Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble Starts New Season


The rehearsal of Monday evening, September 14, marks the start of the 15th season of the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble, the community concert band based in Chestertown. The ensemble was created in 2001 by a group of community wind- and percussion-instrument players who recognized a need to have not only a local community marching band but also a concert band in which to learn and perform various types of music.

Dr. Keith A. Wharton, a veteran of more than 30 years as a music teacher in the Kent County Public Schools and also on the music staff of Washington College, has been the band’s music director from the beginning. He has programmed more than 60 concerts for the wind ensemble, and some of the founding members have performed in all or nearly all of them. The ensemble and Dr. Wharton still maintain their original philosophy of “providing a music group in which the members can expand their skills, play quality music, and enjoy themselves in a supportive, collegial atmosphere as well as entertain audiences.”

The band’s first free concert, one of the musical events of Schooner Sultana’s Downrigging Weekend, will be at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 1, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in downtown Chestertown. The program will be a combination of pieces oriented towards Halloween (such as the ominous contemporary piece “Nemesis” and “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the latter inspired by the Stephen King story of the same name) and pieces of a more operatic nature (such as “Intermezzo” from Pagliacci, selections from The Pirates of Penzance, and C. Barber’s “Aria Without Words”).

The next concert will be a Christmas/winter-holiday concert on December 6. Concerts during the second half of the season will be on March 20 and May 22. All will be at Emmanuel Church, with free admission. The ensemble is partially supported by the Kent County Arts Council and by community donations.

The band welcomes new members at any time, without audition or fee, but the start of a new season is an especially good time to join. Since its founding, the band has rehearsed at Kent County Middle School, but starting this season rehearsals will be on most Monday evenings in the band room at Washington College (No. 116 in the Gibson Center for the Arts). Rehearsals begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and end promptly at 8:30.

Members range from advanced middle-school instrumentalists to retirees, some of whom have returned to playing their instruments after years away from them. Members have a variety of musical and vocational backgrounds and experiences but have a very consistent record of attendance, a testament to their dedication and enjoyment. For further information or to join, prospective members may call 410-778-2829 or 410-810-1834. Or to simply join, they should just arrive at the first rehearsal somewhat before 7:00.

For the Love of Jazz: Al Sikes and the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival


Leave it Talbot County to not only host a significant jazz festival every year but to have a former chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as its founder and current producer. That’s what Al Sikes was under George H. W. Bush, and brings to the table in organizing and promoting the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival (a program of the Chesapeake Chamber Music), considered by many as one the best small jazz festivals in the country.

In Al’s interview with the Spy, he talks about the festival’s artistic director, Monty Alexander,  his own passion for jazz, the musical diversity it contains, and how it spans generations in both appeal and impact.

<i>This video is approximately four minutes in length</i>

<em>Tickets and more information about the festival can be found <a href=”http://chesapeakechambermusic.org/jazz/schedule/” target=”_blank”>here</a></em>

“Noises Off” Opens at Church Hill Theatre

The cast, left to right, Lloyd (Will Robinson), Roger/Gary (Ricky Vitanovic), Burglar/Selsdon (Pat Patterson), Poppy (Christine Kinlock),Vivki/Brooke (Heather Oland), Flavia/Belinda (Jane Copple), Philip/Frederick (Patrick Fee), and Mrs. Clackett/Dottie (Maggie Garey) react to "A good old fashioned plate of sardines." in Church Hill Theatre’s production of the farce “Noises Off” playing weekends Sept. 11 through Sept. 27.

The cast, left to right, Lloyd (Will Robinson), Roger/Gary (Ricky Vitanovic), Burglar/Selsdon (Pat Patterson), Poppy (Christine Kinlock),Vivki/Brooke (Heather Oland), Flavia/Belinda (Jane Copple), Philip/Frederick (Patrick Fee), and Mrs. Clackett/Dottie (Maggie Garey) react to “A good old fashioned plate of sardines.” in Church Hill Theatre’s production of the farce “Noises Off” playing weekends Sept. 11 through Sept. 27.

Michael Frayn’s Noises Off was called “the funniest farce ever written!” by the New York Post and a “festival of delirium” by the New York Times. Shelagh Grasso directs the Church Hill Theatre production from September 11 to 27. Noises Off won the 1982 Laurence Oliver award for best play and was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk best play awards.

The three acts of Noises Off portray different performances of the sexy British farce Nothing On, with both back-stage and front of the house views. Love affairs, missed cues, missing sardines and plenty of character flaws ensure that Nothing On isn’t likely to make it to Broadway. Noises Off characters include the director, his stage crew and an assortment of has-been and wanna-be actors. The Nothing On characters portray the residents of a stately British country home and their unexpected visitors.

