Last Chance to See Pippin at Church Hill Theatre

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The Church Hill Theatre’s production of Pippin continues the international crowd-pleasing reputation of this fantastic musical.  With music by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Roger O. Hirson, the CHT revival, directed by Sylvia Maloney is not to be missed!  The talented cast, Musical Director Ray Remesch, and Choreographer Cavin Moore present a production that is wowing audiences and has garnered praise from Peter Heck in his recent review.

The Leading Player (Mackenzie Campbell) holds aloft the Crown of Charlemagne whilst Pippin (Mark Wiening, left) and a guard (Max Brennan) look on.

Both Pippin and his father, Charlemagne, are historic figures from the early Middle Ages. In the fictional plot, with the help of a troupe of minstrel players, Pippin embarks on a quest to find life’s purpose. The “outstanding” Mackenzie Campbell portrays the Leading Player, head of the mysterious troupe. Mark Wiening plays Pippin and Bob Chauncey is Charlemagne.  Heck noted Wiening’s “strong voice and solid acting chops” along with Chauncey’s ability to “bring out [his] character’s comic side”.  Becca Van Aken “gives her character a solid reality” playing Pippin’s love interest, Catherine, with Debra Ebersole, “a highlight of the first act” playing his grandmother, Berthe. Bryce Sullivan plays Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong is “deliciously wicked” as Pippin’s stepmother Fastrada, with Cullen Williams plays Catherine’s son, Theo.

The “energy of the production gets a definite boost” from the ensemble. Comprised of many young people from the area, they are the performance troupe that take on all other characters; they are Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and Cody Turner.

L-R: Bryce Sullivan, Cody Turner, Delaney McCreary, Erin Tomassoni, Quentin Bergenholtz, Katie Staley, Mackenzie Campbell, Mark Wiening (behind), Maya McGrory, Cullen Williams, John Crook, Ellie Merton, Grace McCreary, Elliott Morotti.

Live music is a key part of CHT musicals. Ray Remesch, who conducts from the piano (and sometimes with a guitar), leads a talented orchestra. Peter Cailloux plays the French horn, Susan Dabney and Jane Godfrey are on violins, Ron Demby shares his talent on reeds, David James and Rich Matties take on trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Jordon Stanley handles percussion, with Quinn Parsley on bass.

The production staff and crew provide additional theater magic. Sam Angelini, Steve Atkinson (also the production photographer), and Jim Johnson share duties as Stage Managers. Brian Draper created the Art Set Design and collaborated with Michael Whitehill on set design and execution. Doug Kaufmann helms lighting whilst Tina Johnson, Erma Johnson, and Liz Clarke create the costumes. Christian Graham serves as Magic Consultant

Pippin runs through June 24th, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 pm on Sundays.  Reservations (strongly advised in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

Short Attention Span Theatre Opens At The Garfield Center June 22

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Producers Diane Landskroener and Mark Sullivan invite you to the 14th year of Short Attention Span Theatre at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre.

Join us for an engaging evening of 10-minute plays, designed to hold your attention for just. long. enough. The Play Fest will showcase a range of actors, directors and authors – featuring original works by local playwrights!

The plays selected for this year’s SAST production are:

All Over But The Shouting – Written by Brent Lewis (LPS) – Directed by Mark Sullivan

Binged There, Done That – Written by Ken Preuss – Directed by Hester Sachse

Just Desserts – Written by David MacGregor – Directed by Diane Landskroener

Kung Foolery – Written by Brett Hursey – Directed by Jim Landskroener

LA 8 AM – Written by Mark Harvey Levine – Directed by Bryan Betley

Misfortune – Written by Mark Harvey Levine – Directed by Kirby Powell

The New Me – Written by Rich Pauli (LPS) – Directed by Melissa McGlynn

The Stand In – Written by Brett Hursey – Directed by Brad Chaires

Featured actors in this year’s play fest are:

