A highlight of summer, the annual Riverfront Concert Series features family friendly, free musical entertainment. The 2016 series, sponsored by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, kicks-off on Thursday evening June 9 with the sounds of Grammy-award winning guitarist Al Petteway and multi-instrumentalist Amy White. The series continues on June 23 with bluegrass sensation Charm City Junction, and on July 7 with folk singer/songwriter SONiA of disappear fear.
All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. on the Custom House lawn, 101 South Water Street, Chestertown. The concerts are free—and so are the lemonade and cookies. Bring your own picnic, blankets, and chairs and enjoy a magical musical evening with friends, family, and neighbors on the shores of the Chester River. In case of inclement weather, performers will take the stage at Washington College’s Hynson Pavilion, located next to Wilmer Park.
This summer’s lineup includes a band, a duo, and a solo performer, reflecting America’s diverse musical heritage from Appalachian folk music to contemporary bluegrass and Americana acoustic music. Starr Center program manager and Riverfront Concert Series host Michael Buckley will provide brief commentary and some cultural context at each performance. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program, Sunday mornings from 7-10 a.m. on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM (streaming live at wrnr.com), includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”
June 9 – Al Petteway and Amy White (contemporary Americana acoustic music)
Award-winning and critically acclaimed, Al Petteway and Amy White perform a playful and passionate repertoire, which includes original, traditional, contemporary Celtic- and Appalachian-influenced music with occasional nods to rock and jazz. Their performances feature acoustic guitar, mandolin, Celtic harp, piano, banjo, lap dulcimer, world percussion and soaring vocals. The talented duo’s songs have been heard on Ken Burns’s documentaries Mark Twain, The National Parks, and Baseball. “Al Petteway’s guitar playing is world class, on par with George Winston’s piano music, meticulously delivered along with multi-instrumentalist Amy White,” says Buckley.
June 23 – Charm City Junction (bluegrass)
With the release of their debut album in 2015, Charm City Junction put a new spin on old-time music, carrying on the torch of fast-picking bluegrass and toe-tapping Celtic music. Featuring fiddle, claw hammer banjo, the button accordion, and upright bass, this quartet isn’t afraid to take roots music to new places, but always with an eye on tradition. “These sensational, not-to-be-missed young players represent the next wave of brilliant bluegrass talent,” raves Buckley.
July 7 – (folk-rock music)
SONiA disappear fear has been widely recognized as one of the most dynamic acts in folk rock, winning over fans with her energetic, conscience-driven music. SONiA promises to deliver what she has always done best: powerful songs that challenge injustice, performed with passion and hope. The Grammy-nominated SONiA has won the GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards) for Female Artist of the year, as well as several GLAAD and Out Music Awards. An international touring artist, she received the Coin of Honor for her Humanitarian Songwriting by the United States Army. She just released her 18th album, “LiVE at MAXiMAL,” recorded in concert in Germany. “SONiA is a true believer in what Pete Seeger has referred to as ‘the power of song,’ ” explains Buckley. “She’s traveled the world singing about the social issues of our time, with a message of love and peace.”
For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley,
410-810-7156. Additional support for the 2016 Riverfront Concert Series is provided by Yerkes Construction, the Washington College Student Events Board (SEB), and the Kent County Arts Council.