Delmarva Review Selects Cover For Tenth Anniversary

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Regional photographer Calvin “Cal” Jackson’s color image “Recycle” was selected for the tenth anniversary cover of the Delmarva Review, to be published on November 1.

“We’re excited to feature cover art from the strong work of regional artists, including photography and paintings,” said Emily Rich, editor of the review. “The richness of regional art provides a compelling folio for the quality of stories and poetry we publish annually.”

Cal Jackson’s cover image “Recycle” shows shucked oyster shells, in rustic bushels, to be spread on bay oyster beds, providing a solid hold for oyster larvae to grow into the future.

The photographer, from Easton, is exhibiting at the BWI Airport gallery, by the International Terminal, and in a Maryland Federation of the Arts “Global Perspectives” online collection during August. His photos are among exhibits at galleries in Easton, Cambridge and Chestertown, Maryland, as well as Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Jackson is a retired accountant and former audit manager for information technology with the U.S. Army.

A Community Concert with the U.S. Navy Band Commodores

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For more than 40 years, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores have been performing the best of big band jazz. If you haven’t yet experienced a live concert by this vibrant, dynamic group—or if you’re itching to see them again—look no further than the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, held at Easton’s Avalon Theatre over Labor Day weekend.

The Commodores’ performance, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 2nd.

Formed in 1969, the Commodores—also known as the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Navy—have welcomed a few famous faces into its organization.

“Some of America’s greatest jazz and big band musicians have spent at least a portion of their careers serving as musicians in America’s Navy,” explains Senior Chief Musician William Mulligan. “Artie Shaw, Clark Terry, and John Coltrane to name just three.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Band Commodores

In appreciation of their former bandmates, Mulligan says the 18-member group often features music from these prominent jazz figures in their concerts. The heart of their style, however, draws from classic American big bands, like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and so many more.

“The Commodores’ repertoire spans over 100 years of jazz history,” he adds.

With a style that’s rooted in an eclectic mix of the traditional sounds of New Orleans’ jazz through to the swing era, the Commodores also blend more contemporary elements of music into their repertoire and incorporate exciting jazz vocal arrangements. The group composes and arranges a lot of their music library, in addition to performing modern compositions written by its members.

Throughout 2017, the Commodores are celebrating the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald. Mulligan hints that attendees of Saturday’s community performance will quite possibly hear tunes associated with the “First Lady of Song” and the “Queen of Jazz.”

“We also take the opportunity to honor our veterans at all of our concerts,” Mulligan says.

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

By Becca Newell

Folk Duo at the Garfield August 26th

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Start with two compelling voices, an uncanny sense of harmony and a deep grounding in traditional American music. Add in stunning guitar work and a warm, intimate performance style, and what do you get? Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz. This dynamic duo will be appearing at the Garfield Center for the Arts on August 26th for a 7 p.m. concert, and you don’t want to miss it. As Andy Wallace, the former program director of the National Folk Festival says, “Martin and Susanne make beautiful music together.”

Martin is internationally known as an interpreter of pre-war blues and other roots music. He started his career recording with and accompanying legendary folk musicians such as U. Utah Phillips, Rosalie Sorrels, and Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin. Susanne is a veteran of the Boston roots music scene.  A life-long singer, she slips seamlessly into any genre, making it her own; soulful blues singer one minute, sassy honky-tonk gal the next. Together they embrace a deep love and respect for the roots of classic blues, old time, early country, and honky tonk. At the same time, they make the music their own, presenting it with style, grace and wit.

Martin and Susanne played and sang together for three years in Honky Tonk Masquerade, a honky tonk/western swing band, before striking out as an acoustic duo. Their performances have delighted audiences from Maine to Georgia.  Their first CD together, Old Songs, New Hats, was released late in 2015.

Tickets are $15 general admission and are available by calling 410-810-2060, online at www.GarfieldCenter.org or at the box office. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

 

Bria Skonberg: Shaking Up the Jazz World

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As one of the most influential artists in jazz, Louis Armstrong helped shape the swing era. Though arguably all musicians within the genre draw influences from his sound and style, trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg is steadily earning the reputation as Armstrong’s modern-day counterpart.

The Canadian-songwriter opens this year’s Monty Alexander Jazz Festival with Shaking Up the Jazz World on Friday, September 1st.

From an outsider’s perspective, a female trumpeter might seem unusual, given the fact that it’s such a male-dominated field. But not for Skonberg, who says she was surrounded by female trumpeters since she first picked up the brassy instrument in seventh grade.

“I didn’t honestly think it was that strange,” she says. “I understand that there’s an imbalance for sure, but the ones that are out there are really good.”

