“Short Attention Span Theatre” 10-Minute Play Festival Opens at The Garfield Center This Weekend!


Short Attention Span Theatre 10-Minute Play Festival Opens At The Garfield Center This Weekend!

Howard Messick, Jen Friedman, and Mark Weining

Join us for an engaging evening of 10-minute plays, designed to hold your attention for just. long. enough. The Play Fest will showcase a range of actors, directors, and authors – featuring original works by local playwrights! Starting this weekend, Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24, at 8:00 pm and Sunday, June 25, at 3:00 pm.  The Festival will continue for two more weekends.

The locally-written works selected for this year’s SAST production are:

Singing in the Shower – written by Howard Mesick*, directed by Jim Landskroener

The Philosophy of Dogs – written by George Smart, directed by Diane Landskroener

John Schratwieser in “How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones”

How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones – written by Adrienne Dawes, directed by Bryan Betley

Spirits – Written by Steven J. Arnold, directed by Sarah Crump

And That’s How I Met Your Mother – written & Directed by Mark Sullivan*

Somewhere Tonight, The Washington Senators’ Last Game Plays On – written by Dwayne Yancy, directed by Keith Thompson

Guru of the Alps – written by Keith Thompson*, directed by Hester Sachse

The Maltese Walter – written by John Minigan, directed by Diane Landskroener

*Many of this year’s selected playwrights are members of the Garfield’s Live Playwrights’ Society, a group that meets monthly with the goal of fostering a community of playwrights, actors, and critics, but the competition is open to all aspiring playwrights in the area. For more info on LPS visit the website. http://liveplaywrightssociety.org/

Featured actors in this year’s play fest are:

Ian Ellison and  Mark Wiening in Singing in the Shower; Dan Guidice, Brad Chaires, Jim Landskroener and Diane Landskroener in The Philosophy of Dogs; Georgia Rickloff, Kirby Powell and Bryan Betley in How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones; Paul Cambardella, Brad Chaires, Mark Wiening, Amanda Fry, Robert Note, John Schratwieser and Jennifer Kafka Smith in Spirits; Mark Wiening, Jen Friedman, Dan Guidice, Robert Note and Tessa Schut in And That’s How I Met Your Mother; Jim Landskroener and Paul Cambardella in Somewhere Tonight, The Washington Senators’ Last Game Plays On; Kirby Powell, Zachary Ryan, Jennifer Kafka Smith and Dan Guidice in Guru of the Alps; Jim Landskroener, Brad Chaires and Melissa McGlynn in The Maltese Walter.

Joining SAST for the 4th year is Hey, Wait A Minute! our one-minute play fest directed by Tia Glomb. HWM will be performed in the Kohl Lobby at 7 p.m. before the Friday and Saturday night performances of Short Attention Span Theatre. The HWM cast features Ian Ellison, John Feldman, Tia Glomb, Jane Jewell, Gracie Jordan, Zachary Ryan, Severin Schut, and Juanita Wieczorack.

With one exception (Rosa’s Eulogy) all works selected for this year’s HWM production are locally written:

Dan Guidice

Behold the Valindoraptordon – written by Mark Sullivan

Rosa’s Eulogy – written by Richard Strand

When in Rome – written by Tia Glomb

Some People Just Like to Look – written by Dwayne Yancy

Blackbeard the Pirate, Superstar – written by Howard Mesick

Ezopen – written by Howard Mesick

Short Attention Span Theatre opens Friday, June 23, and runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through July 9.

Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 and $5 for students with ID (plays include some adult content, and may not be suitable for children under 13). Take advantage of the Garfield’s recurring opening night discount and get $5 off when you wear your Garfield t-shirt!  Call 410-810-2060 or visit  Garfield website

National Music Festival – A Musical Feast! – Photo Gallery


It’s here again!  The National Music Festival has begun its seventh season here in Chestertown, bringing a garden of musical delights for young and old.   Sunday evening saw the opening concert with the Fiddlesticks Orchestra joining the Chester River Youth Chorale to show what they had learned this past year.  The Brass Band added to the fanfare.  Now there are two weeks of concerts and free rehearsals to attend.

