Easton Choral Arts Society Announces Open Auditions

Easton Choral Arts Society, founded in 1977, is holding open auditions for its Spring Concert, Songs from the Heart. The concert features Michael John Trotta’s work “For a Breath of Ecstasy” composed with lyrics from poet Sara Teasdale’s anthology Love Songs.The chorus will also sing a variety of beautiful and clever arrangements of songs about the different aspects of love.

Composed of members from the Delmarva region, the Society performs a variety of music, ranging from classical to works by contemporary composers. Auditions are scheduled by appointment, and interested singers may contact ECAS through the website EastonChoralArts.org or by e-mail at weslockfaw@christchurcheaston.org. Rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings 7:00 to 9:00, at Christ Church Easton, 111 S Harrison Street, Easton.

Easton Choral Arts Society was created to bring quality choral music to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and to provide local singers with the opportunity to enhance their musical knowledge and skills in an atmosphere of joy and camaraderie.

The Society is supported by grants from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Homage to Poet Mary Oliver: “When Death Comes”

Editor’s Note: Poet Mary Oliver passed away this week at the age of 83 years old. Oliver was a special favorite of the Spy and we sadly mourn her passing. 

We asked one of the Spy’s other favorite poets, Sue Ellen Thompson, to suggest a fitting poem to honor Oliver, and she very quickly responded with Oliver’s classic, “When Death Comes.”

When Death Comes
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
–Mary Oliver

Allegro Children’s Chorus Now Enrolling

The Allegro Children’s Chorus is now enrolling students for its first session of 2019 with rehearsals beginning on January 28.  All singers ages 6-18 are invited to join in this seasons music of “Stage and Screen” to be shared in a number of performances this spring.  Rehearsals will take place in the parish hall of Trinity Cathedral, 315 Goldsborough Street, Easton with ensembles beginning at 4:30 pm.  The Allegro Children’s Chorus is a community choral program  that connects singers of different ages, counties, and school affiliations.  In addition to learning repertoire, singers will develop music theory, aural, and performance skills.  The chorus’ previous season included performances at Trinity Cathedral Easton, Talbot Hospice Festival of Trees, Maryland Statehouse Annapolis, Easton Club East, and St. Paul’s church, Oxford.Participants are to pay a fee of $125 each semester which includes materials and performance wear.  Scholarships are offered to all participants, no audition is required, all are welcome.

The Allegro Children’s Chorus sings under the leadership of Allegro Academy Artistic Director, Amy Morgan.  Mrs. Morgan is a native of the Eastern Shore and an accomplished musician whose education includes a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from Salisbury University and Masters in Choral Conducting from Messiah College.She has served as the Director of Music at Trinity Cathedral since 2014.  Mrs. Morgan also teaches private piano lessons, has served as musical director for musical theatre and operetta performances, and as a piano accompanist.

Other programs of Allegro Academy include performances with concert artists, private music lessons in violin and piano, and  the Summer Sing choir festival which invites vocalists from the community to perform a major choral work with professional soloists and orchestra.  The Allegro Children’s Chorus and the programs of the Allegro Academy are funded by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils and generous contributions from our community.The mission of Allegro Academy is to offer exceptional music education and performance experiences to the greater Talbot County Area, and to make these offerings affordable to all.  For more information about our programs and scholarship opportunities please call Amy Morgan at 410-603-8361 or email amy@allegroacademyeaston.com.

Watch on the Rhine Opens January 18 at Church Hill Theatre

Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine, directed by Mary A. James, is Church Hill Theatre’s first 2019 show. The play is a vintage American drama, with several heroic characters, an attractive villain, charming children, and a few comic moments along the way. It’s also a “traditional” CHT production, with an elegantly furnished living room set and costumes that match the period. The production opens on Friday, January 18 and will run for three weekends.

But Watch on the Rhine is much more than a drawing room comedy—it is an eloquent defense of American democratic values and responsibilities. Although written shortly before the outbreak of WWII as an anti-Nazi statement, it still resonates strongly and has enjoyed a number of recent revivals. The original play won the 1941 Drama Critics’ Circle Award and was made into a film starring Bette Davis.