Although the modest musician wouldn’t exactly place herself in that category, it seems others are happy to do it for her—and justifiably so. Most recently, Skonberg’s rising-star status was confirmed when she received a 2017 Juno Award for Jazz Vocal Album of the Year for her 2016 crowd-funded album, Bria.

“Basically, it’s a Canadian Grammy,” she explains, adding that she also released an album earlier this year, shortly after signing with Sony Music Masterworks’ OKeh Records. “It’s been a wild ride.”

Skonberg will reflect on that musical journey during her upcoming concert, in which she’ll undoubtedly showcase her notorious “trad fusion” sound. She’ll be joined by what she affectionately calls her “A Team” of musician-friends.

Her specialty, she says, is old jazz—proven by her solid repertoire of 1900s to 1940s tunes—but her songs draw influence from a variety of genres, from blues to Dixieland to pop.

“I like to be influenced by what’s around me,” she says. “That’s jazz. You listen and react.”

A newcomer to the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, Skonberg says she is excited to be involved with such a respected endeavor and was honored when Alexander, whom she refers to as a “giant in jazz,” invited her to participate.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she adds. “Having played at hundreds of festivals, ultimately the vibe comes down to the people that are presenting them and the people that are there. And I get a good feeling about this one.”

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

By Becca Newell

The Princess Bride Opens this Weekend at the Garfield

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Rehearsing a duel for “The Princess Bride”

This weekend, the kids and counselors of the 2017 Playmakers Summer Theatre Camp invite you to join them for their final performances of the cult classic, “The Princess Bride.”

For the last four weeks, the 31 campers and 10 staff members have been in rehearsal at the Garfield Center for the Arts. These last 3 shows are a culmination of their hard work. The camp is directed by Tess Hogans, Catherine Bushby and Bryan Betley; with Paul Cambardella and Bridget Copp as counselors, Annie Herron as a junior counselor, Tia Glomb as a script editor and Brad Chaires, Ariane Colson and Paulina Panas as volunteers.

The cast of “The Princess Bride:”

Grandmother – Nicole Reed                                                   

Kid 1 – Mariner Schut

Kid 2 – Anna Jayne Murphy

Mother / Queen Bella / Dancer – Cyanea Sloan

King Lotharon – Devin Merton

Buttercup – Merritt Connor

Westley – Shane Saunders

Prince Humperdink – Severin Schut

Ralph – Tessa Schut

Count Rugen – Claire O’Brien

Fezzik – Joe Diggs                               

Vizzini – Ben Anthony                                                                                  

Inigo Montoya – Thomas Martinez

Yellin / Original Dread Pirate Roberts – Quentin Bergenholtz

The Albino – Alex Raimond

Minion 1 (Albino Assistant) – Fantaye Kehm

Minion 2 (Albino Assistant) / Dancer – Erin Baldwin

Miracle Max – Sarah Herron

Valerie – Kayce Titus

Boo Lady / Dancer – Josie Merton

Clergy – Delaney McCreary     

Pirates:  Elizabeth Pupke, Jamie Baldwin, Yeabi Kehm, Lily Babylon, Savannah Quinn

Townsfolk: Lily Babylon, Lia Schut, Jamie Baldwin, Savannah Quinn, Kendall McCreary

Shrieking Eels:  Penn Sleightholm, Zuzu Kusmider, Malorie Reed, Lia Schut, Kendall McCreary

Soldiers: Yeabi Kehm, Penn Sleightholm, Malorie Reed, Zuzu Kusmider, Elizabeth Pupke

Fire Demons: Penn Sleightholm, Lia Schut, Elizabeth Pupke, Savannah Quinn, Jamie Baldwin

Rodents of Unusual Size: Zuzu Kusmider, Malorie Reed, Kendall McCreary, Yeabi Kehm, Lily Babylon        

Playmakers campers relax between rehearsals

 

The final performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. All shows are free, but donations to the Playmakers are encouraged. Theatre doors will open 90 minutes before each performance. Call the box office for more information – 410-810-2060 or visit www.garfieldcenter.org.

Playmakers Summer Theatre Camp is supported in part by The United Way of Kent County, The Kent County Arts Council and The Hedgelawn Foundation. The campers were also grateful to receive donated pastries each day of camp from Evergrain Bread Company and Just Right Treats. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Paintings by Kathryn O’Grady on View at Adkins Arboretum

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Artist Kathryn O’Grady will make you think differently about the flocks of blackbirds that are such a familiar sight in the Chesapeake region. In “Four and Twenty,” a series of blackbird “portraits” on view in Adkins Arboretum’s Visitor’s Center through Sept. 29, every bird is an individual with its own quirky personality.

