Mid-Shore Arts: Lend Me a Tenor… from Goldsboro


The Tred Avon Players have lined up a blockbuster collection of comedies for their 2017 season, and starting this weekend, this humor campaign continues with the opening of Lend Me a Tenor at the Oxford Community Center.

The recipient of Tony awards and overcoming critical praise, the play takes place in 1934 in a hotel suite in Cleveland as the local opera company prepares for its season premier with the world famous tenor Tito Merelli appearing. But as TAP’s cast and crew tell it in their interview with the Spy, things don’t always work out the way one plans it, and the characters desperately seek out a last minute replacement

The Spy sat down with producer Leigh Marquess, director Zack Schlag, and actors Nick Grande from Cambridge and young Jared Koenig from Goldsboro, to talk about the plot, the laughs, and Jared’s character Max comes out of nowhere to save the show.

Evening performances of “Lend Me a Tenor” are scheduled for Thursday (“Thrifty Thursday,” featuring two-for-one tickets), April 27; Friday, April 28; and Saturday, April 29, all starting at 7:30 p.m. A Sunday matinee on April 30 begins at 2 p.m. The following weekend, evening shows are set for Thursday through Saturday, May 4-6, at 7:30 p.m., with the run wrapping on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. The Tred Avon Players are funded in part by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Eastport Oyster Boys at The Mainstay May 6


The Eastport Oyster Boys bring their maritime goodtime music to The Mainstay for the start of the boating season in Rock Hall, MD on Saturday May 6, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

In the Spring, when the sailors have burned their socks, boats are newly varnished and painted and the snowbirds have returned to put a new coat of paint on the deck chairs, it’s time for the maritime music of The Eastport Oyster Boys, the Goodwill Ambassadors for the City of Annapolis, the Maritime Republic of Eastport and the Chesapeake.

The Eastport Oyster Boys sing songs about the Bay region and the Eastern Shore from Conowingo to Ocean City. Their sound is a blend of original folk tunes, island rhythms, salsa, boogie, dixie-swing, waltzes, chanteys and some classic rock-and-roll, all with a maritime theme and an abundant sense of humor. Their songs feature deadrise workboats, oysters, good dogs, blue crabs, and other themes unique to the Chesapeake celebrating the rich maritime life and heritage of the area. Now into their third decade as a band, they may invite you to “Rock Around the Docks,” go “Downy Ocean Hon” or lament just being “Aground Again.”

Spinsheet Magazine said “The Boys’ style is fun and easy, while their lyrics sing true to the beauties and realities of living on the Bay.” Though calling the watermen’s village of the Maritime Republic of Eastport home, their songs and stories ring true in any of the Chesapeake’s harbor towns, dockyard bars, along its tributaries and in the quiet coves. Their music has been appreciated as far away as the shores of Nova Scotia, Ireland, Europe and Australia. The Boys’ spirit and music has also been featured in numerous national and international radio, television, print and film productions.

The band includes some of Eastport’s finest musicians (and boat bums): Kevin Brooks on guitar and six string banjo, the versatile Tom Guay on hammer dulcimer, fiddle and guitar, Andy Fegley on trombone and percussion, and Mike Lange on keyboards, uke and melodica.

Their concerts are a musical celebration of life on the shores of the Chesapeake and its many scenic rivers. For more than two decades they have educated, amused and delighted thousands with their wit, wisdom and special message of stewardship and appreciation for the Bay and its unique maritime culture and history. Anyone who loves being on or near the water will find they have a lot in common with The Eastport Oyster Boys whose simple philosophy can be summed up in their list of the three basic necessities of life: “a good hat, a good dog and a good boat!”

The Washington Post said, “If you’ve lost sight of why you live here, it’s time you heard The Eastport Oyster Boys. With tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, they write and sing songs about laid-back life on the Bay. They mix droll wit and a veritable cornucopia of musical styles – from Cuban jazz to Dixie swing to rockabilly to waltzes to calypso to country weepers to tangos….and they do it all with a joie de vivre that fuels good times like high octane gasoline.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and paying by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
May 8 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Barbara Ferris & Bob Colligan
May 13 Le Vent du Nord
May 15 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Meredith Hadaway
May 20 A Tribute to Dick Morgan with Tadataka Unno on piano
May 22 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Elisabeth Engle, vocals
May 27 Caitlin Canty

Christian Academy Students Participate in “Kids in the Gallery”


Christian Academy grades 3/4 repurposing books in KidSPOT during their Kids in the Gallery tour.

