Caitlin Patton & Sammy Marshall at The Mainstay March 29


Marshall and Patton at The Mainstay — sounds like a jam session of World War II generals.

Fear not. When Caitlin Patton and pianist Sammy Marshall join forces on March 29 at the popular Rock Hall venue, The Mainstay, it’ll be to make music, not war. The Chester River Chorale and the National Music Festival will share the proceeds of this benefit concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

“The two organizations work together very collaboratively and many music lovers in the community attend and support both,” Patton said. “So, it made sense to me to try to raise money for both of these organizations that I cherish so much.”

Patton’s Mainstay program will include Broadway songs, popular music, and tunes from the Great American Songbook – standards by the likes of Cole Porter, Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Hoagy Carmichael, and Jerome Kern. She’ll also include music made popular by Adele, Sarah McLachlan, and Reba McEntire, among others.

“It’s a huge honor for me to work with Sammy, and it took me a while to work up the courage to even ask him if he would do this concert with me,” Patton added. “I was beyond thrilled when he said yes!” Marshall, a recently retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major, was pianist for the Soldier’s Chorus for 12 years.

Patton is a woman of many talents: she plays violin and viola, teaches, sings, and raises dairy goats. As an arts administrator, she is cofounder and Executive Director of the National Music Festival here in Kent County.

The duo is a natural pairing because of their intersecting musical lives. For the past nine years, Marshall has been the accompanist for the Chorale, of which Patton is a member and Board President. Marshall is the Collaborative Piano Mentor for the National Music Festival, June 2-15.

“Doing a recital like this — especially with Sammy at the piano — is a bucket list item. I’ve never done anything like it,” Patton said.

Marshall said, “It’s been fun to take pieces that might be recorded with an orchestra, a big band, or a pop electronic band, and translate that to the bare bones of piano and voice. The music becomes more intimate and personal as we figure out how to present our journey to the audience. Perfect for a venue like The Mainstay.”

Patton added, “There will be funny songs, touching songs, sad songs, love songs, and even a couple of rather naughty songs.”

Marshall is comfortable in a wide range of musical styles, from church to swing. He is also the pianist for the Frederick Chorale, Columbia Pro Cantare, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Music Director of the Halethorpe-Relay United Methodist Church.

“Caitlin and I are going to have such a great time on stage as we unwind and let loose,” Marshall said.

Tickets are $30 per person and are available at Advance purchase is encouraged, though tickets will also be available at the door. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 29.

More information about the National Music Festival can be found at, and more information about the Chester River Chorale at

At the Academy: AAM’s Love Affair with Photography


If there was any doubt about the Academy Art Museum’s commitment to photography, the galleries of the art center in Easton this spring should put that concern to rest.

From a display of photographic additions recently added to the AAM collection to the exhibitions of John Gossage and Matthew Moore, the Academy has assembled a robust demonstration of the institution’s love affair with photography.

The Spy talked to AAM director Ben Simons and curator Anke Van Wagenberg for a small download on these three remarkable exhibits.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Academy Art Museum please go here

Phil Wiggins and House Party at The Mainstay March 30


Renowned blues harmonica player Phil Wiggins brings his amazing House Party show to The Mainstay. Admission is $22 online or $26 by phone reservation/at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website and reservations can also be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Washington, D.C. native Phil Wiggins, a Takoma Park, Maryland, resident, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States.

Phil Wiggins is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica in the country blues style, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. His sound is not shaped by the gear, the microphone or amplifier when performing on stage, instead by his complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs.

Phil and partner John Cephas performed together for 32 years as internationally renowned stars of the country blues, and a staple on blues radio, ever present on the concert and festival. Cephas & Wiggins played Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, as well as small venues worldwide, touring every continent except Antarctica. They recorded more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including on Flying Fish and Alligator Records. They even performed at the White House with B.B. King. Phil Wiggins has have been featured in major music magazines, including on the cover of Living Blues, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more.