In Close to the Big Pond, her show of oil paintings and watercolors augmented with crayon and metallic pigment, O’Grady zeros in on nature’s mind-boggling diversity and its irrepressible energy. There will be a reception on Sat., Aug. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. to meet the artist and learn how she became so entranced with Maryland’s birds and rural landscapes.

O’Grady has always been in love with color.

“It’s a deep-seated obsession,” she admitted. “I remember when I found out that Crayolas came in more than eight colors when I was two or three, I felt like my mother had been holding out on me.”

“Panic, Mayhem and Ullabee” by Kathryn O’Grady

Exhibiting at the Arboretum courtesy of Baltimore’s Steven Scott Gallery, O’Grady earned her BFA from Michigan State University and an MFA from the University of Texas and has shown her work widely in the U.S. In 1997, she moved from Texas to the tiny, rural town of Tracys Landing, south of Annapolis, where she has been painting the landscapes and birds near her house ever since.

“When we first moved here from Texas, my first overwhelming impression was I’ve got to find more colors of green paint,” she said.

As it turned out, she began to discover the many colors that underlie the green of plants and make it so lively. Like an Impressionist artist, when she painted an old tobacco barn sagging under the weight of a complicated tangle of vines, she did it with thousands of tiny strokes of scarlet, maroon, yellow, lime, pine green and shadowy blue. A riot of color and activity, it brilliantly captures how plants reclaim any building or field left vacant.

“I like seeing the plants take over,” O’Grady explained. “In Texas, it’s so hot and dry, it takes a lot longer for the plant life to reclaim the structures. Here it happens as soon as you turn your back.”

O’Grady had already been keeping chickens and peacocks when her daughter rescued a lost mallard duckling eight years ago and brought it home. Less than a day old, the exhausted bird fell asleep in O’Grady’s hand. Rather than put it in the aviary with her other birds, she raised it in the house until it was old enough to move to a nearby pond. Not long afterward, the duck returned, bringing along a new mate that she presented to O’Grady. The pair soon nested and began an extended family that still lives near the artist’s home.

“It changed the way I look at all birds,” O’Grady said. “I learned from my ducks that birds are individuals.”

In several portraits she has painted of her ducks, there’s no doubt of this. Each bird has its own distinctive personality. To make it even better, some of the portraits are accompanied by the ducks’ own stories engagingly told by writer Peter Guttmacher.

Throughout her paintings, O’Grady has a knack for capturing the vivacious energy of birds and plants, amiably conveying her awe of the indomitable spirit and incredible complexity of the natural world.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Sept. 29 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum is the region’s resource for native plants and education programs about nature, ecology and wildlife conservation gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

New Faces and Old Favorites at Monty Alexander Jazz Festival

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The sensational Monty Alexander returns to Easton this Labor Day weekend for the eponymous three-day jazz festival, along with his hand-picked selection of musical companions—all newcomers, save for past festival favorite René Marie.

“Bringing all these guests and friends to Easton makes for a fun happening,” Alexander says, excitedly. “[The festival] has an unbelievable history; it’s gone so well. I’m proud of that.”

Monty Alexander (Photo by Jerry Michael)

On Friday, September 1st, trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg brings her trademark “trad fusion” to the stage for her 8 p.m. performance, Shaking Up the Jazz World. Though her music draws upon elements of early jazz, blues, swing, and even pop, the Canadian songwriter is heavily influenced by the legendary Louis Armstrong, whom she frequently draws comparisons to.

The fun continues into the weekend, starting with Saturday’s free community concert at 11 a.m., featuring the United States Navy Band Commodores. The 18-member group, recognized as the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, will perform an eclectic mix of traditional big band music and exciting jazz vocal arrangements.

Trumpeter Sean Jones and his band take the stage Saturday afternoon for their 2 p.m. performance, titled Without Compromise, From Miles to Wynton to Sean Jones. Attendees can expect to hear the evolution of music from their recently released album, “Live from Jazz at the Bistro.”

“As the music is performed in each city, new life is breathed into it as each audience helps to mold the character of each piece,” says Jones.

Sean Jones (Photo by Jimmy Katz)

Jazz vocalist René Marie wraps up Saturday’s lineup with her 8 p.m. performance, A Remarkable Experience as René Marie Electrifies. With a style that borrows elements from folk, R&B, classical, and country genres, Marie’s body of work explores the human experience. Through her creative lyricism and sensual vocal delivery, Marie offers an enlightening experience for audience members.

