Auditions for The Hostage at Church Hill Theatre


The Hostage, by Brendan Behan, set in a bawdy boarding house in mid-20th century Dublin is coming to the Church Hill Theatre stage. A refuge where one-time Irish revolutionaries relive past glories and air grievances, the “house” becomes the logical setting for the unfolding of an IRA plot to exchange a callow British conscript – the Hostage – for an IRA youth sentence to be hanged in a Belfast jail. The IRA’s plot and the lives of the denizens in the “house” force everyone to struggle with their value systems, from morality and religion to honor and loyalty as they collide with life, love and hate. Production dates at CHT are November 2 through 18, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8, Sundays at 2.

The Hostage has excellent roles for men and women, bringing to life the traditions of “the common man/woman” in British theater from Shakespeare to Pinter. Behan lays bare the joy, sorrow and undeniable humor that are at the core of life’s deepest values.

Auditions on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
– Thursday, July 26 at 6:00 pm
– Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 am
– Tuesday, July 31 at 6:00 pm

Directed by Pat Patterson, those who audition will be asked to participate in “cold” readings from the script. Although The Hostage is not a musical, auditioners may be asked to sing a verse of song of their choosing, such as “Danny Boy” or “When the Saints go Marching In”, without accompaniment. On-stage experience is not essential to be part of The Hostage!

Characters break down as follows (ages refer to the age that the actor can portray):
Pat: (male 50s & up) Gregarious ex-IRA fighter; now the manager of the boarding house
Meg: (female 30s-50s) Runs the house. She & Pat have been “almost married” many years
Monsewer: (male 60s-70s) Dotty owner of the house. Plays the bagpipes! Raised “British” but switched to the IRA “cause”in 1917, Speaks a bit of Gaelic
Teresa: (female 18-early 20s) a country girl, housemaid, cares for the Hostage
Leslie: (male 18-20s) a young, cockney British soldier – the Hostage
Mr. Mulleady: (male 30s-up) a seedy but proper (sometimes) boarder
Miss Gilchrist: (female 30s-up) Mulleady’s “social worker” friend
Coletteand Ropeen: (female, one young and one older) prostitutes
Rio Rita and Princess Grace: (male any age) “male tarts”
An IRA Officer/extremist (any gender; 20s – up)
The Pianist: (any age) accompanies the singing and dancing and sometimes more
Others: Several roles for individuals (any age/gender) to play roles as house residents, IRA fighters, British military etc.

Contact the Church Hill Theatre office at 410-556-6003 or reach out directly to Pat Patterson at 571-215-7973 or with any questions.

Green Room Gang to Perform at Church Hill Theatre


The sounds of singing and dancing are filling the Church Hill Theatre as talented local youngsters rehearse for their productions of Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Shrek the Musical, Jr. that they will perform on Thursday, July 19 through Saturday, July 21. For the past nineteen years, Green Room Gang campers have honed their acting, singing and dancing skills to produce fully staged musical productions. Winnie the Pooh, Kids is adapted for children from the classic book by A. A. Milne and Disney Film. Shrek the Musical, Jr. is based on the book by William Steig, the 2001 film and the Broadway musical featuring Sutton Foster, which tells the tale about an ogre who finds happiness.

Photo: Members of the cast of Shrek the Musical, Jr. From left to right, they are Eamon Murphy as Farquaad, Abby Reynolds as Fiona, Caleb Ford as Shrek, and Lindsey Jones as Donkey. Photo by Steve Atkinson.

Becca Van Aken directs younger performers in Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Kyle Lindenberger directs the middle and high students in Shrek the Musical, Jr. Interns Mark Christie and Iz Clemens ably assist both directors in all aspects of the classes and rehearsals.  Production staff includes Tom Rhodes, Carmen Grasso for set construction, Tina Johnson and Erma Johnson who are creating the costumes, with Nic Carter and Kat Melton working on lighting.  Volunteer interns are Courtney Adams, Sydney Christian, Olivia Giuliano, Jesse Goodman, Lynsey Hildebrand, Christina Lewis, Maya McGrory, Elliott Morotti and Jen Johnson.  Ginger Ellis is stage manager for the Jr. group and Lynsey Hildebrand does the same duty for the Sr. group.  Shelagh Grasso and Sylvia Maloney serve as producers and mentors.  Many parents and other volunteers helped with costumes, sets, and props, making this annual show a real community effort.

Performances will be on the evenings of Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 7 pm and on Saturday, July 21 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and  $5 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (410) 556-6003.