Brad Chaires and  Jim Landskroener in All Over But The Shouting, Lis Engle, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Bryan Betley, Dan Guidice, Bryan Zajchowski & Robbie Spray in Binged There, Done That, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Zac Ryan, Phebe Wood & Melissa McGlynn in Just Desserts, Dan Guidice, Gretchen Sachse, Diane Landskroener in Kung Foolery, Melissa McGlynn, Paul Cambardella, Tilly Pelczar & Kirby Powell in LA 8AM, Zac Ryan, Georgia Rickloff & Beverly Hall Smith in Misfortune, Lis Engle & Dan Guidice in The New Me and Brianna Johnson, Jen Friedman & Thomas Martinez in The Stand In.

Joining SAST for the 5th year is Hey, Wait A Minute! our one-minute play fest directed by Tia Glomb. HWM will be performed in the Kohl Lobby at 7 p.m. before the Friday and Saturday night performances of Short Attention Span Theatre. The HWM cast features Ian Ellison, Jen Friedman, Brianna Johnson, Brownie Southworth, Annie Southworth, Isabella Southworth & Robbie Spray.

Short Attention Span Theatre opens Friday, June 22, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 8. Thank you to those who have chosen to support SAST through the Name in Lights campaign!

Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 and $5 for students with ID (plays include some adult content, and may not be suitable for children under 13). Take advantage of the Garfield’s recurring opening night discount and get $5 off when you wear your Garfield t-shirt!  Call 410-810-2060 or visit www.garfieldcenter.org.

WC’s Riverfront Concert Series Kicks Off on June 28 With Sombarkin’

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Sombarkin’

Slip into summer with Washington College’s Riverfront Concert Series, which this year kicks off with Sombarkin’, the acclaimed a capella gospel, blues and jazz trio, who will open the Thursday evening series on June 28 at 6:30 p.m. Produced by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the free concerts take place at the Custom House lawn on the corner of High and Water streets in Chestertown. Bring your own picnic, (free cookies and lemonade provided!) blankets, and chairs; rally your friends, family, and neighbors, and get ready to tap your feet, clap your hands, sing along, dance, or just sit back and enjoy.

Featuring jazz, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, and more, the 2018 Riverfront Concert Series powerfully demonstrates the appeal and versatility of the grassroots music that arose from city streets, juke joints, mountain hollows, and African American churches across America. At each performance, Starr Center program manager and concert series host Michael Buckley will provide some cultural context, interview the artists, and invite questions from the audience. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM, includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”

The full concert schedule is as follows:

Joe Holt

Thursday, June 28, 2018 – Sombarkin’
The award-winning trio Sombarkin’—Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney—use the skill of vocal instrumentation and harmony to deliver an explosive performance of African American spirituals, map (code) songs, folk, gospel, blues, and jazz. Their polyphonic technique is reminiscent of the old-time camp meetings, yet they also deliver a contemporary soulful sound with surprising jazz licks and blues bends. Theirs is a transforming gospel crafted to impress the ear with the quality of an ensemble greater in number than three. Sombarkin’ will be joined by Joe Holt, the inspirational classical and jazz pianist whose performances reflect the influence of both worlds, and the joy in the moment. Hailing from Kent County, Sombarkin’s versatility has brought them into collaboration with an impressive list of renowned artists from New York’s Broadway and beyond, particularly their acclaimed performance in Red Devil Moon—an original musical based on the 1923 literary classic Cane—at the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 – Ultrafaux, with special guest Danny Knicely
Ultrafaux is an acoustic powerhouse of two guitars and upright bass that has thrilled audiences at festivals and concert halls worldwide since the release of their first CD in 2014. Ultrafaux performs original music inspired by Django Reinhardt, jazz manouche, be-bop, gypsy folk, swing, funk, blues, and French musette. Lead guitarists Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin trade dazzling leads and harmonize together on rich gypsy-inspired melodies. Ultrafaux and Hot Club of Baltimore founding guitarist and composer Michael Joseph Harris was named one of the top 10 artists in Baltimore by Baltimore Style Magazine. The band often includes top guest artists and for their debut performance at this year’s Riverfront Concert Series, Ultrafaux welcomes master mandolinist Danny Knicely. Steeped in a mountain music tradition, Knicely has shared his roots in old-time and bluegrass music throughout four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Tunisia, Morocco, and Russia. Knicely displays his virtuosity performing on mandolin, guitar and violin.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 – The High & Wides
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, they write music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from their 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.

