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American Shakespeare Center to Perform The Two Gentlemen of Veronaon Sept. 8

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CHESTERTOWN, MD—The American Shakespeare Center On Tour, whose authentic Renaissance performance style strives to bring audience and players into a closer, more communal relationship, will visit Washington College and perform The Two Gentlemen of Verona as part of the Rose O’Neill Literary House’s Sophie Kerr Lecture Series.

americanshakespearecenter

The performance, which will be free and open to the public, will be held at 7:30 PM on September 8 in the Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. It features in its cast a recently adopted dog from the Kent County Humane Society, who will be present before and after the show.

The ASC On Tour invites audiences to enjoy this show as Shakespeare’s troupe performed it—on a bare stage and surrounded by audience members who share the same light with the actors, each of whom plays multiple roles. This highly interactive style allows the ASC On Tour to forge a sense of community between performers and audience rarely found in theater today, and enables audiences to better understand and enjoy these classic works.

Founded in 1988, the ASC On Tour boasts more than 25 years’ worth of global touring experience on stages in 47 states, five foreign nations, and one U.S. territory. The ASC On Tour previously visited Washington College in 2013 for a performance of Henry IV, Part 1.

For more information on The American Shakespeare Center, visit their website at www.americanshakespearecenter.com. For more information on Sophie Kerr events, visit www.washcoll.edu/departments/english/events.php.

U.S. Navy’s Electric Brigade Lights Up Washington College in Outdoor Concert

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CHESTERTOWN, MD—As part of its 2016-2017 Premier Artists lineup, the Washington College Concert Series presents Electric Brigade, the U.S. Navy’s popular music group, on September 6 at 6:00 p.m. This free family-friendly program will take place outdoors in Martha Washington Square. Bring a blanket and come enjoy some great pop/rock music!

Electric Brigade 1 copy

The Electric Brigade (EB), the Navy’s premier popular music group, has been entertaining audiences around the world since 1979. Acting as the United States Naval Academy’s musical ambassadors to the nation, EB serves as a major public relations tool for the Navy, supporting Navy recruiting by acquainting young Americans with the Armed Forces. With its unique brand of high-energy performance, this elite group has set the standard in popular music entertainment for United States Navy Bands all over the world.

Under the direction of Chief Musician Rory Cherry, EB’s repertoire has grown to include the most current and popular music, as well as rhythm and blues, dance, Motown, classic rock, modern rock, soul, hip-hop, swing, country, and disco. The group excels at reaching young adults, but appeals to all audiences.

At the Naval Academy, EB is called upon to entertain the Brigade of Midshipmen at a variety of functions, ranging from formal occasions, such as the Graduation Ball during Commissioning Week, to informal dances and pep rallies. In recent years, the group has traveled to the Houston Bowl and Emerald Bowl, performing at tailgate parties to support the Midshipmen and Navy football. Annually, the Electric Brigade plays a role in the week-long festivities leading up to the classic Army-Navy football game.

For questions about this concert or to learn more about out Premier Artist Subscription Series, call 410-778-7839, email concertseries@washcoll.edu, or check out our website: washcoll.edu/concert.See you on September 6!

Percussionist and Professor John Leupold Kicks Off The Season’s Free 12@Hotchkiss Music Series

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JohnLeupoldCHESTERTOWN, MD—The first 12@Hotchkiss concert of the 2016-17 academic year at Washington College will feature the world premiere of Assistant Professor of Music John Leupold’s pieces, “Threes on the Line” and “Quadridgeminal Deference.” The concert, on Friday Sept. 2 at noon, is in Hotchkiss Recital Hall at the Gibson Center for the Arts, and is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature four works, all composed by Leupold within the last two years. They are “Fragmentary Bibelot” for clarinet and bassoon, “Predestined Morphology” for solo drumset, “Threes on the Line” for harp and percussion, and “Quadridgeminal Deference” for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon.

The performers are all professional musicians based in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, and Leupold will preface each work with a short explanation of its creative conception.

After the conclusion of the concert, there will be a short Q&A session with the performers.

Leupold holds a doctor of musical arts in composition from the University of Maryland, College Park, and two master of music degrees from Appalachian State University in music theory/composition and percussion performance. He has studied steel drum performance at the University of the West Indies and tabla performance with Pandit Sharda Sahai, and is the head of the Steel Band Ensemble at Washington College. His first CD, Exasperating Perpetuation, can be purchased via iTunes and Ravello Records. More information can be found at www.johnleupold.com.

‘America’s Big Band’ to Perform Free Jazz Show By Ron Liebman

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This year the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival will feature the Jazz Ambassadors, the official touring band of the United States Army. Also known as America’s Big Band, this 19-piece ensemble, in existence since 1969, has toured throughout the U.S. and abroad, thrilling audiences with their varied repertoire that runs the gamut of jazz styles. Whether it’s big band swing, bebop, Latin, standards, contemporary, Dixieland, you name it, the Jazz Ambassadors will likely keep your toes tapping and your knees jumping.