The Annual Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference July 18 and 19


The Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, which invites high school students to Washington College to work with esteemed writers, will feature readings on July 18 and 19 highlighting the conference’s faculty. On July 18, James Allen Hall, conference director and director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, will join poet Jehanne Dubrow in a reading, while H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade will read on July 19. Both events, held at the Lit House, begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Jehanne Dubrow was born in Italy and grew up in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. She is the author of six poetry collections, including most recently Dots & Dashes (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017), winner of the Crab Orchard Series Open Competition Award, The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern University Press, 2012), and Stateside (Northwestern University Press, 2010). She is a co-editor of the anthologies The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume and Still Life with Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse (Literary House Press, 2014 and 2016). Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in The Southern ReviewNew England ReviewThe Hudson ReviewPleiades, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.

Top: Jehanne Dubrow and James Allen Hall; Bottom: H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade

James Allen Hall is an associate professor of English at Washington College, where he also serves as director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. His book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, won Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Award. Also a poet, Hall is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and others. His first book of poems, Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008), won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012A Public SpaceThe American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewNew England ReviewStory QuarterlyBennington Review, and in other national literary magazines and journals.

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon ReviewConjunctionsThe Iowa ReviewGlimmer TrainNinth LetterSlice and other journals and publications. He is the 2018 Writer in Residence for The Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and sits on the executive board of directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Julie Marie Wade is the author of ten collections of poetry and prose, including Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, Small Fires, When I Was Straight, Catechism: A Love Story, and SIX. Her newest collections are Same-Sexy Marriage: Poems (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018) and The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose (Wild Patience Books, 2018), co-authored with Denise Duhamel. Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University and reviews regularly for Lambda Literary Review and The Rumpus. She is married to Angie Griffin and lives on Hollywood Beach.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit

For more information on the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, visit

KCAC Announces FY19 Officers, Names Carla Massoni to Board


The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) elected the following officers at its June 10, 2018 annual meeting to serve two-year terms:

Clark Bjorke, president
Charles Taylor, vice president
Meredith Davies Hadaway, secretary
Jason Claire, treasurer

The board also unanimously welcomed Carla Massoni of Massoni Art Gallery to a three-year term, effective July 1, filling a vacancy created by long-time member Marilee Schumann’s retirement.

“I am honored that Carla agreed to join our board,” said KCAC Director John Schratwieser, praising Massoni’s three-plus decades of commitment to arts and culture in Kent County. “She is one of those people who when we first met, I knew she ‘got it’. She shares the KCAC’s vision for the role of the arts in education, community development and economic vitality, and we shared the desire to maximize this role for the future of Kent County and its residents.”

Massoni has over 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur. A resident of Chestertown, Md., since 1985, she has been actively involved in community arts and humanities projects. She established a premier contemporary craft and fine art gallery (Massoni-Sommer) in 1990 and continues to provide educational programming and exhibitions featuring established contemporary artists at MASSONIART. In 2016, she opened CREATE in Chestertown with five partners – all award-winning craft artists.

Previous career highlights include: partnership in a pioneering human resources firm; founder and partner of a training program and school for women re-entering the job market, and owner of a boutique hotel and restaurant. She was the 2014 recipient of the William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award for Kent County.

Carla Massoni was eager to step up to support the Arts Council’s work. “I have long admired John Schratwieser. His commitment to the arts and the communities he serves is inspiring,” said Massoni. “I have great faith that John will continue Leslie Raimond’s dedication to serve those in Kent County who are often overlooked. John’s skills have been developed in numerous arts organizations and his work as Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts enables him to move with credibility on the both the state and national stage. The board he is developing is diverse and skilled. I look forward to working with all under his leadership.”

She continued by saying, “My particular focus will be the next generation. I hope to work closely with Kent County Public School teachers and students. There is no reason why Kent County cannot have the BEST schools in the State of Maryland. The arts provide the STEAM for the engine of social progress.”

Carla was a founding member on the Board of Directors for the Sultana Education Foundation; a member of the Board of Trustees at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md.; a member of the Board of the National Music Festival; a founding member of the Greater Chestertown Initiative; a member of the Washington College SANDBOX Advisory Board; and served on the Advisory Board of the Art of Stewardship Foundation.

Massoni founded the Women Helping Women annual concert to benefit migrant workers in Marydel, Md., and served as Southeast regional representative for the Beyond War Foundation’s Breakthrough Project US/Soviet Union. She previously served as a juror for the Academy Art Museum most recently for their 17th Annual Craft Show, has been a juror for numerous arts institutions in Maryland, and served as a juror for Philadelphia Museum of Art 2017 Craft Show.

The Kent County Arts Council was founded in 1975 and is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts service organization. KCAC’s mission is to invest, infuse, and inspire the arts for all in Kent County.