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley at 410-810-7156.Additional concerts sponsored by the Kent County Arts Council take place every other Saturday evening beginning June 10, from 7-8:30 pm at Chestertown’s Fountain Park.

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 washcoll.edu.

6th Annual Art in Bloom Celebrates Floral Design

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2017 People’s Choice award winner, designers Grotsky & McBeth

The public is invited to Art in Bloom, a celebration of the art of floral design on Sunday, June 24th from 4 to 6 pm. The RiverArts Galleries will be full of floral arrangements inspired by the artworks exhibited by RiverArts’ June exhibit, Fine Art & Contemporary craft, a multi- media show of paintings, fiber, ceramics and other 3D artwork.

Some dozen floral designers will interpret the art on the walls. Don’t expect to see all traditional bouquets!  Previous arrangements included roses coming out of a violin, brightly colored pinwheels, feathers and driftwood, and an arrangement incorporating kale.

Sunday, June 24, from 4-6pm all are invited to a champagne reception to view the arrangements and artwork while enjoying music, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and a garden-themed raffle. Tickets for this champagne reception are $25.

Proceeds from “Art in Bloom” go to support scholarship opportunities for the KidSPOT Summer Camp program. In addition to creating art, campers participate in cooperative and art-based games and activities to build camaraderie and art knowledge.

Tickets may be purchased on line at the RiverArts website, www.chestertownriverarts.org, click on Annual Events, or by calling RiverArts at 410-778-6300.  You may also stop by the RiverArts Galleries at 315 High Street, Suite 106. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11-5:30, First Friday, 11-8, Saturday, 10-5:30, Sunday 11 am – 3 pm.

“The Ghost”: Bio of a Spymaster at the Bookplate Friday at 6:00 pm

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Is there a traitor or Russian spy in the White House?

If that question had been asked in the mid-20th Century, the job of answering it would have fallen to James Jesus Angleton, head of counterintelligence for the CIA and one of the most powerful men in America.

On Friday, June 15 at 6 p.m., Jefferson Morley will discuss his new book, THE GHOST: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, at the Bookplate, 112 S. Cross St., Chestertown.

The copy on the book’s dust jacket tells it well.  “CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton was one of the most powerful unelected officials in the United States government in the mid-twentieth century. …From World War II to the Cold War, Angleton operated beyond the view of the public, Congress, and even the president.  He unwittingly shared intelligence secrets with Soviet spy Kim Philby,  member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring. He launched mass surveillance by opening the mail of hundreds of thousands of Americans.  He abetted a scheme to aid Israel’s own nuclear efforts, disregarding U.S. security. He committed perjury and obstructed the FK assassination investigation. He oversaw a massive spying operation on the antiwar and black nationalist movements, and he initiated an obsessive search for Communist moles that nearly destroyed the Agency.

…from his friendship with the poet Ezra Pound through the gay milieu of mid-century Washington to the … Watergate scandal … the agency’s MKULTRA mind-control experiments.  [Angleton acquired] a mythic stature within the CIA that continues to this day.”

The author, Jefferson Morley, has been a reporter for more than 30 years, including 15 with the Washington Post. He is a specialist in intelligence, military and political matters. He also writes for Salon and The Intercept.

Refreshments will be served. Call 410-778-4167 for more information.

The Summer Literary Salon on June 19

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The Rose O’Neill Literary House’s Summer Literary Salon will feature readings by H.G. Carrillo, David MacLean, Lynn Melnick, and the Literary House’s 2018 Cave Canem Fellow, Lauren Russell, as well as music from The Pam Ortiz Band. This free, public event on June 19, starting at 4:30, will be followed by a book signing and light refreshments.