Students from Colleen Payne’s 3-4 combination class at Chestertown Christian Academy enjoyed a tour of “The Art of Stewardship” exhibit at the RiverArts Gallery on Thursday, April 20.They walked around the gallery, viewing, and stopping to discuss the artwork with docent Elizabeth Healy.

The tour, which is part of the RiverArts “Kids in the Gallery” program, was followed by an art activity which repurposed old books to create paper sculptures in the KidSPOT studio next door

“Kids in the Gallery” promotes visual literacy as well as art appreciation and an opportunity to create a work of art inspired by the exhibit of the month.The program is geared toward teachers and students in grades 1 -5.Elizabeth Healy, a retired elementary educator and trained gallery docent is the program director.

For more information about scheduling a visit, please call RiverArts director Andy Goddard at 410 778 6300 or email andygoddard@chestertownriverarts.org. www.chestertownriverarts.org

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 3 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

Guided Tours as Part of “The Way We Worked”


“The Way We Worked” takes to the streets starting April 29, with guided walking and driving tours of Chestertown and Kent County offering a unique perspective on local history, culture, and the ways in which work intertwines the two.

The series of tours, planned in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” traveling exhibition, begin on Saturday, April 29 with a walking tour of downtown Chestertown. Led by Patrick Nugent, deputy director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the tour will focus on the intersection of work history and African American history. Starting at Sumner Hall, the tour will wind its way through several historic African American neighborhoods, such as Scott’s Point and Santiago, tracking the expansion of African American work and culture from the riverfront to uptown factories and mills. Along the way, current and former residents will share their stories of work with stops at Church Alley, Janes Church, Cannon Street, the former Walley Funeral Home, Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School, and the site of the Uptown Club. For tour reservations email aceruzzi2@washcoll.edu

On Saturday, May 6, the Museums of Kent will host an open-house and driving tour.  Participants will have a chance to visit the wonderfully unique historic sites scattered throughout the county including the Bordley History Center; Massey Air Museum; Kent Farm Museum (agriculture, rural heritage); Knock’s Folly Visitor Center (farming, native American Tockwogh tribe); Betterton Heritage Museum (fishing and old recreation resorts); African American Schoolhouse; Cliffs School Museum; Rock Hall Museum; Tolchester Beach Revisited Museum, Rock Hall Waterman’s Museum; and Rock Hall Marine Restoration and Heritage Center. Maps and other information can be found at the Kent County Visitor Center at 400 High Street, Chestertown.

Tour Dates, Times, and Locations:

A Walk Through Working Chestertown:  Saturday, April 29: 10 AM – 1 PM, starts at Sumner Hall. Saturday, May 6: 10 AM – 1 PM, Starts at Sumner Hall. Reservations are recommended for both of these tours. For tour reservations email aceruzzi2@washcoll.edu

Museums of Kent Driving Tour

Saturday, May 6: 10 AM-4PM. Pick up maps and information at Kent County Visitor Center at 400 High Street, Chestertown.

“The Way We Worked” has been made possible in Maryland by Maryland Humanities and is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service brings high-quality traveling exhibits to small communities through their own Main Street museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. Residents enthusiastically engage with exhibition content, and diverse community members come together to share and celebrate their heritage. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

D’Amore Duo at the Garfield Center May 6


The D’Amore Duo – classical guitarist William Feasley and oboist Emily Tsai — are bringing their unique sound of classical guitar and oboe to the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown on Saturday, May 6 at 7 PM.

Feasley founded the D’Amore Duo in 1991 to explore chamber music for oboe and guitar.  This exploration expanded to jazz and other musical genres and to attracting works written for the Duo by renowned American and international composers. The varied program for this concert features works by Astor Piazzola, Napolean Coste, Chick Corea, Peter Madlem, Richard Greene, and Marcelo Ferraris. Included are three works written especially for the Duo by Ferraris, an Argentinian guitarist and composer; Greene, a classical violinist turned bluegrass fiddler; and celebrated American composer Madlem.

D’Amore Duo has toured internationally and domestically to enthusiastic reviews at venues such as St. Martin in the Fields in London; the Yale Centre for British Art; the National Cathedral and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the Arts Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand; the Spanish Institute in New York; and live on ABC International Radio in Sydney, Australia. They have released three critically-claimed recordings.

This musical evening begins at 7 PM. Tickets, $15 each, are available online at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling the box office at (410) 810-2060.The Garfield Center is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown, Maryland on the beautiful Eastern Shore.