Over the years the band has been featured performers in most of the world’s other jazz festivals, including the famous Montreux (Switzerland) and Newport (Rhode Island) Jazz festivals. They are known for their custom-tailored compositions and arrangements that display their musical virtuosity, both as a tight knit and sophisticated orchestra, as well as a melodic and rhythmic podium for the group’s creative soloists.

The Jazz Ambassadors will take the stage at the Avalon Theater on Saturday morning August 3, 2016 at 10:30AM. The concert is free and seating is open on a first come first served basis.

Jazz Ambassadors

Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Schedule

Friday, September 2nd
• 8 p.m. – The Magic of Gershwin with Ted Rosenthal and Chuck Redd

Saturday, September 3rd
• 10 a.m. – FREE Community Concert with the United States Army Jazz Ambassadors

• 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Brunch at the Tidewater Inn, featuring bassist Max Murray and his band. Please make a reservation with the Tidewater Inn!

• 2 p.m. – The Musical Universe of Dominick Farinacci

• 8 p.m. – Monty Alexander presents Remembering Jazz at the Philharmonic

Sunday, September 4th
• 2 p.m. – The Spirit of Cyrus Chestnut, featuring Howard University’s premier vocal jazz en-semble Afro Blue

All concerts held at the Avalon Theatre unless stated otherwise

To purchase tickets, visit Chesapeakejazz.org or call 410-819-0380

Academy Art Museum Announces Resignation of Director Dennis McFadden

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Carolyn Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Academy Art Museum, has announced that Dennis J. McFadden, Director of the Museum since February of 2015, has tendered his resignation effective November 1, 2016. Ms. Williams expressed the appreciation of the Board and staff of the Museum for Dennis’s many contributions in spearheading a searching examination of the Museum’s facilities, operations, and staffing needs, encouraging robust collaborations with cultural organizations, and fostering a collegial staff environment.

Williams states, “The Academy Art Museum has been fortunate to have a museum professional of Dennis’s caliber, long experience, and manifest integrity to supervise operations during a period when ours, like many cultural organizations, has faced a challenging environment.” She added that all who have worked with him wish him every success in his future endeavors.

McFadden will remain at the Museum through October to keep the Museum on a steady course, including overseeing ARTober: A Celebration of the Arts on the Eastern Shore, an innovative month-long schedule of visual and performing arts programming that the Museum has organized.

He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to lead the Academy Art Museum and for the support he has received from its Board, staff, and members. He also thanked his colleagues at other cultural organizations in the region for their friendship and support.

According to Williams, the Museum’s Board of Trustees is proceeding in a search for a new director.

Delmarva Review: Tidepool Strata Near Half Moon Bay by Judith McCombs

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Tidepool Strata Near Half Moon Bay

I was there at first light, in the minus tide,
picking my way across weed-strewn strata
risen from sea. Wave crests, far out;
white gulls at the edge of a bay revealed,
shore beyond shore. A grey shape lifted
from hidden fissures, heron, great blue,
pterodactyl beak gliding and stabbing.

Fault lines of granite angled me out:
at my feet a skittery n
ew-winged cloud
of insects risen from chasm. I saw
how barren the channels where alien landwater
ran undersea; how fierce with life
the crevices, hollows, inlets where waves
surged and withdrew, flotsam and foam.

I stepped between weed-mounds, myriad black snails
coiled in their pearl, small anemones shut
to the air, fisting their grit-studded muscle.
I bent to the tidepools where sculpin hovered,
the sidelong hermit put forth its black limbs,
and the great anemones opened their ancient
animal flowering, corolla and mouth.

I gave thanks for the ancestors, foam cell and breath,
for the bones and the softness; for the deep flood-tides
of the young, the slowing blood-tides of the old.
For the lessons of stone, breaking down, and of water,
flowing on. For the unseen life that feeds,
and the seeing. For the great primordial light
that pulls the tilting earth; for the lesser
light pulling and heaping the seas. For all this,
and the salt in my mouth, the sea in my hands.

By Judith McCombs

Maryland poet Judith McCombs has been published in numerous literary journals. Her fifth book is The Habit of Fire: Poems Selected & New. She has held NEH and Canadian Senior Fellowships and won the Maryland State Arts Council’s highest Individual Artist Award for poetry, in 2009. She teaches at The Writer’s Center.

The Spy is pleased to reprint Ms. McCombs poetry from The Delmarva Review, Volume 8 (2015). The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association with additional support from private contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council. Print and digital editions are available from libraries, local bookstores, and Amazon.com. For information, visit: www.delmarvareview.com.

Cyrus Chestnut and Afro Blue To Star at Jazz Festival’s Finale By Beth Schucker

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Pianist Cyrus Chestnut can boast a solid niche in today’s jazz world. Critics claim that his swinging bluesy swagger and resonant lyricism set him apart. His lush chords and affable gospel keep audiences with him and keep his music in recognizable form.

CyrusThe New York Daily News once heralded Cyrus as the “rightful kin to Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Erroll Garner.” Chestnut listened hard to the music of those greats of yester year. “That’s how I found out who I was and how I should express myself.” According to the New York Times, “Mr. Chestnut appears comfortable with his placement in time. What makes his music fly is a complete security in his style, and that sense of untroubled self-assurance.”

