At the Academy: Brad Ross and the Art of Teaching Art

Since 2016, Brad Ross has been offering painting and drawing classes at the Academy Art Museum, in Easton, MD. Learning the classical approach to drawing and painting through his studies greatly influenced what he paints today. While at Maryland Institute, where he completed a BFA in 1991, he studied portrait drawing with Abby Sangiamo and figure drawing with Peter Collier. Between 1994 and 1995 he took evening and summer classes at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore. There he experienced a classical approach to drawing and painting and a taste of the way all artists learned their craft prior to the twentieth century.  The Schuler School is also where he had some of his first experiences painting outdoors with noted watercolorist Fritz Briggs.

Ross states, “Drawing from plaster casts was the most important classical training I had and the concepts learned from them influence everything I do. . .  Most of my fine art training at Maryland Institute College of Art and Montgomery College was modern in philosophy, so my later exposure to the classical approach at the Schuler School broadened, refined and grounded the modern approach from those schools.”

Over the years, Ross has gained priceless drawing and painting knowledge by taking workshops with great artists like Carolyn Anderson, Tim Bell, George Strickland, Abigail McBride and Teresa Oaxaca. From 1995 to the early two-thousands, his professional work focused on still life painting in the classical tradition, maintaining a relationship with La Petite Gallery in Annapolis, MD and Renjeau Gallery in Natick, MA.

He adds, “Throughout this time, plein air painting, portrait and figure drawing remained avenues for skill-building and personal enjoyment.”

In 2012 he registered for his first quick draw competition at Plein Air Easton and has participated in several local plein air events since then, winning prizes in Chestertown’s quick draws three times, and being awarded Best in Show and Artist Choice Awards at Paint Berlin, MD, in 2018.  This year, he was juried into the 15th Plein Air Easton competition and will be competing in that premier event, as well as several others in 2019.

Ross comments about his plein air painting, “For most of my life I’ve been a very hesitant painter, taking a long time to finish work.  Plein air painting is a great antidote for that. Light changes frustratingly fast and forces you to identify important elements quickly and make decisions, then keep that concept in mind as conditions change.”

He adds, “Plein air was important in dispelling the misconception that an artist is recording or copying a scene.  In order to get faster you have to think on an abstract, conceptual level. This has strengthened my painting in general.”   

This spring, Ross is teaching a few classes at the Academy Art Museum, including “Drawing the Human Figure” on Wednesdays, May 1–29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a Two-Day Workshop: “Oil Painting: Color Crash Course” on June 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Ross says about his portraiture classes, “Getting a likeness is pretty essential to portraiture and because of that it’s more demanding than other genres.  I love the challenge of conveying a personality in a drawing or painting and I love helping people tackle that challenge.”

For further information about classes taught by Bradford Ross at the Academy Art Museum, call 410-822-2787 or visit academyartmuseum.org.

Senior Nation: Ellen Walbridge Turns 100

: Pictured is the Walbridge family. In the photo seated left to right: Ellen with daughter Lois Schall. Standing left to right son Gene Walbridge, daughter Carol Goss, her husband Jeffrey Goss, daughter Barbara McCann, and her husband Larry McCann

Ellen Walbridge of Easton turned 100 at The Dixon House on February 26, 2019. On her birthday she stated, “I never dreamed I would be 100! It is a blessing to celebrate it.” Ellen had several celebrations: a celebration at her church, the Church of the Brethren, the Dixon House Celebration, and dinner with family. She added, “Dixon House has kept me active. I walk around the block every morning with my son which gets things going for me.”

 

Ellen Walbridge with Director Linda Elben as she blows out the candles of her cake at her 100th Birthday Celebration at Dixon House

Ellen was born in West Virginia but had ties to the Eastern Shore. At age 15, she came to work at Fike Orchard in Skipton at the suggestion of her brother who knew the Fikes through church. While living here, she met Alvin Walbridge at a church social and the rest is history. Over the years, she supported her husband who started Walbridge Bros. with two of his brothers. Family is very important to her. She and her husband had five children, one boy, and four girls. She now has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Walbridge moved to The Dixon House in 2017 after living independently. When asked about the reason for longevity, she states that her brother lived until age 96 and she never drank or smoked. She was active in 4-H, loved to garden (she tends the flowers at The Dixon House), and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She also loves to bake, helping with the baking activities at The Dixon House, and lemon meringue pie is her specialty.

 

At her celebration at The Dixon House, Ellen received salutations from Governor Hogan and from the Eastern Shore Delegates. Pastor Joe Glass played her favorite hymns on the accordion. Mayor Robert Willey gave her a free parking card for the town of Easton. Sheriff Joe Gamble gave her a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, which gave her a laugh. She stated, “I will try and be good!”

