Green Room Gang to Perform at Church Hill Theatre

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

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

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

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

Rehearsals Begin for Summer Community Chorus

Rehearsals have begun for Easton’s Allegro Academy Summer Community Chorus, under the direction of Amy Morgan, who has brought together more than 60 singers and musicians from the Easton/Delmarva area. The group will present the famous and much loved Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria on Friday, July 27, 2018 at 7 p.m.  The performance is free and will take place at Trinity Cathedral, 315 Goldsborough Street, Easton, MD.  The chorus will be joined by a professional orchestra and soloists Caitlyn Crowley, soprano, Katie Cox, soprano, and Patty Rubin, mezzo-soprano.

The Gloria will be conducted by the Allegro Academy’s Artistic Director, Amy Morgan.  Mrs. Morgan is an accomplished musician whose education includes a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from Salisbury University and Masters in Choral Conducting from Messiah College.  Mrs. Morgan founded the Allegro Academy in 2017 and has served as the music director at Trinity Cathedral since 2014.

Several participants commented that they thought this was a wonderful idea to “bring together the community and meet new people.”  Anyone who wanted to sing was welcomed.  One participant said she “loves to sing and was excited about being able to sing in such a large choir without having to audition.”  Mrs. Morgan hopes that the Allegro Academy summer community chorus will become a regular event.

The programs of the Allegro Academy are funded in part by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils.  For more information about this program or the Allegro Academy, call 410-603-8361, or visit www.allegroacademyeaston.com.

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

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

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

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

Peach Daiquiri – for one

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

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

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

Peach Salsa:

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

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

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

Martha has a Peach and Crab Salad that we might have to try: https://www.marthastewart.com/777163/peach-and-crab-salad-mesclun-and-herbs

Peach Bruschetta: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/peach-bruschetta/

Peach ice cream: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/peach-ice-cream-242620

Peach-tarragon Shortcake: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/peach-tarragon-shortcake-51241890

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

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

Cowboy Junkies: Major Concert at the Avalon July 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call to Artists Who Live, Work, or Sell Their Art!

Exciting news for Talbot County Artists! Join the Talbot County Arts Council and the St. Michaels Art League who are jointly sponsoring an art exhibition during October at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton. This event is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Maryland State Arts Council and the 40th anniversary of the Talbot County Arts Council—both of which over the years have provided millions of dollars in arts funding to organizations and schools in Talbot County.

Did you know Maryland is currently ranked 4th in the United States for money allocated to arts spending? Many of the wonderful artists benefiting from this support live, work or sell their art in Talbot County.  This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our talent! The event is for artists who work in the disciplines of drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and various other visual art forms.  You do not need to be a member of any arts organization to participate.

“I Feel Pretty” by Jo Merrill

There is no fee to participate in this event.Entries will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis, as space is limited, so be sure and register soon. To participate you must register on the online Artists Registry on the Talbot County Arts Council website (talbotarts.org), and you must also complete a registration form for the event (also available on the website).If you need technical assistance joining the artists registry, contact its designer Danielle Darling (email dannidarling79@gmail.com).

Julie Madden of Howard County and St. Michaels will judge the event. Julie recently completed a term on the board of directors of the Maryland State Arts Council followed by six months as MSAC’sinterim executive director.  She will be selecting the recipients of first place ($250), second place ($150), and third place ($100) awards, as well as honorable mentions.  Awards will be presented at an opening reception on the evening of Friday, October 5th.

Registrations for the exhibit must be filed by Tuesday, September 4, but register soon to make sure you get in!For further information check the bottom of the home page of the Arts Council’s website (talbotarts.org); or contact Jo Merrill (merrilljosephine@gmail.com) or Beth Wright (wilmafeet28@gmail.com).  Visit www.smartleague.org for information on the league and its activities.