On Monday evening, there was the traditional community, meet-&-greet potluck at Dave Keating’s K&L garage.  This potluck, to me, is symbolic of how Chestertown and Kent County has responded to the National Music Festival.  They love it.  Individuals, businesses, organizations, churches – so many have volunteered, helped as cooks, drivers, hosts, provided concert venues, offered discounts, etc.  Sacred Heart Catholic Church made special floral decorations for their doors to welcome the musicians for the concerts held in the church on June 8 & 9.  The hospitality committee ran fundraisers before the festival and are providing beverages and snacks for rehearsals during the festival.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church is opening its parish hall every day and a band of volunteers come into the church kitchen and prepare free lunches for the apprentices.

Redner’s grocery store has given multiple cases of water and many restaurants offered discounts.

On Saturday, June 10, musicians will be on hand at the Farmers’ Market in Chestertown.

We’ll be posting pictures here as the festival goes along and adding names.  So come back again or send us your favorite photos from the festival and we’ll post as many as we can.

For more information and schedule of free and ticketed events, see National Music Festival website.

Apprentices in the Arts Administration program make the wheels run smoothly. They keep track of all the details that make up a music festival – from tickets to transportation to setting up the stage.

Apprentices Maria Rusu (viola & Arts Administration – from Romania) & Kelly Harper (Arts Administration – from New York)

Michael Sawzin, NMF Youth Director, with Caitlin Patton, NMF Executive Director, celebrating the beginning of the festival at Decker Theater on Washington College campus.

Conductor and Artistic Director of the NMF, Richard Rosenberg, conducted the world premiere of Rosenberg’s edition of “Transfigured Night” by Schonberg.  First violin on left.

Festival String Orchestra on Tuesday evening, 6th of June, 2017, just after “Transfigured Night”.

Flute and percussion mentors, Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Clarinet mentor, Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Wed evening concert 7th of June 2017

Close up of the floral “logo” on the doors of Sacred Heart Church on High Street.

The doors of Sacred Heart Church on High Street with the NMF logo in flowers!

Caitlin Patton, Executive Director of the NMF with her mother, Bonnie Keating, who, like her daughter, is also a talented singer.




Caitlin & Richard – Wed 7 June 2017


















Caitlin & Richard





























































































































































































































Shore Leadership Class Meets at Wye River Upper School


The 2017 Shore Leadership class met at Wye River Upper School in Queen Anne’s County on May 24th for the first of 7 sessions.  Two students from Wye River Upper School greeted and welcomed the class to the completely renovated Centreville National Guard Barracks which Wye River now calls home.

The morning session was facilitated by Dr. Joe Thomas on Leading with Strengths.  The class had completed the Strengths Finder assessment and used that information throughout the morning as they worked with Dr. Thomas.

After lunch, Ms. Chrissy Aull, founder and Executive Director of Wye River Upper School discussed the history of the school and why there is a need for schools like Wye River.  Three students shared their stories and talked about how their learning differences held them back at their other schools but that at Wye River their differences have become their strengths and have helped them to be successful.  The students and Ms. Aull gave the class a tour of the renovated campus. 

Dr. Jon Andes, Executive Director of the Eastern Shore of Maryland Education Consortium, spoke to the class about the State of Public Education in Maryland.  He shared the laws the govern Maryland public education and told the class that each year there is a deficit of more than 2000 qualified teachers in Maryland.  The Maryland colleges are not producing enough teachers and students are not enrolling to become teachers.  Neighboring states are also seeing a decline in their teacher education programs. He also shared that since 1986 the nine counties on the Eastern Shore have been part of the ESMEC consortium which gives them a bigger voice with the legislature and with the Maryland State Department of Education.