The mission of The Dixon House is to provide high quality and affordable residential care to seniors in an enriching home-like environment. For further information, contact Linda Elben, Executive Director at 410-822-6661 or visit dixonhouse.org.

Talbot County Prepares for Winter Snow Storms

We haven’t gotten hit yet with a big snow storm, but Talbot County Roads Department is ready with material in the Salt Barn for when it happens. Talbot County has over 374 miles of roads which need to be cared for throughout the year. This includes programmed and routine maintenance, paving, ditching, tree removal, and culvert replacements. But it is winter, that is especially a busy time when the county’s 24 employees cover 13 snow routes, pre-treating, salting, sanding, and removing snow until the event is over and all the roads are clear.

Caption: The 24 employees of the Talbot County Roads Department are ready to care for over 374 miles of roads when Talbot County gets its first major snow storm of the season. Pictured front row, left to right, are: Matthew Dunn, Efrem Murray, Kevin Wilson, Milton Cornish, Ray Kinsey, Michael Potter, Warren Edwards, Superintendent for Talbot County Roads Department, Dwight Warrick, Brandon Brewer, and Autumn Finch. Pictured back row, left to right, are: Taylor Lowery, Michael Steenken, Dean Samuel, Arthur Kellum, John Bechtel, Ben Cannon, Michael Dulin, Tim Holland, John Asche, John McNair, and Jerry Butler. Absent from the photo are employees Lois MacDonald, Office Manager, Richard Harmon, and Michael Carroll.

According to Warren Edwards, Superintendent for Talbot County Roads Department, “My biggest advice when bad weather hits, is to be patient, don’t tailgate our equipment, and try and stay off the roads if you possibly can, so we can get the roads cleared.”

Edwards, who has over 38 years of experience with road construction, has been with the county for four years. Each of the county’s 13 routes has at least one truck, and sometimes two to three trucks depending on the route. Talbot County Roads Department has 14 trucks and has hired three additional trucks with plows and salt spreaders to meet the needs of the county snow removal. Private contractors are hired for designated routes based on need.

He adds, “With snow storms, Talbot County offers assistance to all municipalities in the county, as they do us, as well as to the State Highway Administration.”

But it’s the dedication of the county’s 24 employees that often goes unnoticed. More than half of the staff of the Roads Department have over 20 years of experience. For a storm which puts down three inches of snow, it can take eight to 10 hours to complete the snow removal and 12 inches of snow can take up to 30 hours to remove.

Edwards comments, “Our employees are experienced, diligent and seasoned employees. They know their jobs and they do them well. We work straight through these storms, staying in radio contact with drivers every four hours to be sure everything is alright on the routes. They work until the event is over.”

The Roads Department is in contact with Talbot County Operations Center throughout weather events to clear roads for ambulances and fire equipment. The agency also reaches out to each of the towns in the county to offer help. In the case of a whiteout, snow removal trucks are stationed at the local fire departments throughout the county to work with them in opening roads in the case of emergencies.

“The roads are a necessity that people tend to forget,” Edwards adds.

Edwards points out that customer service is the most important thing in his business. He points to more and more weather seasons where there are drainage issues affecting the roads and where infrastructures are failing. Talbot County Roads Department employees are on call from 3 hours to 35 hours a week all years long handling the effects of wind, hurricanes, storms and culvert failures throughout the county.

Talbot County Roads Department gets between 110 and 160 road complaints a month, in addition to routine maintenance issues. Every complaint is logged into a card system so that the department can address all citizen concerns. Edwards comments, “We have to prioritize the complaints based on the need, but we want citizens to report their concerns so that we can get ahead of issues that do occur.”

The number to call at the Talbot County Roads Department for concerns is 410-770-8150.

 

Senior Nation: The Dixon House 99ers by Amy Blades Steward

When you meet Ellen Walbridge and Helen Crow, residents of Dixon House in Easton, you won’t suspect that they are both 99 years old. Both women are vibrant and enjoy recalling their full and rich lives. This is the case for several residents at The Dixon House in Easton.

According to Linda Elben, Executive Director, “We are seeing more and more residents coming to us later in their lives, in their 90s, still very active and living quality lives. Most just need to simplify their living and have less responsibilities.”

She adds, “These two women are remarkable. They join a number of our residents who are centenarians or who approaching 100 years of age. It is a testament to them living active lives surrounded by family and friends.”

Ellen Walbridge, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in February 2019.