H.G. Carrillo

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Glimmer Train, Ninth Letter, Slice 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.

David Stuart MacLean is a PEN/American award-winning essayist. His essays and stories have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian UK, Newsweek, Ploughshares, GuernicaThe Bennington Review, Quarterly West, and on the radio program, This American Life. He is the author of the memoir The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Books of 2014.

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence and If I Should Say I Have Hope, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she also serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta, 2017)A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she was the 2014-2015 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the 2016 VIDA Fellow to the Home School, and a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in poetry. She is a research assistant professor and is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Pam Ortiz is that rare songwriter who can touch people where they feel deeply, where they laugh and where they cry. She did this for ten years with the group Terra Nova in the ’90s, playing to packed coffee houses in the Baltimore-Washington area. Her songs were showcased in the three albums that the group recorded. She released a fourth album, Rattle Them Chains, in 2012. Since then, she has performed solo, with her five-piece group the Pam Ortiz Band, and also with her husband, percussionist Bob Ortiz. Her signature clear voice, coupled with her turn of phrase and melody, enhance a catalogue of original songs that speak of who we are, what we’ve won and lost, how we love and live. The Pam Ortiz Band also includes Pam’s husband, Bob Ortiz, on percussion and guitar, Ford Schumann on guitar, Nevin Dawson on viola and violin, and Philip Dutton on piano and keyboards.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

Auditions for The Sisters Rosensweig at Church Hill Theatre

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Shelagh Grasso is set to direct the humorous and insightful play The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein at Church Hill Theatre and seeks actors to bring this admired play to life. The show, originally directed by Daniel Sullivan was produced at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City, opened in October 1992; it tells a story about the transformative power of love, of sisterhood, and of life. Performances of the CHT production will be September 7 – 23rd.

The Sisters Rosensweig has excellent roles for men and women, with particular focus on the sisters, pushing against the boundaries of their own lives in order to define themselves.Set in 1991, the richly woven dialogue of the three Jewish-American women not only tackles their personal struggles and triumphs, but also makes real several social and political issues that gave shape to the time. Wasserstein raises questions about the fall of the Soviet Union, Reaganomics, and the plight of the homeless with a deft, human and wit-filled play.

Auditions, on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
Monday, June 26 at 6:00 pm
Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 30 at 10:00 am

Characters break down as follows:

Sara Goode: (female 50-60) An elegant and dignified successful international banker living in London

Tess: (female 17-22) Sara’s daughter. Quite the revolutionary

Pfeni: (female 40-45) A journalist and world traveler

Gorgeous: (female 45-55) A radio “doctor” Overdone and definitely “gorgeous”

Geoffrey: (male 45-50) A theatre director. Attractive, contemporary and bisexual.

Mervyn: (male 60ish) a synthetic furrier and friend of Geoffrey

Nicholas: (male 60ish) Very well groomed, influential and British ( must have formal British accent)

Tom: (male 20-25) Tess’s boyfriend. A rough and ready young revolutionist. Needs a Liverpool accent

Actors are asked to prepare a short monologue that shows your ability to develop a character. There will also be readings done from the script.Contact the Church Hill Theatere at 410-556-6003 or office@churchhilltheatre.org with any questions.

National Music Festival: One Week Left!

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Richard Rosenberg, NMF Artistic Director, conducts a concert during the 2017 National Music Festival.     Photo by Philip Rosenberg.

The National Music Festival, now in its seventh year in Chestertown, is one of the best classical music experiences around. And it’s a bargain! NMF concerts tickets run $10 to $20. You would pay $50, $100, or more for the equivalent quality in D.C., Philadelphia or New York. And some are even free! Most of the rehearsals are free and open to the public. They are very informal. You can come in at any point during the scheduled rehearsal time. Stay for fifteen minutes just to get the flavor or spend an hour and hear professional musicians hone their craft.