Food Friday: Yes, You Do Dare to Eat a Peach


I was wandering around the grocery store the other day, as I tend to do most days, and was overcome by the heady aroma of local, ripe peaches. There was a gauzy cloud of deliciousness wafting gently in the front of the produce department. Some canny merchandiser had crafted a display of the velvety orbs, knowing that it would drive shoppers mad with passion and desire and hunger for sweet juices and warm flesh. The ultimate food porn.

I think peaches are best eaten on the front porch, on a warm summer day, with the juice running down my chin, which I wipe away impatiently, with the fist that isn’t clutching my library book. I’m sitting on the ancient wicker chair that creaks as I wriggle around trying to get comfortable. My hands and chin are sticky. It is a good summer feeling.

There are people who cook peaches! The horror! If I cannot enjoy peaches in their natural state, then I really only want them sliced on top of the best vanilla ice cream. The cool creamy ice cream, slightly melted, is the perfect foil for a warm peach. If hard pressed, say with a few dozen peaches I cannot possibly eat during the course of a day, before they are suddenly soft and over-ripe, then I know I can find other uses for them.

Peach Daiquiri – for one

1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted and cut into blendable slices
1 cup crushed ice
2 ounces rum – if you use white rum, add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice for some extra zest

Place all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately. If you are concerned with aesthetics, garnish with a peach slice and a mint sprig. This is the evening substitute for the front porch peach.

Here is a non-alcoholic peach smoothie for the pure at heart:
1/2 cup peach or apricot nectar
1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen peaches
1/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
2 ice cubes

Peach Salsa:

My tomatoes have slowed down this week, so I need an alternative for my chips and salsa:
4 peaches, peeled and pitted
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges and seeded
½ sweet onion, cut into wedges
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup of chopped peppers – you choose whether to add jalapeño
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine the peaches, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse until satisfactorily chopped.
Add chilies, vinegar, lime juice and pepper and pulse again until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and chill until ready to serve. Yields 4 cups. Add warm chips. Top up your tacos. Use over grilled chicken. Bliss!

Here are some other ideas for using up as many peaches as you can:

Martha has a Peach and Crab Salad that we might have to try:

Peach Bruschetta:

Peach ice cream:

Peach-tarragon Shortcake:

It’s not going to be peach season forever. And yet, you will want to have some of this delicious summer sunshine stored up for a rainy day in October; no cling peaches in a can of syrup for you! It is easy to store a couple of pounds of peaches in your freezer. Peel and slice a pound or two of peaches tomorrow. Toss each pound with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Put the sliced (and lemon-bathed) peaches in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight. In the morning, transfer the frozen peaches into your favorite freezer container. I prefer Baggies, because I can never find Mr. Friday’s Tupperware lids, but you might have a more organized life, and can find these kitchen items easily.

“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
-Mark Twain

Cowboy Junkies: Major Concert at the Avalon July 27


The Avalon is excited to be hosting Cowboy Junkies just 2 weeks after their latest record hits the streets. “All That Reckoning”, will be released on July 13th.

Although they’re famously free-riding, mythically rugged individualists and their music is highly addictive, the four members of the Cowboy Junkies are neither cowboys nor junkies. They make up the hip, hybrid Canadian indie band with a rich repertoire of originals and classic covers wrapped in an aura of mystery. The Cowboy Junkies – the little, but hugely classy, cult band – returns to perform July 27th, at 8p.m. in Easton.

The band is playing great these days, Margo is singing better than ever.

“We’re inspired by the material we’ve recorded for our new album and we’re having more and more fun reaching deep into our catalog.”

At the Avalon, they will be going acoustic and electric, performing new material, classics, deep cuts and fan requests. They’ve recently added David Bowie’s “Five Years” to their repertoire, supplementing the extensive list of covers they can draw from.

When asked what keeps the Junkies’ core group of devoted fans (affectionately called llamas) traveling to all their shows, the band refers to it’s authenticity.

“We hope it’s because we put on a good show, but I think it’s also an authentic performance. We’re a band that’s been performing together for thirty years and there’s a real, honest connection with the audience on most nights. I think that’s a rare thing these days.”

For more information on all upcoming events, visit, or visit our blog, or call 410-822-7299.

The High & Wides at the Riverfront Concert Series July 26


Back by popular demand,the legendary High & Wides rock the stage at the Riverfront Concert series on Thursday, July 26.  Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, the final 2018 riverfront concert is free and open to the public. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Custom House at 101 S. Water Street, Chestertown.

