Archives for May 2017

33 Years Strong: Co-Founder Don Buxton Reflects on the Chesapeake Music Festival

For many newcomers to Talbot County it takes a certain adjustment before its flat landscapes and hidden coastlines starts to hint at the remarkable nature of the Eastern Shore life. And that was the case with Don Buxton, the co-founder and Executive Director of Chesapeake Music and its renowned chamber music festival.

A then-recent graduate of Juilliard, who had just started to work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Don found himself driving to Easton to teach music at the fledgling Academy Art Museum when he began to get the message that this region was not only stunning but could genuinely support a diverse music scene.

Add to that a chance encounter with classical music aficionados Eve and Ralph Bloom after a performance at a local church, both of whom had long advocated for a nationally recognized chamber music festival in Talbot County, it wasn’t too long before Don found himself moving to the area and working with the Blooms, their son Lawrie Bloom and Marcy Rosen to launch what would become the Chesapeake Music Festival.

As the festival begins its 33rd season, the Spy caught up with Don to ask about those early days and how pleased he is that the founder’s aspirations have become so much more than they ever dreamed of.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information Chesapeake Music and its work please so here.

Hell No! Resistance Movements and Trump by Al Sikes

The Polish Resistance (post-WWII), Solidarity, took on the Soviet-dominated government of Poland and won. During WWII the French resistance, led by Charles de Gaulle, battled the Vichy government which collaborated with the Nazis. After the war, De Gaulle formed and led France’s Fifth Republic. History is filled with heroic resistance efforts, often movements of life or death.

So now we come to the American resistance movement circa 2017, against all things Trump. I have several thoughts.

President Trump was elected. All who oppose him, left, right and center needs to understand the underlying human dynamics of the 2016 election and demonstrate what they have learned in the 2018 elections. Also, resistance movements feed on suppression; a singular focus and intense loyalty develop as its members seek to avoid being crushed by the secret police. In our hemisphere heroism is now in the streets in Venezuela.

In America, we enjoy a form of institutional resistance to overreach. America has very rocky soil when it comes to sowing the seeds of authoritarianism. The Courts have pushed back against Trump orders. The Congress is tied in knots as Trump is quick to thunder expectations but incapable of making a public case for legislative change—Tweets won’t do it.

As the resistance movement was outlined in a Rolling Stone article, it is entirely too institutional; its agenda is an amalgamation of support group policies, many whose causes helped lead to Trump’s victory. It also includes Evan McMullin who, as a conservative, ran an independent campaign for President. Recently it became even more mainstream as Hillary Clinton announced her intention to help fund it.

In the President’s chosen Party, it is now becoming evident that he, rather than suppressing wayward elements, has freed them. There is now an outspoken moderate movement. The primaries of 2016 made it clear that hard-edged conservative orthodoxy was not what the Republican voters wanted.

On the left, it is hard to believe that somebody to the left of Hillary Clinton could have defeated Trump. Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton’s flaws as a candidate serve a narrative that her loss was not determined by policy. And the Russian intervention serves those who avert their eyes when it comes to unpopular government prescriptions.

One of the great ironies of the 21st Century is that great businesses are being built on an increasingly precise understanding of human behavior, while political parties increasingly wallow in opinions. Amazon, Google, and Facebook, to name the headliners, know how we behave and now sit atop capital markets worldwide. Frighteningly, they have turned knowledge about us into money machines.

Perversely, America has elected its first businessman, and he too wallows in opinions, often ones based on false assumptions. At the Oscars they ask for the “envelope please;” Trump needs to ask for the data.

It is, of course, plausible to conclude that a resistance built on Never-Trump across the ideological spectrum will not harm the country. An oft repeated refrain is that the country is safer when Congress is in recess.

But, we all better hope that the resistance does not so weaken the President that foreign provocations become more likely and that Trump, failing domestically, asserts himself abroad. My advice: take on the President’s policies if you can identify them. All this focus on Trump the personality is a restatement of the obvious.

I would suggest that the Never-Trump movement be unlike the President—discerning.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

Two Innovative Scholarship Programs at WC Get $715,000 Boost

Washington College President Sheila Bair today announced an additional $715,000 that will support two of the school’s most innovative scholarship programs, Dam the Debt and George’s Brigade. The additional funding brings the programs, which President Bair inaugurated two years ago, to $1.25 million and $5.7 million, respectively.