Will Robinson plays Lloyd Dallas, the temperamental director of Nothing On. He is assisted by Stage Manager Timothy Allgood, played by John Haas, and an Assistant Stage Manager, the emotional Poppy Norton-Taylor, played by Christine Kinlock. Allgood and Norton-Taylor also understudy roles in Nothing On. The Nothing On cast includes Mrs. Clackett, the forgetful older actress Dotty Otley (played by Maggie Garey; Roger, a shady real estate agent portrayed by the stuttering actor Garry Lejeune (played by Ricky Vitanovic); the headstrong ingénue Vicki, the actress Brooke Ashton (played by Heather Oland), the home owner Philip Brent, the dim and pompous actor Freddy Fellowes (played by Patrick J. Fee); Flavia Brent, the reliable actress Belinda Blair (played by Jane Copple); an elderly burglar, the tipsy actor Selsdon Mowbray (played by Pat Patterson); and a mysterious sheikh interested in renting the house (played by Freddy/ Fee).

Sheila Grasso’s production team will have its hands full, as the complex set is an integral part of the fun and all the exits, entrances and door slams require fine-tuned choreography. Her Producers are Sally Borghardt and Julie Lawrence. Stage Manager Michelle Christopher is assisted by Robbie Spray. Technical Director Carmen Grasso worked with Shelagh Grasso and Brian Draper to design and decorate the set. Costume design is by Barbie Bidell and Lighting design by Nic Carter.

Noises Off runs from September 11-27, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and on Sundays at 2 pm. CHT offers special 2 for the price of 1 ticket on opening night, Friday, September 11 for those who reserve by phone. Call the box office at 410-556-6003 or visit the website www.churchhilltheatre.org for details and reservations.


Front photo: Center Lloyd (Will Robinson) attempts to direct “Noises Off” characters left to right, Garry (Ricky Vitanovic), Selsdon (Pat Patterson), Belinda (Jane Copple) and Brooke (Heather Oland) in Church Hill Theatre’s production of the farce “Noises Off” playing weekendsSept. 11 through Sept. 27.


For the Birds—Really: Lynne Parks Exhibits “Flight Risk” at Sandbox Initiative


Birds1 Environmental artist Lynne Parks has an interesting exhibition, “Flight Risk,” showing at the Sandbox Initiative on Cross Street until Septemeber 17. Parks has merged her love for all things avian with a surprising way to safeguard bird flight—you know, those lethal glass windows—presented as a display of reflective tear-dropped shields with insignias signifying predators to scare the birds away. These are placed among rows of Audobon-like bird illustrations to help convey the reality that these collisions can be prevented. It’s a little Joseph Cornell, and a lot ingenious and should be seen with the rest of her presentation.

A reception to meet the artist will take place September 4, from 5-7 pm at Sandbox.

Parks will also give an illustrated talk at 5 pm September 16 at Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center, Washington College.

Parks writes about her work:

“I’ve always loved birds.  I come from a family of bird lovers.  My dad was one of those magical people who could feed yard birds out of his hand and he was always helping injured animals.  I feel like I’m continuing his work.  Every year we learn more about the incredible intelligence of modern dinosaurs, birds.  Too many are dying from manmade structures placed along their migratory pathways.  A fatal combination of light pollution and glass kills as many as a billion birds in the United States each year and many populations are in decline.  I hope to encourage developers and architects to build in accordance with nature’s great movements or we’ll lose the many benefits birds provide.  From ecoservices to aesthetics, birds have always been with humans.  In my multimedia work, I address the marvels of avian physiognomy and the dangers mankind has inadvertently created for wildlife in the brief modern era.  Our ingenuity has outpaced many birds ability to adapt.  Let’s use that ingenuity to save them,” write Lynn Parks;

 Curatorial Statement: Flight Risk: Modern Obstacles in Migratory Pathways In the modern world our footprint on the planet continues to deepen. In urban areas distanced from the cycles of our organic environments, the effects may not always be visible, but they are very real.

For centuries the beauty of the natural world has been celebrated through creative practices. Art has long documented and inspired the wonders of nature. From cave paintings etched onto rock that date back as far as 40,000 BCE depicting images of animals and man sharing the land, to Frida Kahlo’s numerous self-portraits of her among plants and animals – there is no doubt that man longs for a connection to the natural world. In this, art and nature have a symbolic relationship, an interplay: nature intrigues man with its elusive complexities and man honors her in creative homage.