Since the 2009 death of John Cephas, Phil has performed with numerous musicians including Nat Reese, Corey Harris, Australian guitarist Dom Turner, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Sherman Holmes, the Rev. John Wilkins, Jerron Paxton, and longtime friends Eleanor Ellis and Rick Franklin. He fronts the acoustic swing/roots/blues ensemble, the Chesapeake Sheiks, and is actively engaged in reuniting the Piedmont blues with its origins of African American buck and tap dancing.

The House Party is an acoustic blues ensemble that reunites the dance tradition with the Piedmont and other country blues styles. Phil Wiggins is joined by the D.C. based Piedmont picker and longtime friend, guitar player Rick Franklin and Marcus Moore, a fiery jazz violinist steeped in the black string band tradition. They joined forces with urban dancer, Junious Lee Brickhouse, who understands the African American cultural reconnection of the act of dance with the dance music that is the blues.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region and is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

April 1 Joe Holt welcomes Clark Bjorke and Johnson Fortenbaugh
April 6 Banda Magda
April 8 Joe welcomes Steve Giordano
April 14 The Hedgelawn Series presents Taylor Hillary Boykins
April 15 Joe Holt Welcomes Sue Matthews
April 20 Mainstay Scholarship Winner: The Zack Lambert Quartet
April 22 Joe Holt Welcomes Lester Barrett
April 27 The Mainstay Folk Series: Lula Wiles
April 29 Joe Holt Welcomes Paul Midiri
May 4 Keyed Up: Dick Durham and Stef Scaggiarri

A Flea in Her Ear Opens March 29 at Church Hill Theatre


Don Carlos (Howard Mesick) with his wife, Lucienne (Natalie Lane). Photo by Genevieve Croker.

The hilarious French farce, A Flea in Her Ear written by Georges Feydeau and adapted by David Ives opens at Church Hill Theatre on Friday March 29 and runs through Sunday April 14.  With performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm, audiences have nine opportunities to laugh at this uproarious comedy, directed by Christopher Wallace.  Reservations can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at

Originally written by Feydeau in 1907, A Flea in Her Ear tells the story of Raymonde Chandebise who suspects her husband, Victor of being unfaithful.  To catch him, Raymonde’s best friend Lucienne suggests arranging a rendezvous with an imaginary secret admirer at the Frisky Puss Hotel, and then catching him when he meets her.  Of course, the plan goes awry with a host of characters running around and confusing everything and everyone.  Mistaken identities, jealousy, and more will put the audience in stiches.  David Ives (author of Don Juan in Chicago, All in the Timing and other comedies) translated and adapted the script in 2006; the play is still set in the opulent world of the wealthy at the turn of the century in Paris, but it is accessible to modern audiences.

Director Toph Wallace has assembled a talented cast to tackle this riotous comedy.  Raymonde and her husband Victor are played by Hester Sachse and Brad Chaires (Chaires has a double role as Monsieur Chandebise and Poche the Frisky Puss Hotel’s porter).  Natalie Lane and Howard Mesick take on the roles of Lucienne and her husband Don Carlos Homenides de Histangua.  Tournel, best friend to Chandebise, and a bit of a rake, is played by Dan Guidice.  Robbie Spray takes on the role of Camille, nephew to Victor, while Minnie Maloney plays Raymonde’s flirtatious maid Antoinette, and Michael Moore is her jealous husband, the Chandebise valet, Etienne.  Doctor Finache, a somewhat suspect medical expert is played by Bryan Zajchowski.  At the Frisky Puss, we meet Faraillon the hotel’s owner, and his wife played by Herb Ziegler and Mary Zober.  Their maid Eugenie is played by Shannon Whitaker.  Steve Atkinson and Troy Strootman take on the roles of a rheumatic drunkard and confused Englishman respectively.

Another draw to the Church Hill Theatre production of A Flea in Her Ear is the impressive set designed by Shelagh Grasso and executed by Carmen Grasso, Tom Rhodes and Jim Johnson.  There are two distinct, opulent interiors recreated on the stage, with multiple doors for actors to burst out of, and catch others by surprise.  Audiences may want to stay in their seats during intermission to watch the set revolve and completely change!