Watch on the Rhine takes place in 1940 at Fanny Farrelly’s estate near Washington, DC, where she and her lawyer son David eagerly await the arrival of his sister, Sara Muller, and her family. Sara, married to a German patriot, for twenty years has made a new life in Europe, far from her domineering mother.  Tensions arise when Fanny’s houseguests, a titled Romanian couple, meddle in family affairs. What is going on between the Countess and David Farrelly? And is the Count a Nazi—or just a cad? Matters are resolved during a long cocktail hour that reveals secrets and rips apart Fanny’s comfortably complacent life.

David Farelly (Howard Mesick) and his sister Sara Muller (Darlene Greer).

Jane Copple takes on the role of Fanny Farrelly, a cosmopolitan and well-connected matron who is perhaps too used to getting her own way.  Darlene Greer portrays Fanny’s daughter, Sara Muller, stronger than we first think. Robert McGrory plays Kurt Muller, a former engineer and anti-Nazi activist.  Lisa Wojehowski, Calla McCluskey, and Connor Christopher play their children, Joshua, Babette and Bodo. Complicating matters are Fanny’s houseguests, the sinisterly attractive Count Teck de Brancovis, played by Will Robinson, and his American-born wife Marthe, played by Genevieve Croker.  Howard Mesick portrays Fanny’s lawyer son David, a man who finds more backbone as his comfortable world changes. Sheila Austrian plays Fanny’s French housekeeper/companion Anise.

James, with substantial experience at St. Martin’s Community Theatre and the Colonial Players, is making her directorial debut at Church Hill Theatre. Her production team includes Producer Hester Sachse and Lighting Designer Doug Kaufmann. The set was designed by the director and Temple Worth and constructed by Carmen Grasso. Speedy Christopher will be helping backstage.

Watch on the Rhine will open on January 18, 2019 and run until February 3. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm.  Special two-for-one ticket pricing is available for the opening night. Reservations can be made on line at churchhilltheatre.org or by calling (410) 556-6003.

Auditions for “A Flea in Her Ear” at CHT on January 15, 17, 19

Georges Feydeau’s hilarious farce adapted by David Ives comes to the stage this spring at Church Hill Theatre. Directed by Toph Wallace, the play will run for three weekends from March 29 to April 14. Rehearsals will begin on January 24.

A Flea in Her Ear has a simple premise, Madame Chandebise suspects her husband of cheating, and with the help of her best friend sets out to entrap and catch him.  With comic roles for men and women, you want to be a part of this show!  Auditioners will be asked to do cold readings from the script.

Wallace is a member of the CHT board and last directed the 2017 Church Hill production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution.  He has been on stage recently in the title role of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Garfield Center and as Pat in CHT’s 2018 production of The Hostage.

Auditions will be held:

January 15 & 17 at 6:30 in the CHT rehearsal space located at 502 Main Street in Church Hill

January 19 at 12:00 on the CHT main stage

The characters in A Flea in Her Ear are:

Raymonde Chandebise: (Female: late 20’s – late 30’s)
Victor Chandebise’s  suspicious wife who plots to catch her husband being unfaithful to her.
Victor Chandebise / Poche: (Male: mid 30’s – mid 40’s)
As Victor: Raymonde’s faithful, sometimes meek husband/ As Poche: An alcoholic porter at the Frisky Puss Hotel who is often confused for Victor.
Tournel: (Male: early to late 30’s)
A handsome and confident ladies-man who has his eyes set on Raymonde.
Lucienne: (Female: late 20’s to late 30’s)
Raymonde’s witty friend who aids the plot by writing a seductive letter to Victor.
Don Carlos Homenides de Histangua: (Male: mid 30’s to mid-40’s) You’ll want to play this guy just because of his name! Lucienne’s hot-blooded husband. Thrown into a fierce rage when he sees her letter.
Camille: (Male: late 20’s to mid-30’s)
Antoinette’s lover. Has a cleft palette and speaks without pronouncing any consonants throughout most of the show.
Antoinette: (Female: mid 20’s to mid-30’s)
The maid of the house. Married to Etienne, but having an affair with Camille
Etienne: (mid 30’s to mid-40’s)
The Chandebise’s valet. Thinks he controls his wife, but… is oblivious to her affair.