Later in the afternoon Marci Leach from Chesapeake College and Bryan Newton from Wor-Wic Community College led a discussion and game show which highlighted the role of Community Colleges in today’s world.  Deborah Urry, Executive Director of the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center shared information about the baccalaureate and graduate degrees offered at the Center which is located on the Chesapeake College Wye Mills Campus.

Throughout the day the class focused on how strengths can be used as a focus for leadership development.  The next session will be held in Caroline County in June and will deal with the topic of Rural Health Care.

It’s the Last Picture Show at Chester 5 Theatres


The Chester 5 Theatres movie complex is closing.

The Chester 5 Theatres at Washington Square shopping center in Chestertown closed after the final showing Sunday, June 4.

The last show was Sunday night, June 4, according to an email to the Spy from a movie-goer who learned of the closing while at the theater. The films on display the final weekend were “Captain Underpants,” “Wonder Woman,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Baywatch” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Manager Charlene Fowler, who has been at the theater 18 years, confirmed the closing in a phone call Monday morning. She said business has “dropped off” over the last five years, and the theater was no longer able to turn a profit.

Asked what factors contributed to the downturn in business, Fowler said, “Middletown kind of hurt us.” She said the Westown Movies in Middletown has “more up-to-date” facilities, including slanted seating that gives a clear view of the screen from all seats. Also, she said, the Middletown theater has alcohol sales, which Chester 5 could not compete with. She also cited the presence of restaurants and shopping facilities in Middletown as factors that drew possible viewers away from Chestertown.

“We had our regulars, but we didn’t draw from a very big crowd,” Fowler said. The comparatively small population of Kent County, along with a small number of the younger families who are typically the audience film makers aim their product toward, undoubtedly had an effect on the theater’s ability to draw. With Washington College between sessions, the timing of the closure is not surprising, either.

Alexander, the movie-goer who told the Spy of the closing, said he and his wife were planning to attend the movies on Monday, because they enjoyed the free popcorn that was the theater’s promotion. But checking the website, they saw movie times listed only through Sunday. They decided to go on Saturday. While picking up their tickets, he joked with Fowler that the theater must be closing. She told him she had a meeting with the owners the next morning. Hearing that, the couple decided to return Sunday to see another film they were interested in. After that film, Fowler told them the theater was closing. She said the mall owner was not interested in bringing in another theater to replace it.

Posters for two of the movies shown on the final weekend.

Chester 5 Theatres were a division of P&G Theaters, which also owns the Essex 5 Theatres in Tappahannock, Va. There was no answer to a call to the number listed for the theater manager, but the recorded message listed showings through Thursday, with features much the same as at the Chester 5 Theaters.

Fowler said she had seen declining sales at the theater since its conversion to digital technology about five years ago. She said she wasn’t sure whether options such as Netflix and cable TV movie channels were a factor in the drop in attendance.

With the closing of the Chester 5 Theatres, the Westown Theater in Middletown is the closest movie venue to Chestertown, with theaters in Dover, Easton and Annapolis slightly farther away.

Mid-Shore Arts: Working the Water with Jay Fleming


It is hard not to be a bit unnerved by how young Jay Fleming is after seeing his extraordinary work of photography. While only thirty years old, Fleming has produced a portfolio that shows a maturity and mastery that should match up with someone twice his age.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this surprising contradiction is the fact that he is the son of Kevin Fleming, whose photographs graced the pages of National Geographic for much of the 1980s and 1990s. But the other compelling factor was Jay’s fascination and love of the Chesapeake Bay region from the moment he was first taken out on the water as a child.

Regardless of some of these co-factors, the fact remains that Jay Fleming has very quickly earned the reputation as being part of a new generation of award-winning photographers devoted to recording realistic portraits of men and women working on the water.

The latest example of this booming career is the recent release of Working the Water, a stunning 280-page photography book that chronicles the life and work of watermen from the most northern part of the Chesapeake Bay to the furthest South.