The production team also includes Stage Manager, Michelle Christopher; Producer, Sylvia Maloney; Costumer, Juanita Wieczoreck; Lighting Designer, Nic Carter; Photographer Genevieve Croker.

If laughter is something that you enjoy, than be sure to reserve your tickets for A Flea in Her Ear.  Although there is no profanity in the play, there are adult themes wrapped in double entendre and innuendo.

A Flea in Her Ear opens at Church Hill Theatre on March 29, 2019, and runs through April 14, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, March 29, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at

Art Review: The Academy Art Museum’s Three Exhibitions Become Four by Steve Parks


The Academy of Art Museum transforms itself into a time machine, taking passengers as far back as 6th century B.C. all the way up to 21st century A.D., with three exhibits that are really four.

The large galleries that flank the museum lobby are devoted to “Recent Acquisitions: Photography @ AAM.” Among high-profile names in the space to the right is living artist Bruce Nauman, who says of his art, “I’ve never been able to stick to one thing.” Instead, he does it all—painting, sculpture, photography, video, neon, printmaking, neon. At AAM, he’s the subject of his own art—distorting facial features shot by Jack Fulton and printed with a textured bronze finish onto four funhouse images.

Cockeyed Lips by Bruce Nauman

Others in this collection, selected by curator Anke Van Wagenberg, include black-and-whites you’d expect from Ansel Adams’ aesthetic for natural beauty and Berenice Abbott’s documentary-style stills of urban life. But many of us, myself included, may pause longest at Ed Clark’s 1958 photo of the future president peering into his daughter’s eyes in her bassinet. 

JFK and Caroline by Ed Clark

Crossing the lobby into another gallery of “Recent Acquisitions”—all by John Gossage, among the foremost living American photo book-makers—are displayed along with a copy of the volume, republished in 2010 on the 25th anniversary of “The Pond.” The 47 images capture the counter-beauty of a neglected wooded area hidden in suburbia. Gossage’s project has been described as “a foil to Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden Pond.’ ” Hardly idyllic except for its unattended isolation. If you’re into that.

Upstairs, “Matthew Moore: Post-Socialist Landscapes” recall the Cold War era some of us glimpsed on black-and-white TV. But these scenes derive from Moore’s 2014 artists-in-residence at Lithuania’s Nida Art Academy. His haunting frames reveal urban and rural spaces in countries once occupied by the Soviet Union. Among these are “Discarded Icons: Memento Park, Hungary” with busts of Stalin and Lenin glowering in prison-like storage. Another “Discarded Icon” in Estonia finds a severed sculpture-head of Lenin sprouting from the ground in weeded obscurity. Other images reveal platforms in former Russian-dominated republics from which Stalin and Lenin statuary once commanded the view. Ominous superpower threats are amplified by shots of abandoned missile sites and forgotten nuclear bunkers.

Discarded Icon by Matthew Moore

Combat is hand-to-hand in the small first floor galleries where “Dressed to Kill in Love and War: Splendor in the Ancient World” resides on loan from New York’s Fortuna Fine Arts. Objects from centuries on either side of the birth of Christ feature Roman Empire warrior helmets, Greek and Hellenistic jewelry and decorative objects, plus photos of reliefs inspired by battle heroism and mythology. The exhibit’s romantic aspect is reflected in precious-metal jewelry rewarded to love interests of men on the winning side. If you really could go that far back in time, decline and stay safe at this under-glass peek. No cells, no indoor plumbing, no artillery to clear a path for your warhorse.

“Dressed to Kill in Love and War: Splendor in the Ancient World” Through March 31.“Recent Acquisitions: Photography @ AAM” and “Matthew Moore: Post-Socialist Landscapes” Through April 7, all at Academy Art Museum, 106 South St. Easton,, 410-822-2787

Steve Park is a former art and theatre critic for Newsday on Long Island. He now lives on the Mid-Shore of Maryland. 