Monday, June 11, features The NewBassoon Institute. You can catch the small break-out rehearsals in any of three locations from 3:00-5:00 pm–at Tom Martin’s Bookplate or Chestertown Town Hall, both on Cross Street or at the River Club above the Evergrain Bread Company at the corner of High and Queen (entrance on Queen Street).  Then the three groups will come together for a full rehearsal with all musicians at the Sultana Education on Cross Street from 5:30-6:30. The concert itself starts at 7:30 at the Sultana. All the bassoon rehearsals and the concert are free and open to the public.

Check the open rehearsal schedule online here or the concert schedule here.

The National Music Festival will be Chestertown at various locations through Saturday, June 16, culminating with an all Tchaikovsky concert Saturday evening at 7:30 pm with the  Festival Symphony Orchestra at the  Chestertown Baptist Church.  Tickets are $20.  Richard Rosenberg will conduct.  Also featured will be cello soloist Gwen Krosnick and guest conductor Robert Stiles.

The Fiddlesticks ensemble with local children who took violin lessons provided free-of-charge by the National Music Festival staff during the school year got a chance to show their new skills during the opening concert of the festival held at the First United Methodist Church.      Photo by Philip Rosenberg.

Musicians rehearse for the first concert of the 2018 National Music Festival in Chestertown.     Photo by Philip Rosenberg.

 

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Graphite Drawings and Watercolors by Lee Boulay D’Zmura at Adkins Arboretum

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“Lichen” by Lee D’Zmura

The pure beauty and precision of Lee Boulay D’Zmura’s botanical drawings and watercolors are astonishing. But in her exhibit Wabi Sabi, on view at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center through July 28, this Saint Michaels artist departed from the botanical art tradition of illustrating perfect plant specimens in order to explore the ongoing changes plants experience in their life cycles. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., June 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. in conjunction with a reception for the ninth biennial Outdoor Sculpture Invitational.

Two things happened to inspire this show. D’Zmura found a branch from a box elder tree that had fallen in a storm. Although dying, its crinkled leaves still clung to it, as did its samaras, the winged seedpods often called “helicopters,” so that the branch was both dying and giving life through its seeds.

Shortly afterward, she found herself reading a magazine article about wabi-sabi, the Japanese art aesthetic that recognizes beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. The idea of honoring the ever-changing cycle of growth and decay and the dignity of aging with grace resonated strongly for her.

“I have been on the hunt for the dead and dying ever since,” she said.

Before the advent of photography, scientists relied on botanical illustration to accurately record the distinct characteristics of plant species. Trained as a botanical artist at Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration, D’Zmura has been teaching botanical art classes at the Arboretum since 2006 and has become known for her remarkable skill in accurately reproducing every detail of a plant, from the subtlest colors to the finest webbing of its veins. But in this show, she uses her expertise to capture the fascinating beauty and poignancy of individual plants throughout the stages of their lives, including the death and decay of their blossoms and leaves.

In her graphite drawing of the box elder branch, D’Zmura sketched its clusters of samaras and each elaborately complicated curve of its crinkled leaves with lines finer than a single hair. Likewise, she captured the stages of anemone plants at different times of year, from blossoms through dormancy.

As any gardener knows, decaying plant material is an important nutritional source for other plants. In one of four compelling watercolor studies of bark through the seasons, D’Zmura shows a cluster of fragile, frilly gray-green lichen spreading across a decaying log.

“I came across this while hiking with my daughter and grand dogs,” she said. “I loved the contrasting colors and surfaces of the decaying log and lichen.”

D’Zmura’s extraordinary sensitivity to the myriad kinds of nuanced beauty found in plants is a magnet for looking closer and closer at her work to discover all the extraordinary details she was able to find. Studying her unbelievably fine line work and stunning color range has the quietly exhilarating effect of honing the eye to nature itself. It’s an invitation to see our everyday environment with fresh eyes and deeper understanding.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through July 28 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.