About William Feasley. William Feasley, who resides in Maryland, was the first guitarist to be awarded the Peabody Conservatory’s Artist Diploma. He has since been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including a gold medal in the 1987 Pan Hellenic Guitar Competition in Athens and a 1996 Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Achievements in the Arts in Maryland. Feasley has performed worldwide and was selected to play for Andrés Segovia – “the father of modern classical guitar” — at the Master’s historic last class at the University of Southern California in 1986. Feasley’s recent tours took him to Australia, New Zealand, and more than a dozen countries in Europe and South America. Feasley is on the faculty of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland.

About Emily Tsai. Emily Tsai received her Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music from the University of Maryland. Emily was a top finisher in Concerto Competitions at Eastman and at the University of Maryland. She has participated in many Festivals including those in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Florida.Emily currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she ls an active freelance musician and on the faculty of the Holton-Arms School.

This concert was programmed by Kent County resident and life-long classical and jazz music lover Muphen R. Whitney.

Chester River Chorale Rehearsing More Than Song


Members of the Chester River Chorale have been belting out show stoppers or crooning love songs in the spring for almost two decades, but can the singers dance too? You can find out when “Hooray for Hollywood!” is presented at Washington College’s Decker Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 28th and 29th.

A few of the 90-plus Chorale members in the show have been taking dance lessons from Greg Minahan, who has brought his Broadway chops to lead the singers through their paces in moves choreographed by the Chorale’s own dance professional, alto Karen Lynn Smith, who directed the dance program at Washington College before retirement.

Minahan, who was a guest artist last spring in the Chorale’s “Shakespeare’s Songbook,” will serve as the song-and-dance master of ceremonies, soloing with an umbrella in “Singin’ in the Rain,” and leading the Chorale’s Hooray for Hollywood dancers in ballroom turns for “Cheek to Cheek” and some Snoopy-inspired boogying in “Better When I’m Dancin’.”

A bonus will be an interlude of movie themes by Maryland jazz and classical guitarist Tom Lagana.

The show marks the second year in a row that the Washington College Music Department has sponsored the Chorale’s spring show and helped put it on at the college’s Gibson Center for the Arts. Ken Schweitzer, chair of the Music Department, will serve as a percussionist as well as host.

The musical program, put together by Artistic Director Doug Cox and accompanied by the Chorale’s Sam Marshall, raises the curtain with Richard Roger’s “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” (from 1945’s State Fair) and concludes with the stirring rhythms of Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” (from 1989’s Working Girl).

Cox said he loves the music he chose “not for its tie to the Silver Screen, but rather for the memories I have whenever I hear it,” adding that the songs “are part of my personal life soundtrack.”

Tickets are $15—with students and children free—and will be available at the door in the Gibson Center for the Arts and are available in advance from the Chorale’s website, www.chesterriverchorale.org.

The Chester River Chorale is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded in part by Yerkes Construction Co., the Hedgelawn Foundation, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the Kent County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.

The CRC’s mission is to provide opportunity, education, and inspiration for amateur singers to strive for artistic excellence. our performances entertain diverse audiences and enrich the cultural life of the community. We can only succeed with the help of you, our audience. For more information visit www.chesterriverchorale.org; check out the Chorale on Facebook, or call 410–928–5566.

Ken Cowan Organ Concert at Emmanuel Church May 5


Ken Cowan will make his 22nd consecutive appearance at Emmanuel Church on May 5th, 7:30 p.m.  This remarkably talented organist has played every year to enthusiastic followers since Emmanuel’s Harrison organ was installed.  Besides displaying a huge variety of organ compositions at his recitals, all of the music is memorized.

Recent feature performances have included appearances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa California, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, Spivey Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as concerts in Germany and Korea. In addition, Mr. Cowan has been a featured artist in recent years at the national conventions of the American Guild of Organists held in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, has performed at many regional conventions of the AGO, and has been featured at several conventions of the Organ Historical Society and the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

Ken received the Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music/Institute of Sacred Music, studying organ with Thomas Murray. Prior to attending Yale, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with John Weaver. His major teacher during high school years was James Bingham, Organist/Choirmaster at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in Buffalo, NY, which is not far from his hometown Thorold, Ontario, Canada.

In 2012 Mr. Cowan joined the keyboard faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as Associate Professor and head of the organ program.

