Mid-Shore Arts: Composer and Singer Barbara Parker on Being the New Kid on the Block

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It is hard to think of another community where such a shockingly large number of people who live here can name at least five of the most outstanding female vocalists in the area. Remarkably different in their gifts and generous in their support, these professional artists have set a high bar for any newcomer.

That is what visual artist and writer Barbara Parker realized when she decided to take her love of words and combine them with music around 2005. That may seem like a long time ago, but in her Spy chat, she still feels she is still just catching up to these masters who she has admired since arriving in Kent County in 1982.

Collaborating with pianist Joe Holt, another great Kent County master, Barbara has started to perfect her performance style. Using a repertoire of her compositions which were developed with Joe’s arrangements, the twosome has steadily grown a following on the Mid-Shore. Many of whom will no doubt be there when the twosome headline a reception and concert at the Brampton Inn on January 19.

In her Spy interview, she talks about her love of lyrics and music, the awe she has the local talent this small rural community has to offer, and how grateful she has been for their influence and guidance.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. Additional video generously provided by Steve Payne.  Tickets and information about the Brampton Inn concert can be found here.

 

Remembering Judy Kohl

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As reported by the Chestertown Spy a few days ago, local Kent County philanthropist and arts leader Judy Kohl passed away at the age of 79 on December 4th. Through the Hedgelawn Foundation, Judy, and her family, have given generously to the region’s nonprofit organizations and schools, leaving a extraordinary legacy in helping our treasured arts and cultural institutions.

In response to public interest, the Spy is sharing two video interviews with Judy Kohl as she talks about her life and steadfast commitment to education, music, and art in Kent County.

The Chestertown Marina: Mayor Cerino Sees the Finish Line of the Long, Hard Slog

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It is almost too painful to recall the many twists and turns of the Chestertown Marina project since the town purchased the property in 2012.  The setbacks, the economic recession, the second-guessing, the mixed signals from Annapolis, and the inevitable last minute surprises over the last six years would give anyone a serious about heartburn. And no one could possibly feel more of that indigestion issue that Chestertown’s mayor, Chris Cerino.

Even before the town took the unprecedented step to purchase the marina, Cerino had been tracking it. Heading up the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as serving as the Sultana Education Foundation’s director of education, Chris was well aware of its opportunities and challenges well before he decided to make the marina his number one priority when he ran for mayor in 2014.

And for the last four years, he’s seen first hand how complex and frustrating a project like this can be for a small town. But it has also allowed him to join other leaders in town for a modest victory lap as the real fruit of their labor is now being very tangibly being seen on Chester River waterfront.

The Spy talked to Mayor Cerino last week in the new Marina Interpretive Center to talk about this long journey and the almost unlimited potential it has released as this three hundred year old community reclaims in historic ties to river and offered a future door for economic development.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more information about the Chestertown Marina or to make a contribution to its final phase of funding, please go here

 

Mid-Shore Arts: The Great Migration with John Schratwieser

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As part of the Kent County Arts Council agenda this fall, there will be a unique tribute to America’s great migration of six million African-Americans who moved from the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West. To provide a sense of scale for this remarkable transition, until 1910, more than 90 percent of the African-American population lived in the American South. In 1900, only one-fifth of African-Americans living in the South were living in urban areas.

In 2016 The Phillips Collection in Washington DC commissioned Playwright and Producing Artistic Director Jacqueline Lawton,to create an evening of short plays based on the Great Migration series painted by famed African American painter, Jacob Lawrence. These plays will be presented together as Act one of a Two-Act evening that also includes Kent County’s own RED DEVIL MOON, Thursday – Sunday, November 1 – 4, 2018 at the Garfield Center for the Arts.

The Spy chatted with John Schratwieser, KCAC director, about this amibrioust project a few months ago to help us understand better the history and what the audience can expect during this short run.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Great Migration project please go here

Downrigging: Robert Earl Price and the Unlading Starts October 26

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As greater Chestertown prepares for another great Downrigging weekend, it is sometimes hard to remember how wide and diverse the programing is for this Sultana Education Foundation fall happening. A case in point is the Kent County Art Council sponsored production of Robert Earl Price’s dramatized poem “The Unlading” scheduled to be performed at the historic Janes Church.