In Flight Risk Lynne Parks displays her passion for and dedication to the aviary world. Through her meticulous, mindful craft, the incredible beauty of these animals is revealed, yet upon closer inspection there lies a narrative. The organic color and line of the birds’ feathers is among lines of light formed by manufactured glass. The birds are still, lifeless. Parks confronts us with documentation of the damage our constructed lives unintentionally leave in their wake. Our mark – our footprint – is now visible.

The beauty of these images is alluring. It entices us to study these incredible creatures – in their stillness we are able to soak in details, understand their nuances, and explore their delicate, fragile beauty. Each strikes a distinct pose like a character in a play. Each is different, elegant and stunning.

Bird songs play overhead, immersing the viewer in the auditory gifts these creatures provide. Yet the songs are the silenced voices of the 98 species of birds found dead in Baltimore over a five period. Their ghostly songs haunt the exhibition space. Silence periodically punctures the soundtrack, serving as a warning of what is to come if we fail to consider these creatures in our future constructions.

There are solutions.

Following a purposeful design, we find such an example placed upon the gallery window. To reduce bird to glass impacts, Parks cuts CollidEscape film into shapes of bird species – drawn from her photographs – found in the Mid-Atlantic region particular to Baltimore and Chestertown.

Through her careful, minimal compositions Parks celebrates the complex beauty of these animals. Her homage has a message, examples of what is, and foreshadowing what is to come if we continue our careless ways.

Twenty-Fifth Reunion by Barbara Crooker


25th reunion

A quarter of a century
since we left high school,
and we’ve gathered at a posh restaurant.
A little heavier, a little grayer,
we look for the yearbook pictures
caught inside these bodies of strangers.
Some of our faces are etched with lines,
the faint tracing of a lover’s touch,
and some of our hair is silver-white,
a breath of frost. And some of us are gone.
But he’s here, the dark angel,
everyone’s last lover, up at the microphone
singing Save the last dance for me;
he’s singing a cappella, the notes rising
sweetly, yearningly toward the ceiling,
which is now festooned with tissue flowers,
paper streamers, balloons.
And we’re all eighteen again,
lines and wrinkles erased, gray hairs gone,
our slim bodies back, the perfect editing.
A saxophone keens its reedy insistence;
scents of gardenias and tea roses float in the air
from our wrist corsages and boutonnieres.
No children or lovers have broken our hearts,
it’s just all of us, together,
in our fresh young skin,
ready to do it all over again.

Poem copyright ©2015 by Barbara Crooker, “25th Reunion,” from Selected Poems, (Futurecycle Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Barbara Crooker and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Modern Man Makes Final Appearance at The Mainstay, September 5


Often described as a cross between Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Marx Brothers, David Buskin, Rob Carlson and George Wurzbach as Modern Man will bring their humorous and laugh-out-loud funny topical songs to the Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Saturday September 5 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.09.27 AMSince 1998, David Buskin, Rob Carlson and George Wurzbach, three celebrated singers and songwriters and terrific instrumentalists with gorgeous voices have been making crowds laugh out loud with their wacky wit and great sense of timing. George Wurzbach is retiring from touring and they are now making their final round of appearances including this last show at the Mainstay where they have been audience favorites for several years.

As a group they claim to have “quickly redefined something-or-other” and have delighted audiences as they interweave themes ranging from God to Godzilla, from manliness to cluelessness, from ESPN to the FBI with “a vocal blend that has not been heard since Ella and F. Scott Fitzgerald went their separate ways.”

The group began in New York at the legendary Bottom Line when David Buskin of Buskin and Batteau met Rob Carlson who was performing there. David introduced Rob to George Wurzbach and the three became Modern Man. They toured widely on the East Coast and went on to win Back Stage Magazine’s “Bistro Award” in 2002 for Best Musical Comedy and the 2008 New York Nightlife Award for best comedy group in New York.

Spike Barkin, producer of the Roots of American Music Festival at Lincoln Center said, “without question the cleverest, funniest, most versatile group that I have heard in years.”

In addition to Lincoln Center, they played many other prestigious venues such as The Bottom Line, Town Hall and The Barns at Wolf Trap and festivals including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Clearwater Festival, Kerrville, Falcon Ridge and Summerfolk (Canada).

Their debut CD, “The Wide Album,” was recorded live at New York’s The Bottom Line. Their other recordings include 2004’s “Modern Immaturity” and 2007’s “Assisted Living.” Their most recent recording, a single song “Los Geezers del Amore” is available as a download.

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

Vic Vaccuum and the Attachments To Rock Music In The Park Saturday


Fountain Park should be rocking this Saturday, with the return of Vic Vacuum and the Attachments.

Kent County’s own Mike McBride, on electric bass, leads the band in a set of classic rock. The setlist is likely to feature tunes from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Petty and Jimi Hendrix. The band is a favorite at Rock Hall Fallfest.