A few weeks ago, the Spy visited Jay in his new studio space in Annapolis to talk about his disciplined approach to the art of photography.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information on Jay Fleming please go here

Chestertown Tea Party: British Routed – Colonists Win Again!


Tea Party Festival weekend is over – and Chestertown’s signature event was a smash hit. The weather was cool, and the main events — the Colonial Parade, the Re-enactment, and Sunday’s Raft Race – went off without a hitch. Several observers said the crowd was the largest they’d seen in several years. The parade started right on time at 10:00 am. There were lots of tents, tables, and booths set up by craftspeople as well as local organizations.  The food vendors appeared to be doing good business, with long but steadily moving lines. Asbury Methodist Church’s food tent was one of the more popular vendors with ribs barbecued on the spot in a fantastic smoker that looked like an old-fashioned steam locomotive.  The Kent Marching Band food tent may have had the best prices with hot dogs for $3.00 and hamburgers for $4.00.  The predicted rain managed to hold off until just minutes after the British were routed and the last chest of tea was tossed into the Chester River!

Colonial troops fire off a volley during the Tea Party re-enactment

The parade winners were: Riding and Walking Unit: First, Maryland Rough Riders; Second, Chestertown Ukulele Club. Marching Band: First, Largo; Second, Kent County High School; Third, Queen Anne’s County High School. Marching Unit: First, First Delaware Regiment; Second, Maryland Loyalist Battalion; Third, Chesapeake Independent Blues. Float: First, Kent School; Second, Girl Scouts. Mayor’s Cup: His Majesty’s Marines. Also, after the parade, the Edna Ross award was presented to Dick Goodall of Dixon Valve and Coupling for his many contributions to the community, including participation in Character Counts and the founding of Kent Forward.

Liz Gross, parade judge, Dick Goodall – 2017 winner of Edna Ross Award, Sabine Harvey, chair of Tea Party

Grand Marshall Tom Yeager and his wife Jeanne in their Colonial finest.

Girl Scout Troop 330’s float won 2nd place.

The Sunday Raft Race drew an enthusiastic crowd and a typically quirky set of entries. The Congressional Award, for the best bribe, went to the Kent School Ospreys. The Junior Cup went to Critter Gitter. The Flop Award, for most impressive failure, went to Trotline Bling, which sank before reaching the first turn. Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. The Da Vinci Award, for the most unorthodox form of locomotion, was given to Bottle Water World. The Fabulous Flotsam Award, for raft more likely to cause a spectacle than win the race, went hands-down to Cooler Crew, whose raft was literally a bunch of coolers tied together. And the Tea Cup, for the best synthesis of creativity, engineering, and speed, went to The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper, which crossed the finish line well before its competitors. Judging the race were David Quinn, Leslie Raimond, Lanny Parks, Ford Schumann, Isabel Hardesty and Chris Cerino. The skies opened up on Sunday, just as the raft contestants were finishing – luckily, they were already good and wet, and the spectators took shelter in the college’s Hynson Pavilion.

Kent School -Best Float –  Each student had colonial attire.  At the judges’ stand, they all got off the float and recited the Declaration of Independence – from memory!.

Centreville Middle School Band

The Chestertown Ukulele Club put on a lively performance from their parade float. They won Second Prize in Riding and Walking Units.

Kent County High School won 2nd place in the Marching Band category.

Kent County Football float – The Spartans

Owls on display at the Scales and Tales exhibit by Maryland State Parks stare down the Spy photographer. Signs said “Don’t touch — animals may bite.”

Children play on the stage outside the Kent County Courthouse, Saturday in Tea Party’s Colonial Village.

Town Crier Steve Mumford & Bonnie Clark. Bonnie noted that women in colonial days wore tricorn hats, too, and often decorated them with flowers or other trimmings.

Many organizations were on hand with information. The Maryland State Police were in front of the Imperial Hotel in a booth flanked by two cruisers.

                                                                  The Dover English Country Dancers


Colonial militia marches to the river to protect colonists as they dump British tea.