Mid-Shore Arts: When Art and History Meet with Jason Patterson


College towns are typically blessed with, and perhaps even a bit dependent on, the academic version of “twofers.” With each talented faculty member recruited, there is a good chance that an equally gifted spouse or partner will be part of the package.

Examples in Chestertown are endless of this form of collateral benefits. A recent case came to mind when the Spy announced that Sabine Harvey, wife of Washington College’s Dr. Michael Harvey, had been appointed to run Chestertown’s beloved farmers’ market. This was just the latest of Sabine’s remarkable contributions to Kent County agriculture and gardening.

And this is undoubtedly the case with the arrival of Dr. Meghan Grosse,  a professor with the College’s communication and media studies program. Dr. Grosse’s partner, artist Jason Patterson, agreed to make the move East from his native Campaign-Urbana in Illinois and now has his studio in Chestertown.

In the months that followed his arrival, Jason almost immediately became Kent County Arts Council’s first artist in residence. A few months after that, he was invited by Sumner Hall to exhibit his art (on display until March 24), and around the same time became a Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow at WC’s Starr Center.

The Spy sat down with Jason at the Spy HQ in Chestertown for a quick chat about his work and the unique opportunities that come when art connects with history.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. More information about Jason Paterson’s art work can be found here.

Academy Art Museum Announces April Events


Richard Diebenkorn, untitled, c. 1945


The following Academy Art Museum exhibitions are sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Star Democrat.

Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955
April 26–July 14
Reception: Friday, April 26, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Free Docent Tours: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue aim to present a comprehensive view of Diebenkorn’s evolution to maturity, focusing solely on the paintings and drawings that precede his 1955 shift to figuration at age 33. Included in the exhibition are 100 paintings and drawings primarily from the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, many of which have not before been publicly exhibited. The exhibition is organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum, and curated by Scott Shields, Associate Director and Chief Curator of the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA. The Academy Art Museum is the only venue on the East Coast.

Related Events:
Lecture: Sunday, April 28. 2 p.m. – Scott Shields, Exhibition Curator & Catalog Author
Lecture: Saturday, June 1, 11 a.m. – Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, My Father Richard Diebenkorn

Matthew Moore Stalin, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014 Pigment print.

Matthew Moore: Post-Socialist Landscapes
Through April 7
Free Docent Tours: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
Matthew Moore is an Associate Professor of Photography and the Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD. His current project was born as an investigation of the rural and urban landscapes of countries that were once occupied by the Soviet Union.

Recent Acquisitions: Photography @ AAM
Through April 7
Free Docent Tours: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
Recent Acquisitions: Photography @ AAM presents recently acquired works of photography, including works by Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Tom Baril, Ed Clark, William Eggleston, Lisette Model, Bruce Nauman.


Kittredge-Wilson Lecture
These lectures feature an exciting array of speakers who impart a diversity of perspectives on subjects such as art, architecture, history, and literature.

Ansel Adams, (1902–1984) Cedar Tree and Maple Leaves, c. 1974

Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955
Scott Shields Associate Director and Chief Curator, Crocker Museum of Art
Lecture and Book Signing
Sunday, April 28, 2 p.m.
The catalogue focuses on Diebenkorn’s evolution to maturity. It features nearly 200 paintings and drawings, many from the archives of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, that precede his shift to figuration. Many of these pieces will be unfamiliar to the public, yet they offer a fuller picture of Diebenkorn’s precocious achievements and set the stage for what was yet to come.

My Father Richard Diebenkorn
Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant
June 1, 11 a.m.
Gretchen Diebenkorn, daughter of the artist, reminisces in a panel discussion with Dorsey Waxter, Partner at Van Doren Waxter, New York.


Open MIC
Second Wednesday Each Month
April 10 – It’s Alive!
7 to 9 p.m.
Contact Ray Remesch at for additional information.

Richard Diebenkorn in the US Marine Corps


Here is a sampling of the many classes, instructors, and mediums being featured. Please visit to see a complete list of adult class offerings.

