Academy Art Museum Announces September Events


Bennett Bean, M# 1806 Triple on Base, 2015 Pit fired, painted and gilded earthenware clay Photographed by Barbara Livar.


Exhibitions are generously supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Star-Democrat.

Bennett Bean: Be Careful What You Fall in Love With
September 16–November 5, 2017
Curator-Led Tours: Wednesday, September 20, 11 a.m. Wednesday, November 1, 11 a.m.
Bennett Bean (1941) is an American ceramic artist best known as a ceramicist for his treatment of vessels post firing. He works in a range of media including stone, precious metals, wool and silk weaving, and painting. The Easton exhibition, his first solo museum exhibition.

David Driskell: Renewal and Form, Recent Prints
September 16–December 31, 2017 (with interruption from October 18–22 for Craft Show)
Noted artist and scholar, David Driskell, PhD, (1931) is widely respected as an artist, curator, educator, and scholar of African-American art. He is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park, and where the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora honors his contributions to the field. The exhibition comes to Easton from the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, in Rockland, ME, and was curated by Greenhut Galleries in Portland, ME.

David Driskell, The Hibiscus, Linocut.

Helen Siegl: Fantasy Creatures from the Museum’s Collection
September 16–November 26, 2017
Helen Siegl (1924–2009) used an unusual printmaking technique—often combining various kinds of blocks and plates to create an image, including handmade plaster blocks. She designed these when wood was scarce in Vienna during World War II. Siegl gained a reputation for both her individual signed and numbered prints and for her book illustrations.

Annual Members’ Exhibition
Continuing through September 4 (Labor Day), 2017
The Academy Art Museum’s Annual Members’ Exhibition is an exceptional tradition which represents the best of the region’s artists and offers an opportunity to view the creative talents of colleagues and friends.


Academy Art Museum Instructors’ Open House
Saturday, September 9 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Come meet the Museum instructors, view their work, watch art demonstrations, and enjoy refreshments while learning about fall courses at the Museum.

Helen Siegl, Goose Waddle, Woodcut on tissue paper, AAM 2012.012.34.

Craft Show Luncheon Lunch with Bennett Bean
Friday, September 15, 2017, Noon–2 p.m.
Scossa Restaurant
$140 per person (Limited Seating)
Enjoy an intimate lunch of classic northern Italian cuisine prepared by award-winning chef and owner Giancarlo Tondin of Scossa Restaurant and listen while ceramic artist Bennett Bean shares his inspiration for his prolific body of work.

Open MIC
September 11, 7 to 9 p.m.
Theme: Changes
The Academy Art Museum’s Open Mic is a monthly occasion for our community to share and appreciate the rich tapestry of creativity, skills and knowledge that thrive in the region. Contact Ray Remesch at for additional information.


Kittredge-Wilson Lecture Series

These lectures feature an exciting array of speakers who impart a diversity of perspectives on subjects such as art, architecture, history and literature. Series Tickets: (6 lectures) $125 Members, $150 Non-members. Pre-registration is suggested. Register online at

Museum Instructor

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Friday, September 29, 6 p.m.
Individual Tickets: $24 Members, $29 Non-members

Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect
Brandywine River Museum of Art
Wednesday, September 6
Cost: $72 Members $87 Non-members (includes admission, guided tour)

Black, White & Abstract: Callahan, Siskind, White
Baltimore Museum of Art
Wednesday, September 27
Cost: $55 Members $66 Non-members



Mini Masters Academy
An Early Enrichment Program for Children ages 2–4
In Partnership with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Morning or Full-Day Program – Classes begin September 6, 2017
Mini Masters Academy introduces young children to new ideas through a thematic approach to learning that emphasizes relationships and the ability to make meaningful connections. The rich resources of the Academy Art Museum offer a wonderful venue for teaching these sensory explorations. Enrollment is ongoing. Contact Janet Hendricks for program details at jhendricks@academyartmuseum or (410) 822-2787.

Home School Art Classes
Fridays from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Early Fall Session: September 8–October 13, 2017
Ages 6 to 9 years (Please do NOT register 5-year olds in this class)
Constance Del Nero
Ages 10+
Susan Horsey

Andrew Wyeth Winter, 1946 (detail) Tempera on board North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh.