Ellen Walbridge, born in West Virginia, had ties to the Eastern Shore. At age 15, she followed her brother, who came to work at Fike Orchard in Skipton. While living here, she met Alvin Walbridge at a church social and the rest is history. Over the years, she supported her husband who started Walbridge Builders. Family is very important to her. She and her husband had five children, one boy and four girls. She now has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Walbridge moved to The Dixon House in 2017 after living independently. When asked about the reason for longevity, she states that her brother lived until age 96 and she never drank or smoked. She was active in 4-H, loved to garden (she tends the flowers at The Dixon House), and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She also loves to bake, helping with the baking activities at The Dixon House, and lemon meringue pie is her specialty. She comments, “I don’t feel real young, but I don’t feel 99.” She will turn 100 in February 2019.

Helen Crow, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in April 20.

Born in rural Ohio, Helen Crow was always physically active. Her father, a builder, was also a physically active person. Helen recalls doing handstands and headstands when she was young. Today, she doesn’t miss an exercise class at The Dixon House. She and her husband, Elmer, nicknamed “Amo” married after Amo served in the Army’s 17th Airborne Division as a paratrooper during World War II. The two had three children, and today she has three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Amo had a career as a master craftsman, training many young men who entered the flooring trade, while Helen did office work for a law firm, then a refinery.

Both Helen and Amo participated in an activities group for art in Cincinnati, where Helen enjoyed oils and watercolors and Amo enjoyed stained glass, caning, and pottery. The two also enjoyed music, attending Cincinnati Symphony concerts for 40 years. The couple retired to Florida and then to Easton, where their son, Roger and daughter-in-law Heather live. The two then came to live at The Dixon House in 2014. Crow comments, “Easton is a nice town. We were amazed at the quality of friends we have made at Dixon House.” She adds, “I have had a good life.”

The mission of The Dixon House is to provide high quality and affordable residential care to seniors in an enriching home-like environment. For further information, contact Linda Elben, Executive Director at 410-822-6661 or visit dixonhouse.org.

Senior Nation: Dixon House’s Hazel Newnam Celebrates 100 Years

Pictured back row, left to right: Granddaughter Sheila Herbert, Sheriff Joe Gamble, Mayor Robert Willey, Senator Addie Eckardt, Delegate Chris Adams, Delegate Johnny Mautz, grandson Cooper Towers, and Wendy Towers. Pictured front row, left to right: Granddaughter Courtney Springer, daughter Debbie Kudner holding great-granddaughter Elisabeth Claggett, Hazel Newnam holding great-grandson Gabriel Claggett, grandson Bo Claggett holding great-granddaughter Francesca Claggett. Absent from the photo is great-grandson Cruz Springer.

She credits her long, healthy life to a good attitude, good friends and her Christian faith. Hazel Newnam, age 100, a resident at Dixon House for the last three years, embraces life. Fiercely independent, Hazel managed to live alone until coming to Dixon House. She had visited a friend at Dixon House for years and when it came time to make the transition to assisted living herself, Dixon House seemed like the logical next step. She recently gathered with family, friends and dignitaries to celebrate her 100th birthday. Newnam was honored with proclamations from Governor Hogan, the Maryland Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates, the County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Easton, and even a letter from President Donald Trump. Music was provided by Cabaret-style singer Daryl Grant Lindsay.

She commented at the event, “It was so wonderful to celebrate with family. I think it’s wonderful they all remembered me.”

Newnam was born on August 2, 1918. A native of Clairton, PA, she met William “Bill” Newnam while he was working construction in Pennsylvania and after he had graduated from the Pittsburgh Aeronautical Institute. The two were married in 1940 and then Bill became a Marine and flew Corsairs in Japan as part of the U.S. peacekeeping efforts during World War II. The couple lived in Oxford in the late 1940s after the war ended. Bill brought a Corsair back to Talbot County to sell war bonds. Soon after, he purchased Maryland Airlines, a private charter business, where he continued his love of flying.

Bill imparted his love of flying to Hazel by teaching her how to fly when she was in her 50s. She comments, “The opportunity was there and I took it. I felt like I was doing something special and I enjoyed the whole experience. Knowing I could fly gave me confidence and Bill was really proud of me.”

The couple ran Maryland Airlines until the 1990s and during this time Bill also managed Easton’s Airport. They had two daughters, Suzanne Towers (now deceased) and Debbie Kudner. Today Hazel has four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

After her husband died in May 1991, the Airport name was changed to Easton Airport/Newnam Field, in memory of Hazel’s husband, Bill.