Cyrus was born in Baltimore in 1963, a child prodigy, playing piano in church at age six and enrolled in Peabody by the age of nine. An award-winning graduate of the Berklee Music College, Chestnut muses that two years on the road with Betty Carter satisfied his graduate school requirements. She urged him to take chances and play things he’d never heard. And such was Chestnut’s year-long tour in the mid-90’s with opera singer, Kathleen Battle, which culminated with their recording of So Many Stars.

Today, Chestnut’s trio meshes jazz, blues and gospel. 2016 has been a busy year, with his “Natural Essence” CD release and summer performances at the Blue Note in NYC, Blues Alley in DC and a month’s tour in Europe. He’s is also a professor of piano at Howard University in DC.
“I was overwhelmed when Monty called about the Festival — I’ve been a fan of Monty’s since I was a tyke,” says Chestnut, who is also excited about being onstage with Howard University’s premier a cappella jazz ensemble, Afro Blue.

Afro Blue’s style has been likened to that of The Manhattan Transfer and has received critical acclaim for sounding like a “big band.” The ensemble has performed in programs with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops and shared the Kennedy Center stage with Dr. Billy Taylor. Chestnut and Afro Blue hope to do a number together. “We’ll be shooting for good music and good energy. We want to show off skills,” says Chestnut.

Mmh? How does a piano player perform with a vocal ensemble that sings without music? Wait and see. “The ‘how’s’ of the matinee performance are still in the works,” Chestnut admits. For sure there will be a “set list.” Then in his quiet way he says, “But that doesn’t mean we’ll follow it.” That’s jazz!

Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Schedule

Friday, September 2nd
• 8 p.m. – The Magic of Gershwin with Ted Rosenthal and Chuck Redd

Saturday, September 3rd
• 10 a.m. – FREE Community Concert with the United States Army Jazz Ambassadors

• 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Brunch at the Tidewater Inn, featuring bassist Max Murray and his band
Please make a reservation with the Tidewater Inn!

• 2 p.m. – The Musical Universe of Dominick Farinacci

• 8 p.m. – Monty Alexander presents Remembering Jazz at the Philharmonic

Sunday, September 4th
• 2 p.m. – The Spirit of Cyrus Chestnut, featuring Howard University’s premier vocal jazz en-semble Afro Blue

All concerts held at the Avalon Theatre unless stated otherwise

To purchase tickets, visit Chesapeakejazz.org or call 410-819-0380

The Kathy Kallick Band at The Mainstay, September 2

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The Kathy Kallick Band, one of the top bluegrass bands in the country, makes a Labor Day Weekend stop at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Friday September 2 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org.

Kathy Kallick Band hr -anne-hamerskyKathy Kallick is a legend in bluegrass: one of the great bluegrass bandleaders, composers and vocalists. In 2015, she released her 20th album, Foxhounds which has spent many weeks at #1 on the Roots Music Report list and is now #2 on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts (the National Bluegrass Survey).

Her recordings include nearly 150 of her original songs and she has been among the elite of contemporary songwriters and singers since co-founding the internationally-acclaimed band, Good Ol’ Persons nearly 40 years ago. Along the way, she has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards for her part on True Life Blues: The Songs Of Bill Monroe and has had five title tracks and albums, Call Me A Taxi, Walkin’ In My Shoes, Warmer Kind Of Blue, Between the Hollow and the High-Rise, and Time, each spend a year in the upper echelon of the national bluegrass charts. She has written and recorded award-winning music for children and families and toured throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.

Kellick and her band are based along the West Coast from San Francisco to Alaska. Their innovative bluegrass honors tradition and yet is contemporary in sound and vision and they are known for their solid, hard-driving mix of originals and classics. The band features Kathy Kallick on guitar and vocals; Annie Staninec on fiddle and vocals; Cary Black on acoustic bass and vocals; Greg Booth on dobro, banjo and vocals; and Tom Bekeny on mandolin and vocals. Their instrumental work is dazzling and inventive and the vocals, whether 5-part harmonies or solos are extraordinary.

Her new recording, Foxhounds, is a collection of new and traditional bluegrass. Its title track describes an evening kellick once spent on Bill Monroe’s porch listening to the high lonesome sound of his foxhounds in the distance.

This will be a wonderful evening of bluegrass, a powerful mixture of original and classic material, mirroring the band’s distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary sensibilities. The band has nearly as much fun as the audience when performing. The material is compelling, the tone ranges from humorous to bittersweet to soulful, the instrumental playing is dazzling and the vocals luminous. It is, as the band says “hot bluegrass and cool originals.”

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

Just In: Chestertown’s Red Devil Moon Gets Blockbuster Review

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The Spy noticed that the most recent review of Red Devil Moon at the Fringe Theater Festival starts with the following line:

“I get goose bumps all over again just thinking of the rousing musical anthems of “Red Devil Moon.”

You get the idea.  Read the full review here.