Fall Session: October 27–December 15, 2017 (Note that there are NO classes on November 10 or 24)
Ages 6 to 9 years (Please do NOT register 5 year-olds in this class)
Constance Del Nero
Ages 10+
Susan Horsey
Cost (per session): $90 Members, $100 Non-members
After the first full-priced tuition, siblings attend for $60/67! Pre-registration is advised as space is limited in each group.

After-School Art Clubs
Students Grades 1 – 8
Instructor: Susan Horsey
Students Grades 4–8
Eight Thursdays: September 21–November 30 (No class on October 19, November 9 or 30)
3:45–5:00 p.m.
Cost: $120 Members, $130 Non-members

Mini Masters at the Academy Art Museum

Li’l Kids After-School Art Club
Students Grades 1–3
Eight Fridays: September 22–December 1 (No class on October 20, November 10 or 24)
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $115 Members, $125 Non-members



Photographing the Log Canoe Races
Instructor: Jay Fleming
1 day: Saturday, September 9
Cost: $335 Members, $402 Non-members (includes the boat fees)

Botanical Watercolor Workshop
Instructor: Hillary Parker
3 days: September 22, 23 and 24 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Cost: $225 Members, $270 Non-members

Jay Fleming

Adult Classes


Introduction to Basic Drawing
Instructor: Katie Cassidy
6 weeks: September 12–October 17 Tuesdays, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cost: $185 Members, $220 Non-members

Intermediate Drawing: Interiors and Still Life
New Instructor: Daniel Riesmeyer
5 weeks: September 20–October 25 (no class October 18)
Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $175 Members, $210 Non-members

Portrait Drawing
Instructor: Brad Ross
5 weeks: September 21 – October 26 (no class October 19)
Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: $165 Members, $198 Non-member

Matthew Hillier


Beginning Painting: Studies in Color
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
September 12, 14, 19, 21 and October 3 and 5
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:30 a.m.-Noon
Cost: $135 Members, $162 Non-members

Painting Birds in the Landscape
Instructor: Matthew Hillier
6 weeks: September 16–October 28 (no class Oct. 21)
Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $190 Members, $228 Non-members

The Next Step – Oil Painting for New or Returning Painters
Instructor: Diane DuBois Mullaly
3 weeks: September 16, 23, October 7
Saturdays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cost: $150 Members, $180 Non-members

Sheryl Southwick


Still Life in Pastel
Instructor: Katie Cassidy
4 weeks: September 13–October 4
Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $160 Members, $192 Non-members


Watercolor: Beginning Watercolor Painting
Instructor: Heather Crow
5 weeks: September 12 – October 10
Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $160 Members, $192 Non-members, (plus, a $10 Materials Fee payable to instructor at first class)


Mulberry Paper Collage Workshop: Scrap Happy Mornings
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
1 day: September 20, Wednesday, 2–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 Members, $54 Non-members, (plus materials fee of $6 due to the instructor at first class)

Printmaking Exploration Evenings
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
3 sessions of 4 weeks: Session I–Sept. 12, 14, 19, 21, Session 2–October 10, 12, 17, 24, Session 3–November 7, 14, 16, 21
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30–8 p.m. Cost: $80 Members per session, $96 Non-members per session (plus $25 materials fee paid to instructor on first day.)


iPhone Class
Instructor: Scott Kane
Class 1: 2 Days, Wednesdays, September 6 and 13
Wednesdays: 6–8 p.m.
Cost per class: $50 Members, $60 Non-Members

Organizing, Taking, Storing and Sharing Photos with Your Smart Phone
Instructor: Scott Kane
Class 1: 2 Days: Wednesdays, September 20 and 27
Cost per class: $50 Members, $60 Non-members

For additional information, visit or call the Museum at 410-822-2787.

Jan Knutson Headlines at the Mainstay


Jan Knutson

Jan Knutson, the young jazz guitarist mentored by Frank Vignola headlines at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD on Saturday, August 19, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Knutson will be joined by Grif Kazmierczak on violin, mandolin and trumpet and Eddie Hrybyk on bass. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Jan Knutson is a dazzling 18-year-old guitarist who has been playing for 9 years. He has studied with such luminaries as Rodney Jones, Steve Abshire, Paul Wingo, Shawn Purcell, Frank Vignola, Frank Latino, and Heather McKay in addition to online lessons with Martin Taylor.