She states, “I tried to live the right kind of life. I stayed active with the Oxford Methodist Church, sang in the choir, lead the MYF, and served as a member of the WSCS. I also served a number of years as a volunteer for the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.”

Hazel’s daughter, Debbie Kudner, recalls, “Mother was totally independent and had lots of friends. She used to load up the Cadillac, which I called the ‘Gospel Bus,’ and take trips up and down the East Coast with her church friends.”

Today, Hazel’s days are a little quieter, but she still enjoys getting out. The recent celebration at Dixon House was a testimony to her love of a good time.

Spy Food: Brightwell’s Brendan Keegan Moves to Mason’s

The changes at Mason’s will get even better now Brendan Keegan has recently joined as Executive Chef. Keegan was most recently Co-Owner and Executive Chef at Brasserie Brightwell in Easton and was also Co-Owner and Executive Chef at 208 Talbot. Prior to coming to the Eastern Shore, he worked in some of the best restaurants on the East Coast, including Prune Restaurant in New York, NY and Kinkead’s American Brasserie in Washington, DC. He was trained at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD.

Brendan Keegan

Owner Chance Negri comments, “Brendan’s innovative and progressive cooking style coupled with honoring Eastern Shore food traditions will align with the vision for Mason’s of serving Modern American Cuisine.”

Mason’s Redux is so expanding its food offerings this summer with foods you know and love, reimagined with bold and distinctive flavors.

Chance comments, “People made suggestions and we listened. The response has been overwhelmingly positive to the changes we have made.”

Its expanded lunch menu now includes favorites like the Rachel Sandwich made with all-natural roasted turkey, Boursin cheese and homemade collard slaw, which rounds out its zesty flavor. Crab bisque with a pinch of old bay and touch of sherry, a salmon burger, braised roast beef cheese melt, Niçoise and Chef Salads are just a few of the other highly popular new offerings on Mason’s lunch menu. Mason’s Lamb Burger with homemade Tzatziki Sauce remains one of the restaurants best sellers. Sandwiches are now served with the popular Terra Chips and the dessert menu has added homemade ice cream from Nice Farms Creamery in Federalsburg for the summer season. Bob Miller and his family say, “We make ice cream the old-fashioned way, on their farm, ‘from cow to cup’ – rich and creamy, no preservatives, just pure delicious flavor.”

For dinner, Mason’s is offering a steak feature with different cuts of beef changing weekly, such as hangar steak, rib eye, tenderloin, and New York strip. Look for savory sauces such as watercress mayonnaise, horseradish, port and mushroom, roasted red pepper, or salsa verde to accompany the steak.

Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes omelets/eggs served with sautéed fingerling potatoes, Strata, Mason’s legendary Cinnamon French Toast and Buttermilk Silver Dollar Pancakes with Grade A cardamom maple syrup. Savory additions to the brunch menu include Shaved Country Ham, salads and sandwiches, as well as the Lamb Burger. Libations include house made Blood Mary’s, White Peach Bellini’s, and Mimosas.

The bar menu has also been expanded to include mezze platters and small plates made for sharing, including lamb meatballs w/eggplant sauce, grilled shrimp w/chermoula sauce and a cheese course, as well as larger fare if patrons want a late lunch or light dinner. The wine list is diverse, and the bar is now offering Lyons Distillery Rum, a local favorite.

Pictured left to right are Chance Negri, Owner of Mason’s Redux 2017, with Zach Ray, Mason’s Manager, in front of the restaurant’s new signage.

Seasonal offerings, sourcing foods from local farmers and purveyors when possible, makes Mason’s dining experience even more memorable. Local tomatoes, corn, and berries will highlight the summer offerings.

Mason’s hosts private and corporate events and rehearsal dinners in its private rooms upstairs or in the garden.

Chance adds, “The old Mason’s was well-respected and well-known in the community with a loyal following. We have brought our own creative culinary twist to Mason’s and the response has been very positive.”

He adds, “I want to surprise people in a culinary way and provide a memorable dining experience, not just have the same old thing. I like to say, come to expect the unexpected and it’s good . . . very good!”

 

Mason’s is open for lunch from 11:30 to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The bar menu is offered between 3 and 6:30 p.m. daily. Dinner is offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Captions:

Senior Nation: Talbot Senior Summit Draws Record Crowd

Talbot Community Connections (TCC) and the Talbot County Department of Social Services recently held their third annual Talbot Senior Summit. This day-long program for seniors, children of seniors, caregivers, professionals and concerned citizens provided presentations and discussions on the issues that seniors face today.  Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Mental Health Advocate Lynn Sanchez provided the remarks to open the day.