Dr.  Finache: (Male: late 40’s to early 60’s)
The family doctor who is a frequent patron of the Frisky Puss Hotel.
Ferraillon: (Male: early 40’s to early 50’s)
Owner of the Frisky Puss Hotel. An army colonel, he runs the inn like his troupe.
Olympia: (Female: late 40’s to late 50’s)
Ferraillon’s wife. A beauty queen in her youth who won’t let go of the past.
Eugenie: (Female: early 20’s to early 30’s)
A somewhat dimwitted and flirtatious chamber maid at the Frisky Puss Hotel.
Baptiste: (Female: early 50’s to mid-70’s)
Ferraillon’s elderly uncle. Used as the hotel’s “distraction” when lovers are caught.
Rugby: (Male: late 20’s to mid-40’s)
A drunken Englishman who is stood up at the hotel. Will take any woman he can get.

Contact the Church Hill Theatre at 410-556-6003 or execmanager@churchhilltheatre.org with any questions about the play, the roles, or the audition schedule.

Duke University Organist to Perform at Christ Church Easton

On Friday, January 18 at 7:30 pm, the Christ Church Concert Series will present Duke University organist Christopher Jacobson in what will be his Easton debut.  The accomplished organist was previously the Associate Organist and Choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina where he assisted in directing and training the cathedral choirs and played for weekly Eucharist and Evensong liturgies. Mr. Jacobson also served on the faculty as instructor of organ at the University of South Carolina’s School of Music. Prior to his appointment at Trinity Cathedral he was Assistant Organist and Assistant Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral. As a soloist Mr. Jacobson has presented organ recitals across North America, Europe, and Australia. He has won prizes in numerous organ competitions including the National Young Artist Competition (NYACOP), the Miami International Organ Competition, and first prize in the American Guild of Organists/Quimby Region VI Competition for Young Organists and the John R. Rodland Competition in church music. As an accompanist he has accompanied choirs in residencies and tours to Saint Thomas Church, New York City, Wells Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral in England, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy. He has also served as accompanist for many Royal School of Church Music summer courses across the country. An active continuo artist, Mr. Jacobson appears regularly with the early music ensemble, Three Notch’d Road and the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra. Mr. Jacobson holds the Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and the Sacred Music Diploma from the Eastman School of Music as well as the Associate diploma from the American Guild of Organists. At Eastman he studied organ with David Higgs, and improvisation and continuo with William Porter. Mr. Jacobson received the Bachelor of Music degree with distinction in Organ Performance from St. Olaf College where he studied with John Ferguson and Catherine Rodland. He is a graduate of Woodberry Forest where he began his organ study with French organist Yvaine Duisit, and the American Boychoir School as a treble chorister under James Litton.

Friday’s concert will present a feast for all organ and sacred music lovers.  Featuring the Bach Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532, Rhapsody, Opus 17 by Herbert Howells as well as works by Marcel Dupré, William Bolcom, George Shearing, and Louis Vierne, the concert promises to be a highlight of the weekend!  Coupled with the vibrant acoustic of Easton’s Christ Church and the many facets of the four-manual Rodgers Infinity, this is a concert you won’t want to miss.  The concert is open to the public and is sponsored in part by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils.  Doors open at 7 pm.

Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton.  For information, call 410-822-2677.

Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra Celebrates the Holidays with Sponsors & Supporters

MSO President Jeffrey Parker (left) with Raymond Vergne.

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony recently celebrated its holiday concerts with supporters at Scossa Restaurant in Easton, MD. Members of the Orchestra serenaded guests who enjoyed light hors d’oeuvres. The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, Sussex County, Delaware and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc. Tickets for the spring concerts, March 7, 9 and 10,  featuring Andrews Sill as Guest Conductor, are available online at midatlanticsymphony.org or by telephone (888) 846-8600.  For further information, visit midatlanticsymphony.org.

Delmarva Review: Man-Hours by Holly Painter

“Take heart that in Detroit
Every three seconds
A car is born.” – C.K. Stead

It takes 6720 man-hours
to make a baby, give or take.

The catch is

it must be the same man
and that man a woman.