Knutson has appeared as a guest artist at The Mainstay with guitarists such as Frank Vignola, Bucky Pizzarelli, Steve Abshire and Martin Taylor. In this, his Mainstay debut as a bandleader, Knutson and his trio will be playing music ranging from Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz to classic jazz standards. He will be joined by Grif Kazmierczak on violin, mandolin and trumpet and Eddie Hrybyk on bass.

His first performance at The Mainstay was when he was given a solo after a Frank Vignola guitar workshop.

Knutson says, “The Mainstay is a very special place to me. As you mentioned on your website, it was the first place I met and played with Frank Vignola who has been a truly great mentor and teacher to me. It was also the first place I played with Bucky Pizzarelli and Martin Taylor. It is a real privilege to play there again.”

He has performed at many other venues including Strathmore Mansion and the Kennedy Center and with artists such as Frank Vignola, Al Caiola, and Olie Soikelli at The Cutting Room in New York City, and with Frank Vignola at Germano’s in Baltimore, and the Djangoary Festival in Richmond, VA.

Jan Knutson

Jan Knutson was 2016 Artist in Residence at the Strathmore Music Center in Rockville, MD, the guitarist for the 2016 Jazz Band of America, won first prize in the 2015 Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Soloist Competition and has performed as a soloist with the US Army Blues.  He was a member of the elite Jazz At Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy in Summer 2015 and 2016, attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz program and in May 2016 he was featured with Frank Vignola, Julian Lage, Vinny Raniolo, and Olli Soikkeli at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This past June, he performed at the Syracuse Jazz festival and will be the featured jazz artist at the Richmond Folk Festival in October 2017.

He recorded his first CD, Out of Nowhere, produced by Frank Vignola in August of 2014 at Sweetfoot Studio in Easton MD.  The recording has been played on radio stations across the country and was reviewed in Just Jazz Guitar magazine. His second recording, Looking Both Ways, is on the Patuxent Music label and was released last year. The recording is a mix of standards and originals and includes solo guitar and combo performances featuring some of the finest musicians in the DC area including guitarist Steve Abshire, mandolinist Danny Knicely, and Tommy Cecil on bass.

In addition to the guitar, Knutson plays violin, viola, and trombone.  He now studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Rodney Jones.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Griffith Kazmierczak is a versatile multi-instrumentalist with a unique musical voice on trumpet, violin and mandolin. He has a Masters in Jazz Performance from the University of Maryland, has been recognized for his unique compositions in Capitol Bop’s D.C. Jazz Lofts concert series and is one of the most sought-after trumpet players in the greater D.C. area.

Ed Hrybyk is an upright and electric bassist, composer, arranger, and educator active in the Baltimore music scene. He graduated from Baltimore School for the Arts in has a degree in jazz performance from University of the Arts. He resides in Baltimore, MD and has played and/or recorded with Ultrafaux, The Bumper Jacksons, Hot Club of Baltimore, Sonny Nelson and the Unity Reggae Band, and The Manly Deeds. He made his debut as a bandleader last year with his band, the Bright Moments Sextet which will release an album of his original compositions in September 2017.

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. 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 pay by cash or check at the door.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

August 21 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Danny Tobias

August 26 Nevin Dawson: The Versatile Viola

August 28 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes John Thomas, Saxophone

September 2 The Greg Hatza Organ-ization

September 4 Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald

September 7 Katie Thiroux

September 11 Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Tom Baldwin, bass

September 16 Melissa Aldana

Mid-Shore Arts: Monty Alexander Reflects on Jazz, Easton, and Hope


If Chesapeake Music’s Monty Alexander Jazz Festival was just named to honor Alexander’s significant and lasting legacy as a jazz pianist over the last sixty years, that would be justification enough.  Monty’s accomplishments are well documented in the annals of jazz history, and the cumulative impact of his career would lend any jazz festival some important “street cred” with those that follow regional festivals around the world.

But when the Jazz festival’s founder, Al Sikes, drove up to New York City eight years ago to ask Monty if he would lend his name to a fledgling jazz festival in a pretty remote part of the Mid-Atlantic, Sikes knew that having a connection with the Jamaican-born musician was much more than honoring Monty’s performance career.