A loyalist cautions against rash action during the re-enactment.

British officer tries to argue with those obstinate colonists. Surely they can see that the army is there to protect them! And taxes support the army!

The Brits fired three rounds then fled back to their ship.

Chestertown rebels row to the British ship Geddes to toss the tea.

Tossing the Tea!

Crowds await the start of the Tea Party raft race Sunday, in Wilmer Park.

                                       The rafts line up for the race.

The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper was built around an innovative paddle wheel powered by six Oompa Loompas. They paddled their way to victory, being first to the finish line by a healthy margin.

Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. They were in a photo finish with the Procrastinator for second across the finish line.

The Procrastinator was made out of two inflatable swimming pools and one air mattress.

The Chestertown Tea Party is held annually on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend in Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Raft Race starts from on Sunday from the town’s riverside Wilmer Park.  For more information visit official Chestertown Tea Party website.  Hope to see you next year!


























































































Making it Work on the Shore: Ace Moritz and Eastern Shore Brewing


The craft beer business was in its infancy when Adrian (Ace) Moritz started to work in the industry during the early 1990s in one of Vermont’s earliest local breweries, the Long Trail Brewing Company. It was hard to tell then that the local brew industry would become the booming business it has become, but it started a lifetime passion for Ace.

After leaving Long Trail, and deciding to leave a lucrative private sector career in New York, Ace and his wife decided to risk everything when they started Eastern Shore Brewing Company in St. Michaels in 2009 to follow his passion.

And over the course of the last nine years, Ace has learned a great deal about moving from the love of a home brewery to the complications and challenges that come with a full retail and wholesale operation. Those lessons have continuously change the business model as he continues to find the sweet spot between maintaining a sustainable business and remain competitive as craft beer takes over some of the smallest towns on the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Eastern Shore Brewing please go here.

Perfect! Ben Franklin to Appear at Tea Party


Chestertown Tea Party Festival announced May 21 that Ben Franklin will be attending the May 28 Festival and will kick off events in the Garfield Center for the Arts with his program, Ben Franklin & the Great American Experiment! Meet Ben Franklin! At 11 a.m., he will share fascinating “Behind-The-Scenes” stories of the forming of our great nation. American History gets served up with a dash of humor as told by the wittiest of our Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin. Huzzah!

At 1:00 p.m. in the Colonial Village, Mr Franklin will ask Festival attendees,  “Art Thou Smarter Than a 5th Grader in Ben Franklin Trivia?” – an 18th Century quiz show. Both shows are fun for all ages.

Historian & TV Actor, Brian Patrick Mulligan has performed as “Ben Franklin” across the country for over 25 years. As an actor, Brian has also guest starred on “Scandal”, “Castle”, & “The Office”.

For more information call Juanita Wieczoreck at 410-699-1369 or email jmswieczoreck@yahoo.com



Profiles in Spirituality: St. Peter and Paul’s Father James Nash


The idea of being the leader of Saints Peter & Paul Parish could easily strike urbanites as the equivalent of being the classic country priest, whose time is spent leisurely ministering to a small flock of the faithful in a beautiful rural setting. But it didn’t take long for Father James Nash to dispel that myth very quickly from his modest office on Route 50 in Easton when the Spy caught up with him a few weeks ago.

In fact, Father Nash oversees an enterprise that is counted as one of the largest employers in Talbot County and includes an elementary school, high school, and three churches with membership in the thousands. And each week, he not only faces the normal challenges that come with any man of the cloth, but must manage over one hundred employees, fundraise for substantial building projects, and administer a $6 million annual budget during his spare time.

And yet none of this seems to weigh too heavily on the priest who left a successful accounting practice to find his real vocation within the Catholic Church. In our Spy interview, Father Nash talks about the business of St. Peter and Paul, but also about the timeless beauty of his faith, the teachings of Pope Francis, and his humble philosophy of leadership in caring for his parish.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Saints Peter and Paul Church and School, please go here.