“From the moment I became president of Washington College, affordability and accessibility have stood at the top of my to-do list,” President Bair says. “We could not have achieved all we have already through Dam the Debt and George’s Brigade without the generous and far-sighted support of our donors to these programs, who clearly see that making college more affordable for everyone must be a priority, both for Washington College as a small liberal arts institution, and for higher education as a whole.”

George’s Brigade pays full tuition, room, board, and fees all four years to high-need, high-potential students. Begun with the Class of 2020, the Brigade saw 14 students complete their first year in May, and 20 new students are expected to matriculate with the Class of 2021 this fall. The inaugural year of the program saw an 88 percent retention rate. Under President Bair’s leadership, the College’s overall retention rate for first-to-second-year students increased by four points from the previous year to 86 percent.

Of the $5.7 million accumulated to date for George’s Brigade, $3.7 million is endowed. New donors to George’s Brigade arethe J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, which committed $160,000; the Hearst Foundation, which contributed $100,000; Morgan Stanley, which donated $80,000; T. Rowe Price, which committed $50,000, and the Charlotte and George Riggs Charitable Fund, which contributed $20,000. In addition, President Bair designated $160,000 of presidential discretionary funds to the Brigade to fund two four-year scholarships.

Since its inception in late 2015, George’s Brigade has received support from a variety of sources including H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. ’85, president of the Board of Visitors and Governors, The Hodson Trust, M&T Bank, DLA Piper, Avant, Bank of the West, PNC, Heron Point of Chestertown, Host Hotels Resorts, Ann D. Horner ’80, Nina Houghton P’85, GP ’11, the Grayce B. Kerr Fund, Dr. Robert Kirkwood, M&A Enterprises, Mr. and Mrs. James Miller, Morgan Stanley & Company, T. Rowe Price, Thomson Reuters, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Travieso ’66 ’66,Mr. and Mrs. James Aris P ’17, itBit, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, P. C. Massey III ’58, James Riepe, and Mr. and Mrs. Brian Rogers.

Taking a different tack on cutting college costs, Dam the Debt acts as a back-end scholarship that awards eligible graduating seniors a grant that pays for federally subsidized loans they have taken out for their last semester of college. Since its inception in May 2016, the program has awarded a total of $659,000 to 252 eligible graduating seniors, reducing the students’ overall debt by over 10 percent with an average grant amount of $2,615.

President Bair has designated $145,000 of presidential discretionary funds to Dam the Debt. Previous donors include BB&T, bloooom, inc., TD Bank, Santander Bank, Avant, John and Peggy Bacon, and Philip and Joan Riggin.

In addition to these two programs, the College has launched FixedFor4, which will fix tuition for four years for incoming freshmen, beginning with this fall’s incoming Class of 2021. Last year, the College also announced the Saver’s Scholarship, which matches the amount that families contribute from a 529 college savings plan or an Educational Savings Account, up to $2,500 per year, to pay for their student’s tuition. Learn more at

In addition to these new programs, Washington College annually provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90 percent of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.

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

AAM Hosts Lecture on Hollyday and Wise Photographic Collections

Larry Denton

On Friday, June 2 at 6 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Larry Denton, President of the Talbot Historical Society, will give an illustrated lecture featuring a number of the historic photos of the collections of H. Robins Hollyday and Laird Wise. The featured photos will include early aerial photographs of the county, the first phone booth in Easton, the Original Floating Theatre at Easton Point, a Pennsylvania Railroad Engine running through downtown Easton, and many more.

The Talbot Historical Society is home to a world-class photograph collection centered on the collections of H. Robins Hollyday and Laird Wise, with some 60,000 negatives. The negatives are being scanned using a software program to digitize the photograph. Once digitized, the photos can be used by researchers, in society exhibits, and even enlarged and sold.

Denton, a former dean of undergraduate admissions at Johns Hopkins University, is a Civil War historian who has lectured widely throughout the mid-Atlantic. He has authored three books, “A Southern Star for Maryland, Maryland and the Secession Crisis (Publishing Concepts, 1995)”; “William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis, The Effort to Prevent Civil War (McFarland & Company, 2009)”; and “Unionists in Virginia, Politics, Secession and Their Plan to Prevent Civil War (The History Press, 2014).”

