Fountain Park this Saturday, July 30. Come prepared to tap your feet – and dance to a few numbers, if the mood hits you.

Led by trumpeter Elmer Dill, Swing City performs all over the eastern U.S., with occasional ventures as far afield as Canada. The band has been a hit with Music in the Park audiences, drawing a good crowd for its appearances in the open-air concert series.

The band’s repertoire includes both swing era classics from the likes of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller and idiomatic big band arrangements of more modern material. The set list for Saturday features the entire six-man trumpet section on “Bugler’s Holiday.” Trumpeter Jimmy Cara gets a solo spot on “My Way,” and he joins forces with Dill for a duet on “Memories of You,” a hit for Ted Heath in 1939.

Ann Morris, a favorite from previous Swing City concerts, returns as the band’s featured vocalist.


Dill, the founder and director, 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.

Saturday’s program begins at 7 p.m. and will end at about 8:30. Admission is free. Audience members should bring something to sit on. Only limited seating is available. In the event of rain, the concert will be rescheduled because the size of the band makes it awkward to move to an indoor venue.

Music in the Park programs 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, audience members may 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.

Excerpted with permission from the Kent County News

Fiber-Glass-Steel Opens August 3 at RiverArts


Regardless of the subject or design it is technique and color that drives a work to completion. FIBER-GLASS-STEEL, the August exhibit in the Chestertown RiverArts studio gallery, exemplifies fine technique and stunning color in the fiber art creations and kiln formed glass of artists Sabra Richards and Joyce Murrin

Sabra Richards has spent 50 years working in the arts and the last fifteen working with kiln formed glass.

For sculpture, tables and benches with glass and steel bases, the bases are designed first and cut for her in ¼” steel. She works with a welder to assemble them and then her work begins making all the glass herself. Sculptures can be 2 to10 feet high.

For the glass Sabra starts with sheets of Bullseye Fusible Glass. The method is very bold and direct. She chooses color, individual ones and others layered to achieve other colors. The design is created by adding and subtracting glass and most importantly adding cane and components made at the furnace, usually at the Corning Glass Museum. 16 pieces of glass are fired into a “brick” then put on the end of a long rod and heated directly in the furnace until malleable. Both ends are pulled into what looks like a candy cane. After cooling Sabra takes them back to the studio and uses a saw to make slices. Adding them into the design adds richness to the work. The process is long and involved and wonderful to do, she says.

Fiber artist Joyce Murrin calls her latest work New Visions–Fused. Her designs are cut from a variety of fabrics and fused in place raw edge on a two layer base. With varying subjects in design, the constant is the technique used in their creation which may also include machine and hand sewing, paint, ink and dyeing. Print fabrics are preferred over solids which challenges the ability to balance the “weight” of the print and color with each of the other pieces being added to the design.

Among her 15 works in the show there are small cotton shapes used mosaic style, 102 zippers used as surface design and a gossamer interpretation of rain.

Understanding the inherent possibilities and limitations of various fabrics and finding inventive solutions to technical and design problems is always a challenge well rewarded, says Joyce. She has worked 35 years designing Art Quilts.

Both artists are nationally, internationally recognized and awarded whose work is represented in private, public, museum and corporate collections. Opening with artists is Wednesday, August 3, 11 am – 4 pm.

RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD, 21620. Hours are Sunday from 11 – 3, Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-4:00, and Saturday, 10:00-4:00. First Fridays the Gallery and Gift Shop are open until 8:00pm. To learn more about RiverArts go to or call 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is a vibrant, member-supported community arts center that offers dynamic unique program of exhibitions, classes, lectures and special events.

August Artists at Kent County Public Library


Opening Reception: The Wonderful World of Children: Watercolors of G. Warren Sears

Saturday, August 6  |  11am-1pm

North County Branch

13669056_10153340631692255_8388297716934053281_nDeborah D. Reilly presents an exhibit of the watercolors of the late G. Warren Sears.  This collection of watercolors, painted in the mid-1990s, was inspired by the artist’s observations of the ways young children experience the world.  His young grandson, Frankie Warren Sears, was a particular inspiration for these paintings.

Warren was a gifted artist, musician, and author.  He served in World War II with the Navy School of Music aboard the USS Honolulu. He enjoyed playing saxophone, singing, writing, recording music, and painting. Until he was 91, Warren continued to participate in book tours and shoot pool with his friends.

Join Ms. Reilly on Saturday, August 6th from 11am-1pm at the North County Branch to view the artwork and learn more about the artist who was like a father to her during the nearly six decades she knew him.  This exhibit will remain on display at the North County branch through the month of August.