McBride has been playing music since his high school days, when he and a group of friends won a battle of the bands in Fountain Park in the 1960s. Later, he played folk music with guitarist Bill Matthews, who introduced him to the guitar styles of Merle Travis, Mississippi John Hurt and others. In addition to guitar and bass, he also plays mandolin.

In the 1970s, he moved to Nashville where he toured with country outlaw Johnny Paycheck and recorded with the legendary studio band Barefoot Jerry, master fiddler Vassar Clements, mandolin virtuoso Jethro Burns, and country stars David Frizell and Shelly West, among others. He can be heard on six platinum records and six gold records, with more than 15 million total sales.

Joining McBride for the concert are Carl Peters, guitar and vocal; Joe Martone, keyboards and vocal; and Dale Trusheim on drums. Peters was a member of Blind Willie and Nasty Habits, two blues-rock bands that gigged regularly around Delaware.

Martone has played with nationally known acts including Chuck Berry, the Drifters, the Coasters, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

Trusheim has played for years around Maryland and Delaware, and was the original drummer with Fat Shadow, Cowboy Jazz and the Wazoos.

Trusheim is also responsible for the band’s name. A few years back when he and McBride were preparing for a gig, Trusheim said “I always wanted to be in a band named ‘Vic Vacuum and the Attachments.'” When McBride stopped laughing, he decided to use the name, and it stuck.

The concert begins at 7 p.m and runs till about 8:30. Audience members should bring something to sit on. Only limited seating is available. In case of rain, the concert will move to Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 101 N. Cross St., across from the park.
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 118 N. Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620.

Rain location: Emmanuel Episcopal Church – 101 N. Cross St. across from the park.

Get Ready!—Cardboard Boat Building Workshop


Have you ever dreamed of building your own boat? What about one made out of cardboard, glue and duct tape? The Center for Environment & Society’s 9th Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta is fast approaching and will give you the opportunity to test your boatbuilding (and racing) skills. Join us on Wednesday, September 2, for a cardboard boat building workshop. Stop by the Washington College Boathouse between 6 and 8pm to learn how to turn a pile of cardboard into a seaworthy – or not so seaworthy – vessel.

The workshop and race are open to all members of the community. At the workshop, you’ll get all the rules and regulations, construction tips and design ideas. We’ll even have a previous entry on display and will be building a new vessel for this year’s race. The first 10 boat builders to officially register ($10 registration fee) for the regatta will receive a huge 4 by 8 foot piece of cardboard to get their boat building underway.

The boats will race at RiverFest on September 26, 2015, competing for $650 in cash prizes. The Center for Environment & Society has teamed up with Chestertown RiverArts and Washington College’s SANDBOX to bring you a day of fun celebrating our town and river. Regatta coordinator Jamie Frees says that work space and boat storage will be available to participants at the Washington College Boathouse.

For questions about the workshop or to register please contact Jamie Frees at 410-810-7162 or jfrees2@washcoll.edu. To register for the workshop online please visit here. To get to the College boathouse, follow Cross Street past the Police Station; the boathouse is located at the second driveway on the left past Wilmer Park.

Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Announces Fall Class Schedule

"Crossing Corn" by Kurt Plenke

“Crossing Corn” by Kurt Plenke

The Centre for the Arts is offering new fun & creative activities the whole family can enjoy. Students can learn to draw, dance, paint,make jewelry, design mosaics, get fit, and much more.  Visual art classes include “Drawing Made Easy” with Sally Clark, watercolor and acrylic painting classes, painting birds in gouache and a special workshop in collage. Candace Liccione is again offering a variety ofone day workshops that will help you create unique works of art to display and to wear.  Professionalphotographer Jay Fleming is back just in time for those gorgeous fall sunsets.  Known for his passionate photography of our Eastern Shore treasures, Jay will providehands on instruction in an outdoor setting.

Candice Lipcomb's Seashells

Candace Liccione’s Seashell Necklace

Challenge your mind and body!  Get fit and have fun every Thursday with Country Line Dancing or Zumba class with Zoe Golt Ferrin!  Miss Meg is back after a summer off with Zumbini for little ones up to age 5.

If you haven’t attended a Paintbrush Party, you should, the next one is October 23rd and will feature an Eastern Shore landscape.  Private on and offsite parties including birthday parties for ages 8 and up are offered as well.

Visit www.queenannescountyarts.com for our full class listing.    You can register on our website or call the Arts Council at 410-758-2520.   Classes are held at the Queen Anne’s County Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD  21617 unless otherwise noted.

Front image:   October 23rd Paintbrush Party Eastern Shore Landscape in progress by Instructor Sarah Lyle