The cost of the lecture is $20 for Museum members and $24 for non-members. For further information or to register for the lecture, contact the Academy Art Museum at 410-822-2787 or visit

Chamber Music Kicks Off Extraordinary Two-Week Festival On June 4

Festival-goers will experience the extraordinary as they travel the world through classical music at Chesapeake Music’s Annual Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, which will be held from June 4 through June 18, 2017.  Artistic Directors Marcy Rosen and J. Lawrie Bloom have developed an exciting program featuring 10 concerts over two music-filled weeks, including the premiere of a Primosch Quintet commissioned for Chesapeake Music.

The Festival includes acclaimed musicians from the world stage, renowned musical ensembles, and a range of familiar classics—Beethoven, Mozart, Gershwin, Ravel, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and more from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Latin America, France and the United States.  Each concert represents composers from a different country.  Several concerts will include receptions with food and beverage pairings echoing the music of that country. 

Kim Kashkashian, an internationally-recognized voice on viola who will perform at the “Mozart by the Sea” concert at the Tred Avon Yacht Club (left) and Violinist Tessa Lark who will appear at the “Mozart by the Sea” and Christ Church USA concerts (right).

The opening concert at the Avalon Theatre will whet Festival-goers appetites for what’s to come with a potpourri of music from around the world and a pre-concert reception where guests can mix and mingle with old friends.  Jonathan Palevsky of WBJC will provide live concert commentary that night to kick off the Festival. On Friday evening at Christ Church, Easton, concert-goers will be treated to music from the United States, including the magic of Gershwin’s Lullaby for string quartet and Barber’s Adagio for string quartet. Thanks to the generosity of Arnold and Zena Lerman, this concert will also feature the premiere of a Primosch Quintet for oboe, violin, viola, cello and piano, commissioned for Chesapeake Music and performed by Peggy Pearson, Diane Walsh, Catherine Cho and others.  In addition to “Mozart by the Sea” at the Tred Avon Yacht Club, during the first week, concert-goers can also travel to Trinity Cathedral to enjoy Germany’s Beethoven and Brahms.

Sponsors of this year’s Festival include the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, The Star Democrat, Talbot Spy, and What’s Up Media. Additional generous financial support from corporate, public and private benefactors enables Chesapeake Music to offer affordable tickets for Festival concerts and recitals; open rehearsals are free to the general public. 

This year’s concerts offer the opportunity to travel the world through an incredible variety of music with internationally-acclaimed artists right here on the Eastern Shore.  To purchase tickets, visit or call 410 819-0380.

Model Skipjack Races Begin June 11 in St. Michaels

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum guests are invited to watch model skipjack races beginning Sunday, June 11, 2017with the race series continuing on select Sundays through October.

The radio-controlled (RC) sailing races are organized by CBMM’s Model Sailing Club, which meets regularly throughout the year to build and race these models. Other race dates include July 16, August 20, September 17, and October 15, with the public invited to watch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from CBMM’s Fogg’s Cove waterfront. The course will be available after the races for guests to bring and race their own RC boats. All races are dependent on marine conditions.

Built in the early 20th century, the sail-powered skipjack was once a cost effective working boat used by watermen for oyster dredging. Today, only a few remain on the Chesapeake Bay, including CBMM’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. CBMM’s Model Sailing Club races RC models of these two-sailed bateaux, which at full size can vary from 38 to 48 feet in length. The 48-inch skipjack models are built from scratch from plans sold by the club at the Museum Store.

Started in 1983 as the Saint Michaels Model Boat Club, CBMM’s Model Sailing Club and Maritime Model Guild continue today through its many members and volunteers. To learn more about the races, or to join the club, visit, or contact Commodore Gary Nylander at Photos of previous model skipjack races are at

The 2017 Hal Israel Memorial Lecture with Guest Speaker Ira Forman

Temple B’nai Israel, The Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore, presents The 2017 Hal Israel Memorial Lecture on June 14, 2017, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, at 101 West Earle Avenue, Easton. The guest speaker is Ira Forman, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, U.S. Department of State.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism advances U.S. foreign policy on anti-Semitism. The position was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) produces the State Department’s annual reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom, and the Special Envoy provides input on anti-Semitism for these reports.