In many ways, it is Monty Alexander’s arc of experience in jazz over the last fifty years that makes it such an honor for Easton to host this annual event. Starting with small bars in Miami as a teenager, when he was first noticed by Frank Sinatra, and later been witness to every phase of jazz from the Mid-Century forward with friends such as Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, and or even Ravi Shankar.

The Spy caught up with Monty at Patsy’s, one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite joints in Manhattan, to talk about his Jazz Festival, but also about where jazz is these days. In particular, his observations on the early roots of jazz, where its disciples would learn on street corners from the masters, to the current world of contemporary jazz artists, many of whom are more likely than not hold degrees from such famous conservatories like Berklee and Juilliard.

Monty also talks about the theme for this year’s festival, which, to his own surprise, focuses on spirituality. In this case, it is his attempt to amplify the important role of hope in our complex world, or, in his own words, his effort to, “see the donut and not its hole.”

Jazz on the Chesapeake is a program of Chesapeake Music. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit here or call 410-819- 0380.

Call For Artists: Life on and Around Eastern Shore Waterways



Workboat at Rest, Jack Fancher

RiverArts’ September exhibit is focused on the  Eastern Shore waterways that overflow with history, life and activity. Life on the Eastern Shore interacts with these waterways in countless ways, making this a rich environment for artists of all kinds.

Curators Barbara and Jack Fancher invite artists to share their interpretations of this beautiful, bountiful, unique locality. The show is open to all media, both two dimensional and three dimensional art.

The show opens Friday, September 1 and runs through October 1. Drop off for work is August 27 and 28.  Artists are encouraged to submit online in advance.

For more information and to register work for the exhibit, visit and click on exhibitions, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown (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.

RiverArts’ August Exhibits Include NY Artists Guild, Photo Show


RiverArts’ August exhibits include the annual juried photography show, “The Soul of Photography,” in the Main Gallery and work by the New York Artists Guild in the Studio Gallery. The opening reception for both shows is August 4, First Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Photography curator Steve  Kane challenged artists to transform an inanimate image into a work of art that expresses the passion of the mind’s eye. Juror Jeff Weber selected work that “holds the viewers’ eyes and thought,”….and ..communicates a compelling story.”  The judge is Jay Fleming, a professional photographer based in Annapolis. His work has appeared in National Fisherman, Save the Bay, National Geographic News, and Angler’s Journal.

A Best of Show will be awarded, along with a variety of merit awards, including Nature and Wildlife, Street Life, Human Subjects and Portraiture, Still Life, Black and White, and Creative Digital Enhancement.

The Studio Gallery features work by seven members of the New York Artists Guild, a group of professional artists from upstate New York including  glass artist Sabra Richards, a part time resident of Kent County.  Sculptor and fiber artist Jappie King Black has a mixed media installation, « Disquiet, » plus a series of bronze baskets.

Photographer Howard Koft creates abstractions through digital photography. Bruno Chalifor’s « Le Site Corot » is a series of black and white photographs of a location in France frequented by Corot. g.a. Sheller is a watercolorist and photographer.  Her work is a combination of painting, 19th century and 21st  century photo processes.

The group also includes oil painter Wendy Menzie  and  mixed media artist Alice Gold, who  works primarily in painting, printmaking and collage.

Both exhibits will be up through Sunday, August 27.

For more information visit or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown’s Bob Chauncey Takes to the Stage as Felix Unger in Oxford


One of the most challenging aspects of being a community theater actor is to take on a role that is so well ingrained in America’s memory though a hit movie or television show that it becomes nearly impossible to reinvent that character.

And nowhere is that truer than when talking about to roles of Oscar Madison and Felix Unger in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.  With such stunning performances from Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and later, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, there seems to be little room for interpretation of these iconic characters.

But that hasn’t stopped Chestertown’s Bob Chauncey (Felix) and Cambridge’s Bill Gross (Oscar) from trying. While they are the first to admit that they have studied both the film and TV versions of this stage classic, their years of training as actors have allowed themselves to explore other angles to Felix and Oscar’s personalities through the lens of their own domestic lives and rediscovered the universal themes of the Odd Couple.

The Spy had a chance to sit down with them both at Bullitt House a few weeks ago to talk about their take on The Odd Couple, directed by Ed Langrell, as the Tred Avon Players continues their extraordinary year of comedy productions at the Oxford Community Center starting August 10th.


Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season


The only symphony orchestra on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO), is celebrating 20 years of bringing enchantment to audiences from Ocean City, MD to Wye Mills, MD. This year, in celebration of its 20th year, the MSO will also host a special performance at the French Embassy in Washington, DC and at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. In addition, the orchestra will perform across the Eastern Shore at the Historic Avalon Theatre, Christ Church and Church of God, all in Easton, MD; the Community Church in Ocean Pines, MD; the Mariner’s Bethel Church in Ocean View, DE; and the Ocean City Performing Arts Center within the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

Maestro Julien Benichou

According to Maestro Julien Benichou, “The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is on the move and we are proud of the program we have developed for our 20th Anniversary, ‘Reaching Ever Higher!’ season. Our fall program kicks off with ‘East and West of the Rhine’ concerts in late September and early October, featuring the music of Ernest Chausson, Camille Saint-Saéns, Maurice Ravel, and Johannes Brahms.”

Highlights throughout the year include an “Autumn Legends” concert in early November showcasing the works of Vivaldi, Haydn, and Alwyn. Audiences can ring in the holiday season with “Holiday Joy,” in early December celebrating the spirit of the holidays with traditional seasonal favorites. The orchestra’s “Toast to the New Year” will celebrate the New Year with revelry and music on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For the first year, the MSO will present a February concert, “A Roaring Movies Valentine,” featuring music from the Roaring Twenties and silent pictures. In March, the orchestra will premiere a commission from composer Camila Agosto, a highly inspiring and creative young artist whose music blends acoustic and multimedia elements, in “In Their Twenties,” along with the music of Mozart and Bizet composed when they were also in their twenties. The season finale in April, “Heavenly Music: Mahler, Janice Chandler, and Leon Fleisher,” is a concert not to be missed, including a culminating performance featuring pianist Leon Fleisher.

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra

Jeffrey Parker, President of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, comments, “Few communities our size can boast, or sustain, such a cultural undertaking, and although very challenging, we have managed throughout the years with the continuous support of our dedicated and growing audience.”

The MSO’s mission is “to enrich life in the Mid-Atlantic region through the power of live classical music.”  The orchestra performed its first concert, under the direction of founder and Music Director Donald Buxton, at the Ocean City Convention Center on November 21, 1997.  Maestro Buxton conducted the orchestra until June 2005.  Under his tutelage, the MSO established itself as the provider of quality symphonic music throughout the multistate peninsula.  In September 2005, Maestro Julien Benichou assumed the role of MSO Music Director. Benichou, a native of France, has been thrilling audiences with his innovative programming, graceful and expressive style of conducting, and spontaneous communications from the podium.  As a testament to the caliber of the orchestra today, in June 2008, the MSO was invited to perform a pops concert sponsored by the Freeman Foundations.  Since then, the MSO has opened the Freeman Stage’s performance season every year in June and performed the closing concert of the Freeman Stage season on Labor Day weekend. 

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, Sussex County, Delaware and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.

Season subscriptions for the 2017 – 2018 season of the MSO are now available online at, or by telephone (888) 846-8600.  For further information, visit

August Fun at RiverArts – Drawing, Leaf Platters & Fairy House Workshops


Leaf Platters

Ready to explore more of your creative side? RiverArts has a variety of workshops and classes of offer this August- as well as weekly life drawing sessions and a monthly photography club.

RiverArts Clay Studio potter Wanda Brumwell is teaching two classes, a whimsical Garden Fairy House Workshop -2 days, August 30 and September 13, and a perhaps more practical but no less fun one-day Leaf Platter Workshop on August 9.
For those of you who are tempted by the potter’s wheel, the Clay Studio has a two hour Try It! class Friday, August 18, specifically designed for you to play with clay on the wheel. There are also Beginner and Ongoing Potter’s Wheel class starting in September.

For those interested in learning to draw, or practicing drawing from observation, Raven Bishop is offering her popular, 4 week, Drawing From Observation Class, beginning Thursday, August 10.

Not interested in a class but want to practice technique?  RiverArts also hosts weekly Life Drawing sessions with a live model, Tuesday evenings from 5- 8 pm, and every 4th Monday afternoon from 2 – 5 pm.

To register for classes, and more information, visit the RiverArts website and click on Education, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

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.


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



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.