Pictured is Mental Health Advocate and keynote speaker Lynn Sanchez

In Sanchez’s keynote remarks, “Wine Isn’t the Only Thing That Improves with Age,” she said, “It’s the age of our spirit that matters as we age.” Sanchez went on to present three things she attributed to finding happiness and contentment with aging. She said we need something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to every day. By incorporating humor, Sanchez encouraged participants to keep wondering and to trust the journey.

Pictured are Summit attendees participating in the workshop, “Rising Strength: Self Defense,” conducted by Rachel Layer and Matt and Kathy Herron.

Over 200 participants listened to speakers on such topics as “Manage and Reduce Stress: Organize, Downsize, De-Clutter;” “How to Protect Yourself Against Insurance Fraud;” “Transitions: How Will  We Flourish in Midlife and Beyond;” “Rising Strength: Self Defense;” “Helping Seniors Navigate Our High-Tech World;” “Senior Fitness: Finding the Athlete Within;” “Yoga: Aging Positively;” and “The Importance of ‘Social Capital’ for Seniors.” A special Virtual Dementia Tour conducted by Christina Wingate-Spence from Bright Star was especially popular.

Pictured are staff of Avon Dixon Insurance Agency, one of the near 50 vendors at this year’s Talbot Senior Summit.

Participants were able to visit informational tables of almost 50 vendors with services and resources for seniors.  A healthy lunch was provided by Sprout.

Platinum sponsors for this year’s Senior Summit were the Star Democrat, Talbot County Department of Social Services, and Talbot County Government. Gold sponsors were the Talbot County Health Department, the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Maryland.

Photos by Calvin Jackson Photography

Pastor Missy Rekitzke Leaves Legacy at St. Mark’s by Amy Blades Steward

Pastor Missy Rekitzke of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church has left a legacy at every church she has served since joining the ministry 10 years ago. She was the first female lead pastor at each of the five churches for which she has served. Prior to serving as pastor at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Easton for the past five years, she served at Hope United Methodist Church in Dover, DE, and then for the Three Point Sudlersville Charge in Queen Anne’s County, MD, which included Calvary-Asbury United Methodist Church, Marvin Memorial United Methodist Church, and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. In July, Pastor Rekitzke will carry on this legacy as she joins her new appointment at Salem United Methodist Church in Selbyville, DE, as its first female lead pastor.

Pastor Missy Rekitzke

“I have learned so much with this range of churches – from their styles of leadership to the different ways churches do ministry,” Pastor Rekitzke comments. She adds, “As a pastor, you need to adapt your gifts to those needs.”

When she talks about her time at St. Mark’s, she points to several things which have stood out to her. She states, “There is strong leadership in the church with people who take ministry and the roles they serve seriously. It has also been a very welcoming congregation.”

Pastor Rekitzke, who originally was born in Chicago, relocated to Delaware when her husband Phil got a promotion with Preston Trucking Company. She got interested in ministry by serving in youth ministry and worship at Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Seaford, DE where they lived. She then completed her Master’s in Divinity degree at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in 2010.

She credits Pastor Gary Moore, who was District Superintendent at the time, with her decision to take the position at St. Mark’s. She comments, “He knew me well enough to know I would be a good fit. The church has loved our whole family, including our daughter Claire who moved to Easton with us.”

The Rekitzkes have two children, daughter Claire, and son Philip and his wife Erin, and two grandchildren who will be moving to Idaho in the next month. Pastor Rekitzke’s daughter Claire went on The World Race, an 11-country, 11-month mission trip to share the love of Jesus and serve others around the world. Members of St. Mark’s took an interest in her trip, supporting her and praying for her safety and return.

She credits St. Mark’s strategic planning commitment for creating a clear vision for the church and developing its pillars of ministry which have helped guide the church’s actions during her tenure. She states, “It gave us good direction, including our slogan, ‘Big Steeple, Friendly People.’ As a big church, it can look intimidating, but we are anything but that. We are continuing to be a beacon in this community.”

She points to St. Mark’s active Missions Committee, which connects with so many nonprofit agencies in the community, as working to help its mission partners meet the community’s needs. She adds, “A church can’t be everything to everyone. St. Mark’s has come to be a place of knowing its identity but wanting to grow its ministries. People need to be clothed, fed, and comforted. We work together to bring healing and wholeness to people. The church as always opened its doors to such groups as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, alongside groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4H.”

Another active committee during her time at St. Mark’s has been the Outreach and Connection Committee, which recently purchased a bus for the church to transport shut in members and expand its ministries. Her husband, Phil, was instrumental in this effort. She adds, “I could never do as much as I do without his support. He finds his niche in a church where we won’t overlap and then he works really hard. He gets to know people in the church and connects people to various ministries– that is his gift.”