We invite you to bring friends and family (all ages are welcome), a picnic, and your own chairs or blanket. Or just relax on the grass and partake of free lemonade and cookies. Either way, come and enjoy the energetic sounds of this innovative band recently described by the Washington Post as “apostles of hillbilly boogie.”

The High & Wides, like the large-haul trains for which the band is named, project a big, driving sound—mountain musical traditions re-imagined for a new century. Formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015, the band makes music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from members’ extensive backgrounds in bluegrass and take the music to a place all their own, recalling an era when old-time, rockabilly, and proto-rock’n’roll coexisted in a murky soup of hillbilly string band music. The High & Wides include Marc Dykeman (guitar and vocals), Sam Guthridge (banjo, mandolin and vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Mike Buccino (upright bass). Their new album, titled Lifted, was released this spring to popular acclaim.

The Starr Center’s riverfront concerts — a summer tradition for the past eight years — present American music in all its breadth and diversity, with performers in a variety of genres from across the region and beyond. As part of each event, Starr Center program manager Michael Buckley, who is also a longtime radio host on WRNR-FM, leads a Q&A with the visiting artists.

For more information, visit or contact Michael Buckley,, 410-810-7156. In case of rain, the concert will take place in Hynson Pavilion, Wilmer Park.  Special support for the summer concert series is provided by Yerkes Construction and Washington College Student Events Board.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at

6th Annual Art in Bloom Supported Camp Scholarships


People’s Choice Award Winner, “Fit to be Tied” by Jessica Coner

On Sunday, June 24, the RiverArts Galleries were filled with floral arrangements inspired by the artworks exhibited by RiverArts’ June exhibition, “Fine Arts and Contemporary Craft,” a multi-media juried show of paintings and 3D artwork.

Guests at the champagne reception viewed floral arrangements featuring everything from sunflowers to a giraffe sanctuary to a design incorporating part of a combine, while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and a raffle featuring garden-themed gifts. Participating floral designers were Ronn Akins, Sydney Brookes, Zane Carter, Jessica Coner, Frank Creegan, Darla Downer, Galena Blooms, Inspired Creations artist Kelley Thayer, Latrina, and Carol Neimand. The People’s Choice award went to Jessica Coner, for her design, “Fit to Be Tied.”

The event raised $1000 in support of the RiverArts Summer Camp scholarship fund, enabling 6 children to participate in art camp. Sponsors included Figg’s Ordinary, The Finishing Touch, Kingstown Farm, Home and Garden, and The White Swan Tavern.

For more information on RiverArts Events, Summer Camp, Exhibits and Classes, visit, or call RiverArts at 410-778-6300.  Gallery: 315 High Street, Suite 106. Open Tuesday-Friday, 11-5:30, First Friday open until 8pm, Saturday, 10-5:30, Sunday 11 am – 3 pm.

Chesapeake Brass Band in Fountain Park July 7


The Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band in 2016 on their 20th Anniversary.

Come on down to Fountain Park this Saturday, July 7, for the second in Chestertown’s Music in the Park summer concert series, featuring the Chesapeake Brass Band. The music will begin at 7:00 pm and last approximately 90 minutes. Bring something to sit on as only limited seating is available. Admission is free.

Formed in 1996, the Chesapeake Brass Band is comprised of amateur and professional musicians from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Following the brass banding tradition, it is an all-volunteer organization.

The Chesapeake Brass Band was the National American Brass Band Association champion in their division in 2013.

The band has won numerous awards over the years, including placing first in their division at the North American Brass Band Association Competition in 2013. This year the band was Runner Up in their division at the Dublin Festival of Brass in Dublin, Ohio.

The band performs a varied repertoire of contemporary and traditional brass band music throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The concert at Chestertown will feature music from stage, screen, TV, and the circus. Among the tunes will be a “Salute to the Armed Forces”, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue”, “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as Barnum and Bailey’s favorite march. Cornet and Euphonium solos will also be part of the evening’s program.

Dr. Russell Murray -Musical Director of the Chesapeake Brass Band

The band’s musical director is Russell Murray. Dr.Murray earned his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Texas. He has taught music history and directed early music ensembles at the University of North Texas, Texas Wesleyan University, and Rice University. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of Delaware, where he is the director of the Collegium Musicum and is also on the Core Faculty of the Women’s Studies program. He has been at the University of Delaware since 1991.

For more information, see their website.

If you are an accomplished brass player or percussionist looking for a new challenge, the Chesapeake Brass Band has openings. Contact the band at or call 302-530-2915.

In case of rain, a concert may be rescheduled or a rain location may be sent to the email list and listed on a sign on the stage in the park on the day of the concert. These free programs are sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown to Music in the Park, Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

The Chesapeake Brass Band in concert.