Recounting the tale of the first stolen African people arrived in North America in August 1619 whose  arrival was marked by four words, “20 and odd Negars” and later would be legally known as “un-free” for population census purposes. 

Art Council director John Schratwieser was clever enough to talk Robert Earl into providing a brief overview of this work and resourcefully deployed his handy Iphone for this vertically shot check in.

THE UNLADING
A Dramatized Poem, written and directed by Robert Earl Price,  Commissioned and Produced by the Kent County Arts Council for Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend 2018.

Performances are FREE and will be held at Janes United Methodist Church, 120 S. Cross Street, Chestertown as follows:

Friday, October 26, 2018 – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 28, 2018 – 1:30 p.m.  

The play runs approximately 30 minutes with no intermission.

A Conversation with Spy Columnist David Montgomery and 1st District Candidate Andy Harris

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More than a few Spy readers thought it was a bit odd last week to have David Montgomery, our most politically conservative columnist, interview Democrat Jesse Colvin, who is running against Congressman Andy Harris this November. And yet many ultimately found this format a refreshing change from the more typical and sound bite-driven public forums or mainstream media interviews.

We took that as encouragement to continue our somewhat counter-intuitive approach by having David also interview Dr. Harris as well. And while it is true that their worldviews may be more aligned than with Jesse Colvin’s, Spy readers may find it surprising that Montgomery and Harris are not in agreement on many issues, including immigration and economic tariffs. Indeed, David has withheld his endorsement until he completed these interviews with both. He plans to share his final decision this week in his regular Spy column.

Once again, we are grateful to the Avalon Foundation’s MCTV for their help in producing this Spy conversation.

This video is approximately one hour in length 

Kent County Commissioner Race: A Conversation with Ron Fithian

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Every election year, the Chestertown Spy uses the power of multimedia to introduce candidates for local office in a way that is far less traditional than the typical community forum or debate. Rather than be limited by a set amount of time to state policy views or answer questions, the Spy has used the video interview format to understand more fully a candidate’s points of view as well as their personalities. We continue this practice again this year with six conversations with those running to be one of the three Kent County Commissioners. During these chats, candidates have been asked questions on economic development, public school funding, public transportation as well as understanding their backgrounds and motivation for running for office.

We continue our series with Ron Fithian. Ron is the town manager for Rock Hall and has served on the Kent County Commission for the last twenty years.

This video is approximately minutes in length

Kent County Commissioner Race: A Conversation with Bob Jacob

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Every election year, the Chestertown Spy uses the power of multimedia to introduce candidates for local office in a way that is far less traditional than the typical community forum or debate. Rather than be limited by a set amount of time to state policy views or answer questions, the Spy has used the video interview format to understand more fully a candidate’s points of view as well as their personalities. We continue this practice again this year with six conversations with those running to be one of the three Kent County Commissioners. During these chats, candidates have been asked questions on economic development, public school funding, public transportation as well as understanding their backgrounds and motivation for running for office.

We continue our series with Bob Jacob. Born and raised in Kent County, Bob is the owner and president of Chesapeake CNC Manufacturing Center, producing Swiss Screw Machining of precision parts and assembly.

Kent County Commissioner Race: A Conversation with Tom Mason

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Every election year, the Chestertown Spy uses the power of multimedia to introduce candidates for local office in a way that is far less traditional than the typical community forum or debate. Rather than be limited by a set amount of time to state policy views or answer questions, the Spy has used the video interview format to understand more fully a candidate’s points of view as well as their personalities. We continue this practice again this year with six conversations with those running to be one of the three Kent County Commissioners. During these chats, candidates have been asked questions on economic development, public school funding, public transportation as well as understanding their backgrounds and motivation for running for office.

We continue our series with Tom Mason. Born and raised in Cecil County, Tom began his career as a dairy farmer after graduating from the University of Maryland. He has been actively involved in state agricultural policy and on the Maryland Farm Bureau and a trustee of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.

This video is approximately twenty minutes in length.