We cannot specialize.
We cannot automate.
We cannot use assembly lines
or lean production techniques
to accelerate the timeline.

We cannot do anything.
She must do it all.

Her body assembles the baby
step-by-step, though her brain
does not know how.

She builds a heart in only 18 days.
She constructs the intestinal tract,
starting with the anus, of course.

She engineers a custom machine:
designed at random within certain
parameters and built in the dark.

At 6720 hours, the deadline looms
and she always delivers.

Holly Painter holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Canterbury and teaches writing and literature at the University of Vermont. She is the author of the poetry collection Excerpts from a Natural History (Titus Books, 2015). In addition to Delmarva Review, her work has appeared in numerous literary journals in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, and the U.K.

Delmarva Review is a literary publication of national scope, with strong regional roots. In its eleventh year, the nonprofit journal discovers compelling new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from authors within the region and beyond. It is supported by individual contributions, sales, and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For information and copies, visit: www.DelmarvaReview.org.

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The Road of Photographer Constance Stuart Larrabee: A Conversation with Author Peter Elliott

For those who remember Constance Stuart Larrabee, particularly those living on the Mid-Shore, it will always be gratifying to know that at the very end of her life Constance knew there was a high degree of attention paid to her photography.

While the native South African had been living on the Mid-Shore for more than forty years, she was intentionally reserved on talking about her work as a documentary photographer in the years before marrying a former military attache, Colonel Sterling Loop Larrabee, in 1949. If locals knew anything about Larrabee, it was for her reputation as a successful breeder of Norwich Terriers, not as South Africa’s first female World War Two correspondent. She clearly preferred it that way for reasons still not entirely known.

It was only when she was seventy that a close friend, Ed Maxcy, convinced her to share her portfolio of images from her visits to rural South African villages, the war, the streets of Johannesburg and, later, Tangier Island on the Chesapeake Bay. She began working with such distinguished institutions such as the Corcoran Gallery, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Yale’s Center for British Art, Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts, as well as our own Washington College and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, through much of the eighties and early nineties on several well received exhibitions. All of which gave Larrabee the certain knowledge that her lifetime contribution to photography had been well-noted before she died in 2000.

But for those who have never heard her name, or seen her stunning images, there is good news to be had. Almost twenty years after her passing, fellow South African and author Peter Elliott has just completed a new biography of Larrabee after two years of extensive research.

Elliott, retiring to the South of France after a distinguished career as a London-based corporate attorney, began his new vocation as a writer on history and art, and had stumbled on Larrabee’s war photography while researching South Africa’s role in World War II.

Awed by their composition and warmth, Peter has meticulously tracked down every one of Constance’s documentary projects as well as applied a critical appraisal of her work, including a few myths she created along the way on her technique, in the newly released Constances: One Road to Take: The Life and Photography of Constance Stuart Larrabee published by Cantaloup Press.

Through the wonders of technology, the Spy interviewed Peter via Skype from his home in Languedoc, France to talk about Constance, her photography, and the lasting legacy of her work.

This video is approximately twenty-eight minutes in length. Constance: One Road to Take: The Life and Photography of Constance Stuart Larrabee can be purchased at the Book Plate in Chestertown or on Amazon here.



Register Now to the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference

A New Year, a new novel? A new poem? A new routine? Whatever you have promised yourself to do this year, the first thing you need to do is come to the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md.  

This year’s conference committee has worked hard to invite speakers that can help you improve everything about your writing and then discuss how to get it published, start a blog, and position your work for the intended audience you are seeking to reach.The top-notch speakers include award-winning poets Nancy Mitchell and Chris Salerno along with acclaimed novelists John Dedakis, Robert Bidinotto and Austin Camacho.

Do not wait to register. January is the month to make that move–go online to www.easternshorewriters.org, click on the conference and register. BTO takes pride in providing a helpful and inspiring atmosphere in the literary conference world while attending to individual needs of writers at all levels. If you are a student, there are special student prices for anyone with a student ID.

On the website, click on each session track to check out who is speaking and what the sessions are all about.  Track topics include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, publishing, children’s books and more—with a variety of unique workshops and tutorials in each track.

The conference is brought to you by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, whose mission is to serve writers on the Eastern Shore and areas nearby.