The Art of Sheila Exum

On Display: August 2016

Chestertown Branch

With inspiration drawn from personal experiences and a commitment to precise attention to detail, Sheila Exum’s artwork encompasses subjects as varied as the natural world, cultural events, and social statements.

From the age of two, Ms. Exum has found drawing to be a creative outlet that fills her with a sense of peace and comfort.  She continues to study and perfect her craft as she strives for the day she will be able to earn her living through the artwork she dearly enjoys creating.

A selection of the Artwork on Sheila Exum will be displayed at the Chestertown branch during the month of August.

For more information or to learn how to become an exhibiting artist at KCPL, call 410.778.3636.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Church Hill Theatre Selects Cast


Director Michael Whitehill has assembled an outstanding cast of CHT veterans and newcomers for Church Hill Theatre’s September production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The play, written by Dale Wasserman, is based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, a landmark of mid-20th century counter-culture literature.

Howard Mesick plays Randle Patrick McMurphy, a hoodlum who feigns mental illness to avoid a prison sentence but soon discovers that life in an insane asylum can be a considerably more harsh form of punishment.

Dr. Spivey (left, played by Richard Smith) lectures the patients of the ward, while Nurse Ratched and McMurphy (Felicia Tuttle and Howard Mesick, center) face off.

Dr. Spivey (left, played by Richard Smith) lectures the patients of the ward, while Nurse Ratched and McMurphy (Felicia Tuttle and Howard Mesick, center) face off.

Felicia Tuttle takes on the key role of Nurse Ratched, a stern disciplinarian who vows to curb McMurphy’s provocations.

McMurphy’s fellow inmates have a variety of psychiatric issues, some quite severe, but none seems helped by the regimen of drug-induced stupor and coercive restrictions.

Other patients are: John Perkinson as Dale Harding, Talley Wilford as Billy Bibbitt, Nic Carter as Charles Atkins Cheswick III, Tom Dorman as Frank Scanlon, Wade Garrett as Anthony Martini, Bruce Jones as Ruckly, and Patrick Fee as Chief Bromden, whose role in the book and play is crucial in comparison to the popular 1975 film.

Hospital staff members are: Justin K. Butler as Aide Williams, Stefan Tisdale as Aide Warren, Nina Sharp as Nurse Flinn, Richard Smith as Dr. Spivey, and Ray Randall as Aide Turkel.

Liz Clarke and Emily Chiras play hospital “visitors” Candy and Sandy.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opens on Friday, September 9 and runs through the 25th, with performances at 8 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and 2 pm on Sunday afternoons. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students, and can be purchased online at or by phoning the Church Hill Theatre office at (410) 556-6003. Special 2-for-1 pricing is available for the opening performance on Friday, September 9 by calling the office.

Spots Still Available for Summer Theatre and Music Campers at the Garfield Center!


IMG_0865The Garfield Center for the Arts is hosting three children’s summer camps this year. Playmakers; the popular theatre camp, is full for this year and has a waiting list, but don’t despair! Children interested in musical theatre should register for the week-long MUSICAMP, which returns to the Garfield Center August 8-12. MUSICAMP culminates with a performance on Friday, August 12th at 7 p.m.
This year’s production of “The Hundred Year Snooze” by Dave and Jean Perry will enchant audiences with a musical version of Sleeping Beauty. The show also boasts the requisite talking frog, fairy godmothers, and wizards! MUSICAMP is a great introduction to the stage for ages 8-15, and meets Monday through Friday 9:00am to 3:30 p.m. During the week all campers will participate in acting, singing, choreography and set design. MUSICAMP is an intensive musical theatre experience with age-appropriate content and expectations. The show is directed by Julie Lawrence and ably assisted by Rachel Craig and Charlice Culvert.

The all-new Summer Music Experience will debut at the Garfield Center from August 16-18. This is a new offering open to kids ages 8-16 to learn more about music. The three-day course will focus on recognizing rhythms, listening intelligently, and singing successfully! It will also include a drum circle and a guest lecturer!! All in three days and for only $30! The course will run 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for 3 days.

To register your child for either camp, please visit or by calling 410-810-2060. The cost of the one-week MUSICAMP is $180 (scholarships are available) and $30 for the three-day Summer Music Experience. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

The Fairlee Diverse Band to Offer Free Outdoor Concert at The Mainstay


The Fairlee Diverse Band, whose members are all on staff at Camp Fairlee, will play a free outdoor concert on the back deck of The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Saturday July 30 at 7:00 p.m..

FairleeDiverse001Information is available at the Mainstay’s website

What happens when you bring together a South African djembe drummer and a New Zealand singer songwriter along with a couple of musical Brits? Is it world music? Or global pop? You can find out when The Fairlee Diverse Band plays The Mainstay’s free summer concert series.