Ira N. Foreman was sworn in as special envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism May 20, 2013. Most recently Mr. Forman served as the Jewish Outreach Director for the Obama for America campaign. He served for nearly 15 years as the Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council and spent four years with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee where he worked as Political Director and Legislative Liaison.

Throughout his career he has spoken and written extensively on Jewish history and public policy. Mr. Forman co-edited and wrote for the reference book, Jews In American Politics; writing articles on these topics for the Encyclopedia Judaica. He also staffed and helped edit the volume, Democrats and the American Idea in his role as a Fellow in American Politics and the Economy at the Center for National Policy. Mr. Forman received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

RSVP to Nancy (410-822-0553) by June 9, 2017.

Winner of the First Annual Suellen G. Gargalli Junior Sailing Scholarship

Max Hetherington-Young of the Miles River Yacht Club is the winner of the first Annual Suellen G. Gargalli Junior Sailing Scholarship from the MRYC Foundation! Max grew up in a three-generation family of Snipe sailors competing in events all over the East Coast. Just 4 years ago, Max joined the Miles River Yacht Club Junior Sail Program where he excelled as an Optimist racer. Besides racing Optis around the Bay, Max also competed in numerous Snipe regattas including the 2016 US Junior Nationals where he came in 2nd with his friend, Christian.

Congratulations to Max! He exemplifies the character and seamanship that the Suellen G. Gargalli Junior Sailing Scholarship hopes to encourage – An excellent racer and a great team member.

The Suellen G. Gargalli Junior Sailing Scholarship is an endowed scholarship awarded each year to the sailor or sailors who best represent their Eastern Shore Club in racing on the Chesapeake Bay. The MRYC Foundation is proud to support Junior Sailing and The Suellen G. Gargalli Junior Sailing Scholarship!

For more information on this or other scholarships, or how to support
the Foundation, visit:

The MRYC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) established in 2010 to promote and support youth-oriented competitive sailing and swimming and maritime-focused educational activities.

Police Chief Anthony Smith at St. Michael Library

Police Chief Anthony Smith of the St. Michaels Police Department will be speaking at the St. Michaels Library on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm. Here is your chance to learn how police officers do their job. Learn the kinds of equipment they use and their strategies for being proactive. You can view a display of the kinds of equipment that is used and have the opportunity to ask questions about current methods of policing. For more information call (410) 745-5877.

Gunston Crew Completes Season with Milestone at National Championships

The Gunston School’s Rowing team completed their spring season with invitations to the Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s National Championship Regatta in Cherry Hill, NJ. Competing against the top rowing programs in the country, Gunston was represented in the Boy’s and Girl’s Varsity 4+ categories.

Gunston’s Boy’s Varsity 4+ reached a milestone this year by breaking out of the first round of racing for the first time in this event in program history. Later in the day the crew went on to compete in the Repechage (second chance race) and placed 6th.

“The boys’ performance in their heat was exactly how we had practiced their race plan over the last few weeks. Thanks to their sprint they were able to edge themselves into 3rd place and avoid elimination from the regatta. They eventually reached elimination in the repechage but they were very happy with the way they rowed and left everything they had on the race course,” said Head Coach Nicole Stimpson.

Representing Gunston in the Boy’s Varsity 4+ were Coxswain Lauren Covell ‘17 (Annapolis, MD), Stroke Ben Jones ‘17 (Chestertown, MD), 3 Seat Ethan Boone ‘17 (Centreville, MD), 2 Seat Alex Papadopoulos ‘18 (Townsend, DE), and Bow Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 (Centreville, MD).

Gunston’s Girl’s 4+ placed 6th in their heat eliminating them from the regatta. “With a freshman coxswain, 2 sophomores, and 2 seniors the underclassmen in this crew were able to gain valuable race experience at this regatta,” said Stimpson. “After racing at nationals these younger athletes will be able to pass on their experiences and motivate their teammates this coming fall.”

Representing Gunston in the Girl’s Varsity 4+ were Coxswain Isabella Santoboni ‘20 (Annapolis, MD), Stroke Olivia Sherman ‘17 (Middletown, DE), 3 Seat Elena Sherman ‘19 (Middletown, DE), 2 Seat Katie Easter ‘19 (Grasonville, MD), Bow Maddy Romberger ‘17 (Sudlersville, MD).