Pastor Rekitzke reflects on her time at St. Mark’s, pointing to the church’s support of the Department of Social Services “Open Table” program; growing its Confirmation classes and Vacation Bible Camp; expanding the congregation’s involvement in the Emmaus Community; creating new community outreach events around the holidays; and hiring new Christian Education and Worship and Music Directors. She states, “We have a good team which is ready for the church’s next steps.”

On July 1, Reverend Ed Kuhling from Grace United Methodist Church in Millsboro, DE will replace Pastor Rekitzke at St. Mark’s.

She concludes, “St. Mark’s will hold a very special place in my heart for the rest of my life. I want to thank the community for loving me for who I am and for allowing me to love them.”

 

2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival Brings Some Surprises

This year’s 2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival promises to deliver on its promise of an extremely varied program, appealing to the tastes of a wide range of audiences. One of this year’s special offerings will be a crossover concert, paring classical violin with bluegrass music. Marcy Rosen, who is the Festival’s Artistic Director with J. Lawrie Bloom, comments, “Playing bluegrass music on a Stradivarius should be something to see! It is our first time to do this crossover type music at the Festival. We thought it would be fun and a little different.”

Tessa Lark, a violinist from Kentucky who will be playing at this year’s Festival, also plays bluegrass music for fun. She has been playing for years with her family in a family band. Her father, Bob Frederick, who plays the banjo, is coming this year to with her in the Festival’s “Stradgrass!” concert – classical music with a bluegrass twist. Lark’s partner Michael Thurber, a bass player in the house band for Steven Colbert and a musician very adept at contemporary music, will also perform in the concert.

is Marcy Rosen, Artistic Director for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.

Rosen adds, “I invite partners and family members to come so that they can spend time together at the Festival. What is satisfying is that no one ever says they don’t want to come. It’s our wonderful time together as artists. We love making music and we love hanging out. I go away exhausted but happy I have been here. It’s the only time so many of us are in the same place at the same time.”

Highlights of the first week of this year’s Festival include two concerts on June 5 and June 7 which feature woodwinds. The June 5 concert combines woodwinds and strings in unusual combinations. The June 7 concert focuses on a woodwind quintet, which features a French horn, flute, bassoon, oboe and clarinet. The concert of Friday, June 8 will feature world-renowned flutist Tara Helen O’Connor in the first half and accomplished pianist Robert McDonald with strings in the second half. On Saturday, June 9, the Schubert Octet in F Major will feature both strings and winds.

Artistic Director J. Lawrie Bloom states, “When selecting the music and musicians who will play at the Festival, we are often faced with the decision of whether the music is selected first or the musicians are selected first. It’s a little of both. The availability of the musicians can dictate the music. The first thing we do usually is to determine musician availability. That is also what makes the Festival work – the combination of players.”

Marcy Rosen, Artistic Director for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival

Both Rosen and Bloom also ask the musicians what they would like to do, giving artists free range for input into the pieces they have selected. Bloom adds, “In inviting flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and bassoonist Adrian Morejon, we realized we had woodwind quintets which would be an incredible resource to the repertoire for this year’s Festival. From individual concerts, we have been able to develop themes for each year’s Festival.”

Bloom states, “Over the years, we consistently have presented music we feel is worthy of presenting. We prepare for it and we present it well. Musicians have the music way ahead of time to practice as these are extremely busy and accomplished artists.”

In recent years, musicians have educated audiences more on the pieces they are playing before they play. Bloom adds, “It has been gratifying that people have been receptive to this approach.”
Highlights of week two of this year’s Festival include Soprano Kendra Colton, who will perform at the Handel and Bach concert. She most recently recorded with Festival oboist Peggy Pearson. On June 13, the Mozart Sandwich concert will feature pianist Diane Walsh. Rosen comments, “The substance of this program is so flavorful with Strauss and Mahler sandwiched with Mozart. It will be an exciting concert.”

On June 15, The Merz Trio, winner of the recent 2018 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, will return to Easton to perform in a Celebration of Youth concert at the Avalon Theatre, which will also feature the music of Franz Schubert.

Rosen concludes, “You don’t want to miss one concert of this year’s Festival as each program will give you a different experience – there is something for everyone this year!”

Sponsors of this year’s Festival include the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. 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. For additional information, visit www.ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410 819-0380. Experience the Extraordinary at Chesapeake Music’s 2018 Chamber Music Festival.