The band members are all are at Camp Fairlee for the summer and they say that a drum kit, electric guitar and keyboards will also be involved.

Bring a comfortable chair. The concert will move indoors to The Mainstay in the event of rain or excessive heat.

The Mainstay’s free summer concert series is sponsored by Peoples Bank.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street.

Gregorio Uribe Big Band to Headline Sultana Gala


The Gregorio Uribe Big Band will be the featured attraction for the Sultana Education Foundation’s Annual Gala on September 17 in Chestertown. Typically attracting more than 400 guests, this annual event is the Foundation’s single largest fundraiser, with proceeds going to support Sultana’s award-winning educational programs in History and Science for K-12 students.

DSC_2372Led by Gregorio Uribe, and featuring 16 world-class musicians from Colombia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States, the Gregorio Uribe Big Band has been hailed by the likes of Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, and National Public Radio (NPR) as among the finest Latin jazz bands in the world. A native of Colombia, 30 year-old band leader Uribe is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, a former artist in residence at Dartmouth College, and has been recognized by his home country as one of the “100 Most Successful Colombians Abroad.” Uribe tours with his band nationally and internationally, and has played at world-class venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and New York’s Lincoln Center.

“Sultana is proud to have MasterCard North America as the lead sponsor for our Annual Gala, as well as the support of other local and national firms including Chesapeake Bank and Trust and XL Catlin,” said Sultana Board Chair Patti Hegland. “We are also honored to have the Knight family as our co-hosts for what we expect will be a great evening on the shores of the Chester River.”

Sultana’s 2016 Gala has unique significance as it will be the final public event of the Foundation’s four-year Comprehensive Campaign that has underwritten the construction of the Sultana’s new LEED Platinum Education Center in Chestertown. Ribbon Cutting for the Education Center is scheduled for September 2, 2016.

For additional information about Sultana’s Annual Gala and to purchase tickets visit or call 410-778-5954.

Heartland Quilters Host “One Stop Shop Hop” and Quilt Exhibits


13418453_10209906498642256_2346401528797546620_oHeartland Quilt Guild of the Eastern Shore will be hosting it’s 8th annual One Stop Shop Hop on Thursday, August 4 at the Denton Volunteer Fire Hall, Denton, MD from 2-8 pm. There is a nominal admission fee of $4, which includes an entry ticket for a fantastic door prize provided by Sulky. With over 20 vendors, door prizes, silent auctions, and our Scrap Bag Bonanza our Shop Hop again promises to be fun and exciting. Inside the firehouse you will find vendors from the Mid-Atlantic region, including quilt and fabric shops, crafters, long armers, raffle quilts, door prizes and so much more!

This year we’ve added an extra day and two new events:

On Thursday a Listen & Learn – Thread Jazz for Quilting and Embellishing, plus Needle and Thread Know-How lecture presented by Sulky. This is a free lecture with limited seating. Its from 11-12:30 at the Denton Library ( which is having a quilt display, too!) We encourage those interested to visit our website to register and for more information.

On Friday we’re sponsoring a “Vintage Quilting” class with featured instructor Jane Hauprich. In this class you will take a vintage hanky (one of your own or choose one that she has available for a small fee), and learn to make it into a work of art that you can display instead of keeping those vintage linens tucked away in a drawer!! Visit our website to register and for more information.

Just blocks away from the firehouse, there is an antique quilt display located at Caroline County’s Rural Life Museum held in conjunction with Heartland Quilter’s Shop Hop on August 4th. Visitors can take a step back in time and enjoy a garden of botanical quilts spanning over 100 years of quilting history. In addition there will be patriotic quilts to complement the WWII display currently at the museum. As an added bonus visitors will see doll and crib quilts. The display will be at the museum July 15th through August 17th. Heartland Quilt Guild members will be available August 4th and 5th to discuss the quilts and their history.

Then, be sure to visit the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) to view “Tangled in Wool — The Art of Felt”. As the world’s oldest form of fiber art, felting has been through many transformations. Modern felt artists have taken the media to a new level and are using it to paint, sculpt, and adorn. Make your way into the gallery to be delighted by the creations by our local artists. You will be surprised!

Heartland Quilters, currently with a membership of 55, was established to bring together persons interested in quilts and quilting. We support and encourage the art of making, studying and enjoying quilts. Throughout the year, we offer a variety of programs, lectures, and classes/workshops related to quilting. We meet the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Choptank Electric Meeting Room (Alt 404 & Rte 328) in Denton, MD.