Delmarva Review: Dry-Dock Music: Baltimore By David Salner


Dry-Dock Music: Baltimore By David Salner

“It was therefore an act of supreme trust on the part
of a freeman of color thus to put in jeopardy
his liberty that another might be free.”
—from The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Surprising, most of all,
Stanley himself…. On the way to work that day,
he walked through clouds of cinnamon, an amber fog
enveloping the port, all the way to Fells Point
and the dry docks, where he works—

building a ship with four-pound mallet,
driving cotton-white strands between oak planks,
sealing a sharp-built hull with oakum
from keel to turn of bilge. Dry-dock music
freights the air, saw-scrape and mallet-knock,

chatter of carpenter and caulker,
craftsman and slave, of black and Irish
joined in an uneasy hug of labor. He knew the trades,
sailing and caulking, and others that a free man needs
in this slave port, like how to keep his freedom papers

always in his pocket, for the eagle stamp
protects him from slave catchers, the lowest form
of life, who love the music of another’s chains.
His papers say that he was born right here,
born free, but it was in the port of Charleston,

when he was just 15, that two white sailors
who hated slavery, grabbed him by the arms
and told a port patrolman, “This here’s
the cabin boy of our good ship, the Mother Mary.
His name is Stanley Johnson—he’s had a bit

and captain needs him sober, so let us pass.”
He had the wherewithal to play the drunk,
although he’d never had a sip, not then,
and with their help, he slipped
the chains of bondage, set sail on Mother Mary,

kidnapped into freedom. From that day on,
he’s worked on ships, on shipboard only,
where he feels free. Now that he’s old,
the ships he works on are in dry dock,
his papers always in his pocket.

They describe the bearer by his age,
color, height. . . . But they could just as easily
describe a man named Frederick, on his way
to freedom, with papers in his pocket
in the name of Stanley Johnson.

The Spy is pleased to reprint Mr. Salner’s poetry from The Delmarva Review, Volume 9. The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association with support from private contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For information, visit: www.delmarvareview.com.

Maryland poet David Salner worked for 25 years as an iron ore miner, steelworker, and general laborer. In addition to the Delmarva Review, his writing has appeared in the Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Threepenny Review, Salmagundi, River Styx, and many other magazines. His third book, Blue Morning Light (2016, Pond Road Press), features poems on the paintings of American artist George Bellows.

String Ensemble to Perform for National Music Festival’s Resonance Finale


Violinist Elizabeth Adams serves as a Mentor for the National Music Festival and is the leader of the Kassia Music Collective.

The ten musicians of the Kassia Music Collective & Friends will fill Chestertown’s Emmanuel Church with string music when they perform at 7:30pm on Saturday, April 22 to close the first season of Resonance, the National Music Festival’s chamber music series. Tickets are $20 and are available on the Festival’s website, www.nationalmusic.us, or at the door.

Before the concert, join us for Fabulous Finger Food, Wonderful Wine and Decadent Desserts! Dine in elegance at the famous Widehall home (101 N. Water Street) from 5pm to 7pm. Hear about the upcoming National Music Festival season from Artistic Director Richard Rosenberg, and about the story of Widehall from its owners. Then make the leisurely walk to the concert at Emmanuel Church. The proceeds will go support the Feed the Festival program of the NMF Hospitality Committee and will help serve apprentices and mentors during the Festival. Tickets are $50 and are available online at http://nationalmusic.us/get-involved/special-events/.

The Kassia Music Collective is a newly formed chamber ensemble dedicated to bringing contemporary music to the D.C. area. By focusing on the work of living composers, they play pieces that infuse classical music with different genres and styles, thereby shaping the direction of the western classical tradi­tion. They believe that contemporary music can entice listeners as it challenges them, can excite without abandoning the forms of music from the past, and can evolve without sacrificing beauty.

Their program includes a work by the group’s composer and pianist, Samuel Post, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Concerto for Two Violins in d, and a string symphony by Mendelssohn.

As the program also features Phanos Dymiotis’ Suite for Strings, the National Music Festival has designated this event as the 9th Annual Phanos Project Concert. While The Phanos Project began, informally, before the formation of the National Music Festival, it is now a part of the National Music Festival organization. Dymiotis was a violinist and composer from Cyprus, who lived and performed in Maryland until his death at age 41 in a collision with a drunk driver. He performed frequently in Kent County and on the Eastern Shore. The Phanos Project was formed to keep his music playing.

The Kassia Music Collective & Friends concert is the finale of the National Music Festival’s fall-to-spring monthly Resonance chamber music series. Resonance was formerly Kent Chamber Music. For individual tickets as well as annual NMF and Resonance passes, go to: http://nationalmusic.us/events-and-tickets/tickets/