Spy Food: Germaine’s Opens it Doors on High Street


FRONT ROW: Jesse Colvin-MD-1 Dem. Candidate, Cathy Perry-Germaine’s staff, 3rd Ward Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, Germaine Lanaux – Proprietor, Jenn Donisi-Germaine’s staff, Stuart Seitz – Kent County Chamber of Commerce president; SECOND ROW: Rob Thompson-Chesapeake Bank & Trust, Melissa Kelly, Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office, Steve Meehan, Andy Meehan-Kent State’s Attorney candidate, unknown (obscured), Bernadette Bowman-Kent County Economic Development and Tourism, unknown. (Photo: Christopher Neiman).

Germaine Lanaux celebrated the grand opening of Germaine’s, a carryout with a New Orleans twist, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and serving complimentary beans and rice and corn muffins on Friday, June 15.

Germaine grew up in New Orleans, daughter of a Creole native and Baltimore transplant. She spent her childhood and youth moving between in the French Quarter of New Orleans and her father’s Tongue Oil orchard, all the time exposed to the fascinating cuisine of the Bayou and Bourbon Street.

Germaine’s is open Monday-Friday, 10-6, and serves carryout lunches and dinners from a menu that runs from her renowned gumbo to crepes.

The Public Schools Funding Challenge: What did Talbot County Do?


As many of our readers know, the Spy goes out of its way to cover public affairs through the lens of a hyperlocal perspective. While our articles of the arts and regional culture frequently are shared in both the Chestertown Spy and Talbot Spy, when it comes to local government coverage, we have kept Kent County and Talbot County issues separated in our online publications to best serve the needs of these uniquely different communities.

But periodically, both counties must face the same challenges in how they collect revenue and support local priorities. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to not only covering the annual budget expense of their respective public schools through Maryland’s “maintenance of effort”(MOE) requirement, the bare minimum a county must provide for their school districts, but more frequently these days, must find funding well beyond that number to keep their schools competitive.

Last week, the Kent County Commissioners and residents found themselves in a heated discussion as Kent County faces this kind of challenge in the next fiscal year budget. And this conversation comes at a time when the Talbot County Council has had to face a similar issue and recently approved a substantial increase over the required MOE, despite the fact that all five members were fiscally conservative Republicans.

Without commentary, the Spy shares below an outtake of a recent GOP forum where four out of the five council members discuss their decision to raise taxes to fund the Talbot County Public Schools in the new budget year. Starting with Jennifer Williams, president of the Talbot County Council, and following by Council members Cory Pack, Chuck Callahan and Laura Price, discuss their rationale in voting for the substantial increase.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.

The Wall Comes to the Mid-Shore


When it was first announced a few months ago that the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall would be exhibited in Easton this spring, there was a some doubt that it could ever match the power of the original monument designed by American architect Maya Lin on the Washington Mall.

That apprehension turned out to be completely unwarranted for those that visited the site at the VFW on Glebe Road yesterday. Dozens and dozens of veterans and their families made the trip to visit the memorial and the names of the fallen with the same kind of overwhelming emotion and quiet reverence that the original wall has so movingly inspired for the last thirty six years.

The Spy was there to capture a few special moments of this remarkable testimony to patriotism, sacrifice and courage.

This video is approximately one minute in length. The exhibit’s last day is June 6.

WC and Chestertown Rotary Raise the Flags for Vets


For the third year in a row this Memorial Day, the Rotary Club of Chestertown will be raising support for a number of local veteran organizations by placing close to 200 American Flags at the intersection of 291 and Washington Avenue. And for the same three years, Washington College’s Rotaract Club members will be there to help them do that.

In a remarkable partnership with students, many of them from as far away places like Florida and Texas, to unite the campus and community to honor local heroes collectively. It also is a rare chance for the Washington College community to work side-by-side with Kent County residents on a common goal.

The Spy was intrigued enough with this extraordinary partnership to talk briefly with three of those Washington College students, as well as Rotary president Andrew Meehan, to understand the particular meaning of the Flags for Heroes project for those that participate.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. To make a donation to the Flags for Heroes project please go here


Mid-Shore Music: William Thomas and his Ten Years with Tidewater Singers


While William Thomas was professionally trained as an organist when he joined the Talbot County Public Schools District in 1986, his assignment to direct choirs and music theatre at Easton High School led him to a love affair with choral work and the challenges and delights that come with leading large groups of gifted singers.

That passion didn’t go away when he decided to move to Chesapeake College in 2008 to become an associate professor of music. The difficulty came with the realization that the community college did not have an active choral group at that time. He, therefore, reached out to the Tidewater Singers based in Talbot County to rekindle his love affair with cappella and major choral works.

And for the last ten years he has been the Tidewater Singers director, guiding the twenty-five person volunteer choral group through the classic repertoire starting from the 16th Century to the most recent hits from Broadway.