Headliner Monty Alexander closes out the festival weekend on Sunday, September 3rd, with a “Sunday matinee spectacular,” kicking off at 2 p.m. The Jamaican-born musician is renowned for his vibrant personality and musical expression that result in an energetic, swingin’ performance. For this year’s festival, Alexander has invited a slew of musicians to join him on stage for The River, a reference to his album, released in the early ‘90s. Alexander says this performance will be somewhat of a revisitation of his repertoire and a reflection of his long-standing career in which he has shared the stage—or recording studio—with many of the jazz greats.

“Let me take you on a beautiful journey up the river that is about renewal and inspiration,” he adds, describing the concert. “I’m going to be a little bold and say ‘you don’t want to miss it!’”

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

By Becca Newell

Rhythm Future Quartet at The Mainstay Saturday August 5

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Rhythm Future Quartet

The acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet has a straightforward mission: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and growing. A group of virtuosos named for a Django Reinhardt tune, they offer a new sound, influenced by Reinhardt’s classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. They play classics and their own compositions all with a compelling, joyful abandon.

Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw on diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries while keeping the soaring spirit of Gypsy jazz intact.

While the band’s self-titled debut album re-visited classic jazz and Gypsy jazz favorites, Travels, the quartet’s current release, concentrates on group originals that make captivating use of musical sources from outside the conventional Gypsy jazz terrain. Travels reflects both the knowledge garnered from the group’s worldwide touring and the international influences that inspired new rhythmic and harmonic possibilities in their compositions and arrangements.

Travels was picked as one of the best jazz albums of 2016 by All About Jazz and the Huffington Post.

Jason Anick, an award-winning composer and one of the youngest professors at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, has shared the stage with an array of artists including Grammy award winning guitarist John Jorgenson, Stevie Wonder, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Tommy Emmanuel.

Olli Soikkeli (dubbed “the Finnish boy wonder”) recently moved from Scandinavia to New York City, where he quickly became a top call guitarist in the Brooklyn jazz scene. He has performed alongside  Cyrille Aimee,  Gypsy guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg, Bucky Pizzarelli and many others.

Max O’Rourke was the winner of the 2015 Saga Award from DjangoFest Northwest, and at 21 has already toured/recorded with many of the top American Gypsy Jazz musicians including John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara.

Greg Loughman is a top call bassist in Boston and has been heard with such luminaries as Sheila Jordan, Curtis Fuller and George Garzone.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) 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.

Admission is $17 if purchased in advance and $20 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.

 

The Garfield Center Announces 2018 Season of Plays

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The Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown is proud to announce its 2018 season of theatrical productions. Presented by the Garfield and directed by a group of talented local directors, this season offers a variety of shows – slapstick comedy, musical drama, a holiday favorite, a children’s classic and the summer theatre camps; MUSICAMP from July 9-13 and Playmakers from July 16-August 12, 2018.

The season opens February 16, 2018, with The Little Prince, written by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar and based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Directed by Bryan Betley, the story focuses on a pilot whose plane crashes in the deserts of Africa. There he encounters The Little Prince, who recounts his journey to Earth from his home on a tiny asteroid. Through their interaction and the prince’s storytelling, the play makes profound and idealistic revelations about human nature. Performances run February 16-25.

In April, director Shelagh Grasso and musical director Julie Lawrence will present Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, by Hugh Wheeler with music by Steven Sondheim. Attend the dark, witty and Tony Award-winning tale of love, murder and revenge set against the backdrop of 19th century London from April 27-May 13.

Short Attention Span Theatre, the Garfield’s own ten-minute play festival, opens its fourteenth year in June. Produced by Mark Sullivan and Diane Landskroener, “SAST” runs from June 22 – July 8. An audience favorite, SAST features the talents of dozens of directors, writers, and actors, and is designed to hold your attention for Just. Long. Enough.

Next director Jennifer Kafka Smith brings the hilarity of the Marx Bros. Animal Crackers to the stage in September. Written by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind with music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, this profusion of puns, gags, and hysteria with only an occasional pause (or maybe, gasp) for breath, runs September 14-30.

Closing the 2018 season, director Bonnie Hill will bring a familiar holiday tale, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol to the Garfield stage from November 30 – December 9. Tiny Tim is determined to have his father home for Christmas day even if it means teaching Ebenezer Scrooge a lesson in Christmas cheer! Adapted from the classic Charles Dickens’ novel, Tony award winner Ken Ludwig writes a heartwarming Christmas tale full of family fun!

The Garfield Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization whose mission is to invigorate the cultural life of our community by nurturing, celebrating and supporting arts and artists through performance and education. For more information, please visit the Garfield web site, or call the box office at 410 810 2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is located at 210 High Street, Chestertown, MD, 21620.