Captions:
#1: Pictured is Marcy Rosen, Artistic Director for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.
#2: Pictured is J. Lawrie Bloom, Artistic Director for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.

BOX SCHEDULE
Festival 33
June 5-17, 2018
Schedule
WEEK 1
Tuesday, June 5, 5:30 p.m.
Opening Concert/Reception: Christ Church, Easton
“Festival Opening Extravaganza!”
Featuring live concert commentary by Jonathan Palevsky of WBJC
Artists: Catherine Cho, Marcy Rosen, Robert McDonald

Wednesday, June 6, 10 a.m.
Open Rehearsal: Academy Art Museum, Easton

Thursday, June 7, 5:30 a.m.
Concert and Reception: Tred Avon Yacht Club, Oxford
“Winds in the Spotlight”
Artists: Peggy Pearson, J. Lawrie Bloom, Adrian Morejan, Catherine Cho, Marcy Rosen, Wei Ping Chou, Steven Tenenbom, Daniel Phillips, and Tara Helen O’Connor

Friday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum, Easton
“The Artistry of Tara Helen O’Connor & Her Friends”
Artists: Tara Helen O’Connor, Daniel Phillips, Steven Tenenbom, Marcy Rosen, and Robert McDonald

Saturday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Oxford Community Center, Oxford
“Strings and Winds Unite”
Artists: Tara Helen O’Connor, Daniel Phillips, Steven Tenenbom, Marcy Rosen, Peggy Pearson, Catherine Cho, Wei Ping Chou, Jeffrey Weisner, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Adrian Morejon

WEEK 2
Tuesday, June 12, 10 a.m.
Open Rehearsal: Academy Art Museum, Easton

Wednesday, June 13, 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Trinity Cathedral, Easton
“A Mozart Sandwich”
Artists: Peggy Pearson, Diane Walsh, Kendra Colton, Catherine Cho, Tessa Lark, Catherine Cho, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, and Michael Thurber

Thursday, June 14, 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum, Easton
“Handel and Bach”
Artists: Kendra Colton, Soprano; Peggy Pearson, Catherine Cho, Tessa Lark, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, Michael Thurber, Merideth Buxton, and Diane Walsh

Friday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Avalon Theatre, Easton
“A Youthful Celebration”
Artists: Diane Walsh, Tessa Lark, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, and Michael Thurber

Saturday, June 16, 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum
“Stradgrass!”
Artists: Tessa Lark, Michael Thurber, and Bob Frederick

Sunday, June 17, 4 p.m.
Angels Concert: Prager Family Auditorium, Easton
Reception: Talbot Historical Society Garden, Easton
Artists: Daniel Phillips, Tessa Lark, Catherine Cho, J. Lawrie Bloom, Catherine Cho

The Heart of It (Part Two) by Amelia Blades Steward

Sometimes it takes a while to process things. Such was the case after witnessing the meeting of Casey Artzer and his heart donor family, Elizabeth, Rodney, English and Chloe Tong in June of this year. The Artzers arrived on a beautiful Eastern Shore day full of sunshine and hope. I had arrived early to record their meeting, trying to stay in the background of this poignant and touching reunion. This vantage point allowed me another perspective, that of the Tong’s Corgi, Maggie, and it is from Maggie’s point of view that I can share part of this story.

Pictured back row, left to right, are Chloe, Rodney and English Tong. Pictured middle row, left to right, are Kathy and Casey Artzer and Elizabeth Tong. Pictured in front row is Lisa Colaianni, Donor Family Advocate with The Washington Regional Transplant Community.

I had met Maggie in puppy class with my Corgi, Schooder. Like most Corgis, Maggie liked to be center stage, greeting people enthusiastically when arriving, jumping with delight and eager to be petted. I guess my focus was still on her a bit when the Casey and his mother Kathy arrived at the Tongs house in June. I wondered how her welcome would interfere with the embraces that the families would share.

As Casey came down the Tong’s sidewalk, seeing Rodney for the first time, the two embraced and held onto each other. My eyes drifted down to Maggie and I realized that she was not jumping up to be greeted, but instead, she was sitting mindfully at Rodney’s feet, looking up at Casey as if to say, “I know you are special and a part of my family too.” We walked inside where Elizabeth Tong was waiting in the foyer of their home. Again, I was struck by Maggie’s attention and behavior, sitting dutifully at Elizabeth’s feet and looking up at Casey in wonder.