Watercolor: Trees, Trees, and More Glorious Trees!
Instructor: Steve Bleinberger
3 weeks: April 9, 16 and 23
Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

An Evening Critique
Mentors: Katie Cassidy, Sheryl Southwick and Diane DuBois Mullaly
Thursday, April 25, 5 – 7 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person payable at the door. Complimentary wine and snacks


eARTh Arts Day Extravaganza!
Instructor: Museum Staff
Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Save the planet and get creative! Before you throw out that old can, bottle cap, magazine etc…think about what you might do with it to keep it in use. Better yet, come to the Academy Art Museum’s eARTh Arts Day Extravaganza and make some great projects to take back home. This year the Museum is teaming up with Horn Point Laboratory to bring you great new projects.

Steve Bleinberger

Academy Art Museum Summer Camps (PreK –High School)
Camps are offered weekly, beginning the last week of June and continuing through the third week of August. Most camps are between two and three hours long.
Academy Art Museum camps are designed to appeal to every age range and arts interest from pre-school summer-themed offerings to tween and teen crafts, such as paper-making and plaster sculpture. The Museum’s signature Kaleidoscope Camp—a perennial favorite—consists of multi-media projects, while other camps focus on building basic art skills, such as drawing and painting. New 2019 camps offer high school students advanced drawing and digital media expertise.


Piano & Guitar Lessons
Instructor: Raymond Remesch
Contact Instructor for further information at (410) 829-0335 or

Voice Lessons
Instructor: Georgiann Gibson
Contact instructor for Information at (410) 829-2525 or

Ballroom and Latin Dance
Instructor: Amanda Showell
Contact instructor for information at (302) 377-3088 or visit

For additional information, visit or call the Museum at 410-822-2787.

Local Author Mary Saner Talk and Book Signing March 31


Head to Wind Publishing is delighted to announce the release of What Else You Got? Freelancing in Radio by Kent County resident, Mary Saner. Her award-winning documentary on teen pregnancy, Babies Having Babies, helped launch her radio career, but it’s her smoky voice and her fascination with people – from tennis star Boris Becker to presidential candidate Bill Clinton to the woman whose pet bat lives in her sleeve – that’s kept it going and sent her around the nation producing shows for NPR, Voice of America, CBS and more. But Saner didn’t start out in media. Like many, she hadn’t known what to do when she graduated from college, so she continued her studies until something came up. A Master’s degree in history followed by studies toward a PhD at George Washington University, with an eye to teaching would seem an unlikely preparation for a career in radio. But not for Saner, whose love of sports and nose for offbeat stories like the circus camp for kids and the luxury cat hotel in Maine have had her working alongside some of radio’s greats, including CBS’s Charles Osgood. In this her first book, she not only unfolds the trajectory of her career, but generously shares what she’s learned along the way. A fun read that’s also a must-have primer with timeless tips for anyone entering the media today. Saner will be at The Bookplate in Chestertown on Sunday, March 31 at 2PM for a talk and book signing about her off-the-beaten-path career.

Stars from “The Sound of Music” and “Newsies” at the Garfield in April


The board of directors at the Garfield Center for the Arts are proud to announce the theatre’s 2019 annual gala fundraiser; Broadway by the River! Hosted by New York’s drag queen sensation, Marti Gould Cummings, and featuring an evening of intimate performances and conversations with cast members of various Broadway shows; Emily Trumble of The Sound of Music, Jack Scott of Newsies! and Kristina Nicole Miller of The Preacher’s Wife. Featuring special guest Shannon Whittaker and musical director Blake Allen, Broadway by the River promises to once again deliver some of that “Big Apple” theatre magic to Chestertown on Friday, April 5th at 8pm.

Limited VIP “Broadway Pass” tickets are $100 each and include main level table seating, hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary themed cocktail and after party with the performers at The Kitchen at the Imperial. Tickets for the front row of the balcony are $75, general admission is $50 and tickets to the upper balcony are $25. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 410-810-2060 or in person at the Garfield Box Office, located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

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