The Spy spent some time with the St. Michaels resident in his classroom at Chesapeake College to talk about this remarkable decade of enjoyment as he describes the joy that comes with using the human voice as its own musical instrument and remarkable fellowship that comes with music.

The Tidewater Singers will be offering their Spring Concert May 11, 12 and 13 this year in both Talbot and Queen Anne’s County with the time of “Love Songs Through the Ages.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Tidewater Singers please visit their website here

Mid-Shore Arts: TAP Presents ‘Steel Magnolias” with a Special Local Twist


No one can ever accuse Tred Avon Players theatre director Joe Tyler of not doing his homework.

Tasked with setting the stage and personalities of a hairdressing salon set in the 1980s, Joe immediately recruited his friend and fellow TAP colleague Dana Haddaway of St. Michaels to be his assistant director.

Why? Because Dana has actually been running her own beauty salon out of her home off of Pea Neck Road for thirty years. Not only did she have the knowledge and the equipment of hairdressing of that era, Dana also had the unique perspective of someone who had bonded with her customers over the course of thirty years, which matched almost precisely with the famed “Miss Trudy’s Salon” that becomes the central focal point for one of the most beloved theatrical productions of the modern stage.

The Spy caught up with Joe and Dana at Dana’s Hair Design a few weeks ago to talk about their partnership and on the play’s themes of women friendships, love, and the American deep South.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Tred Avon Players and ticket sales please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: The 2018 Winners of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition


One of the great little gems of the classical music scene on the Mid-Shore is the biannual Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition. Since 2004, this program brings some of the best young talents in the world to the Eastern Shore for a weekend of performance to the delight of appreciative audiences but also to receive critical feedback from experts on performance and technique.

That competition took place over the last few days, and the Spy found a way to interview the two winners who tied for the Gold Medalist award this year after they finished brunch at Hanna and Peter Woicke’s lovely home in St. Michaels on Sunday morning.

We talk to members of the Merz Trio and Trio St. Bernard about their performance as well as some of the feedback they received from the judges.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: Chesapeake Music’s Pleasure of Competition with Anne Moran & Bob Burger


While it is true that the vast majority of program offerings produced by Chesapeake Music every year has been devoted to the pleasure of its Mid-Shore audiences, for many years now it has also offered one of the most prestigious music competitions in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Continuing a tradition that began in in 2004, five world-class ensembles will once again compete this weekend for one of the country’s largest chamber music prizes at the 2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition.

And two of the volunteer leaders that make make this event happen every year couldn’t be more pleased with this remarkable track record.

Volunteer chair Bob Burger, along with assistant chair Anne Moran, talked to the Spy last week about what it means to the talented musicians that travel from around the country to Talbot County. They also discuss the enormous volunteer effort it takes to coordinate the use of five performance venues, supervise the judging, and finally the presentation of awards, all in the span of about 24 hours.

This year promises to be quite remarkable and includes District 5 of Washington, DC; Merz Trio of New York City, NY; Sapphirus Quartet of Ann Arbor, MI; Ajax Quartet of Denver, CO; and Trio St. Bernard of Taos, NM. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some have included members as young as 21. The finalists will compete for the Lerman Gold Prize of $10,000 and the Silver Prize of $5,000. This biennial Competition is sponsored by Chesapeake Music. The audience attending the Competition on April 7 will also have an opportunity to judge each ensemble at the end of each concert. The winner of that judging will receive the Audience Choice Award, announced along with the Gold and Silver Prizes at the end of the evening.

Free public concerts will be held on Sunday, April 8 and will include Ajax Quartet at 1:00 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel in Easton; Sapphirus Quartet at 2:00 p.m. at Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford; District 5 at 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Easton; and Merz Trio at 4 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cambridge.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. 

Tickets to the Chamber Music Competition are $12 per person and free to students. Tickets will be sold at the door at the Avalon Theatre on April 7, 2018, beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. The program starts at 1:00 p.m. For further information, visit here  or call the Chesapeake Music office at 410-819-0380. The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors.

Mid-Shore Art: All the President’s Chess Pieces


It is typically the experience for those who visit The Trippe Gallery (Trippe-Hilderbrandt) in Easton to find a remarkable showcase of some of the best artists and photographers in the Mid-Atlantic region. But occasionally, Nanny Trippe, the owner, takes a slight diversion from that pattern and shows off a little bit of the more eclectic and fun side of the art world.

That is indeed the case with Trippe’s decision to display Jessica Destefano’s remarkable bronze chess set of the primary Watergate figures from the Nixon era. Includes are thirty bronze sculpted pieces standing four inches high and weighing over a pound each.

This timing of this artwork might be seen by many as somewhat clairvoyant given that Washington and the rest of America are now watching as a new legal chess game takes form between President Donald Trump and Special counsel Robert S. Mueller thirty-five years after a break in at the Watergate complex took place.

The Spy captured a few images to share, but we encourage all to drop by the Trippe to get a firsthand look.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about the Trippe Gallery please go here