Twenty-four years ago, Rodney and Elizabeth Tong, and their daughters English and Chloe, of Royal Oak lost their son and brother, Hunter Tong, age two and one half, to an unexpected death. Hunter’s parents chose to donate Hunter’s organs and his heart went to a one-year old child, Casey Artzer in Topeka, KS. This June, Casey came to meet the Tong family. He had already met English Tong seven years ago, but decided to reach out to the whole family after reading English’s blog post about the visit.

Lisa Colaianni, Donor Family Advocate with The Washington Regional Transplant Community, who met the Tongs after the donation and who has become a family friend, comments, “Today, we have a 25-year old who is alive because of Hunter’s donation. It’s unusual to have a meeting like this happen so many years after the donation. I have facilitated meetings as soon as three months after the death of a donor. The meetings usually take place after a year and usually before five.”

Rodney Tong recalls the week, “We gave Casey a real Eastern Shore experience, taking him sailing for the first time at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum and he loved it. He also rowed with Chloe’s rowing club, the Eastern Shore Community Rowers.”

The Artzers stayed next door at the house belonging to a friend of the Tongs. The house, located on the water, had a pool and provided the perfect respite for their week-long visit. The Tongs hosted a build-your-own Taco Night and also made crabs and rockfish plentiful during the Artzers’ stay.Rodney adds, “Casey reveled in the Eastern Shore fare.”

Elizabeth Tong recalls the fun the two families had making dinner the first night. She states, “We are very grateful the family was willing to come across the country to meet us. It was light and easy and we all got along well. The week was about doing fun things with this new family we were getting to know. It was easy and comfortable.”

Pictured is Casey Artzer playing ukulele at the Tong’s musical jam session.

Casey, a history buff, enjoyed a trip with his mother to Washington, DC to take in the monuments and the White House. The Tongs organized a picnic and jam session with local musicians, so Casey could play music. Elizabeth adds, “I think the jam session was his favorite event of the week! He is a talented musician.”

Casey Artzer reflects on his visit with the Tongs, stating ” Oh wow! I can’t wait to go back! I had such a great time hanging out with Rodney, Elizabeth, English and Chloe. Their food was amazing, I loved sailing and getting the chance to row with the Chloe’s row team. I was sore for a while after going with English to Cross Fit! And I can’t thank them enough for the jam session. I feel a deep connection to them all, especially Rodney.”

The Tongs noticed how much Casey and Rodney had in common. Rodney notes, “Casey and I had a lot of similarities. I made a real connection with him. He has a wonderful general knowledge and is a very curious person like I am. He ran errands with me and helped me finish a crossword puzzle. He loves to travel like me and for the rest of his life wants to do as many things as he can.”

English Tong, who originally made the connection with the Artzer family and who was only four years old when Hunter died, states, “It made my brother’s life more real. When it’s been so long, it’s easy to feel far removed from him, but having his heart near me again gave me back his existence.”

“The whole thing was unreal, but amazing,” adds Chloe Tong. “I felt a weird instinct of comfort with Casey. It was so amazing to see how he was enjoying life to the fullest. I felt connected almost right away in a way I never have before.”

Elizabeth Tong, Kathy Artzer, and Rodney Tong.

For Casey’s mother, Kathy Artzer, who says she and the Tongs have always been connected by Hunter’s heart, notes that the two families are now connected by true friendship. She adds, “It’s hard to put in words what this trip meant to me and Casey. I have always kept them in a special place in my heart, but spending time with the whole family was surreal and extraordinary. Rodney, Elizabeth and the girls are all lovely, kind, hilarious and unique, in their own right!”

She reflects, “Giving my family the gift of life 24 years ago was so selfless, during the worst tragedy. It was also wonderful to get the sense of love in the Eastern Shore community, in which the Tongs are a huge part of.”

Elizabeth Tong was a founding member of the Donor Family and Community Advisory Council for the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC). She continues to be a volunteer WRTC Donate Life Ambassador, speaking at Continuing Education Courses at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, sharing with the professionals who work with transplant families that it’s ok to be emotional. She comments, “It’s important for these professionals to hear from a donor mom just how meaningful it is to be able to donate a loved one’s organs. It becomes a gift not only for the recipient, but also for the donor.”

Elizabeth adds, “Meeting Casey and his mother was a very meaningful experience – sort of like collateral beauty. We are no longer strangers. To actually meet Casey was a gift. Now our families are joined. There is a piece of Hunter that is still living and it’s doing good.”
Rodney concludes, “Casey is keeping Hunter alive and Hunter is keeping Casey alive.”

The heart is a beautiful thing.

For information about making the decision to be an organ donor, visit Washington Regional Transplant Community’s website at www.beadonor.org. To see a video about the Tong’s story and their reunion with Casey, visit here.

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