“Reflections” Exhibit at Academy Art Museum

The St. Michaels Art League (SMAL) is exhibiting a juried collection of work at the Academy Art Museum in Easton from July 21 through August 19 in their “Selections” gallery. Various mediums are represented, inspired by the theme of “Reflections.”  Interpretations vary from literal to figurative and include reflections in nature; on objects, on buildings, and reflections of thought and expression.

Sharon Mills’ “Cold Front Approaching”

SMAL was founded 25 years ago and currently boasts over 100 members from around the Eastern Shore and beyond.  The group includes many award-winning artists and aims to encourage artistic development and provide education that enriches lives through the creative arts.

Carla Massoni, owner of the Massoni Gallery in Chestertown, Md since 1990, will serve as the juror.  Carla has been deeply involved in the arts of the Mid-Atlantic for over 30 years.

The Academy Art Museum is located at 106 South St. in Easton. The museum hours are Tues, Weds, Thurs 10am-8pm; Mon, Fri, Sat and Sun 10am-4pm and first Fri 10am-7pm.  Admission is free for Academy members; non-members $3, children 12 and under are free.

An Esteemed Pair during Plein Air at Troika Gallery

Troika Gallery will host painting demonstrations by two masters, Sara Linda Poly and Matt Zoll during Plein Air Easton. On Friday, July 20, at 2:15 pm Matt Zoll, a realistic still life painter in the Flemish tradition will give a painting demo followed on Saturday, July 21 at 2:15 pm, by plein air painter Sara Linda Poly, the Grand Prize Winner at the 2016 Plein Air Easton. Both artists are masters in their own right, Zoll is a graduate of the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore and is a sought-after instructor with his studio/school.  Poly has a keen following and offers workshops throughout the country and the world. Everyone is invited to learn by watching the artistic skills of these two Troika Gallery artists while relaxing in the cool air-conditioned gallery. Reservations are not necessary. Free to the public.

“Enchantment,” oil, 30 x 40 by Sara Linda Poly

Kevin Fitzgerald’s new evocative landscape paintings are on display, from his featured show, “The Stillness of Time.”  Original oils, watercolors, pastels, bronze sculpture, porcelain and ceramics by the 36 featured Troika Artists  are exhibited.

Featuring “The Finest of Fine Art,” Troika Gallery is the most extensive operating gallery on the Eastern Shore. Selected six times as the Best Art Gallery by What’s Up Eastern Shore magazine, the gallery has loyal followers. Whether an art collector, art lover or an art browser, Troika encourages you to stop in and see the beautiful art. Professional Artists and Co-Owners, Laura Era and Jennifer Heyd Wharton, along with Manager, Peg Fitzgerald, welcome your visit and will happily address questions on art, portraiture, and framing. Troika Gallery is located at 9 South Harrison Street and is open every day from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm and Sunday by appointment, 410-770-9190, www.troikagallery.com, art@troikagallery.com.

SMAL Awards Prizes to Local Senior AP Art Students

The St. Michaels Art League (SMAL) is committed to encouraging and supporting young art students by contributing to identified needs in the schools and awarding prizes for individual excellence.  For several years, the league has worked with Bridget Whited, an Advanced Placement (AP) Art Instructor for the Talbot County Schools to select outstanding students for recognition.

Created by May Shaw

This year, SMAL reviewed portfolios for several AP Art Students from the St. Michaels and Easton High Schools and selected three senior students for awards: Taylor Wheatley, Alison Ortel and May Shaw. SMAL presented awards to these students on May 23rd at the St. Michaels High School Senior Awards Ceremony. SMAL congratulates these students and wishes them well in their future artistic endeavors!

Information on the St. Michaels Art League can be found at www.smartleague .org.

Art Hunt in St. Michaels – SMAL Thanks Justine’s Ice Cream

Beth Wright, President of SMAL, and Tyler Heim, Manager of Justine’s Ice Cream.

Going on it’s fourth year, the Art Hunt is summer tradition in St. Michaels. Who wouldn’t do a little work for ice cream, especially when it’s fun?

For the uninitiated, the Art Hunt is a scavenger hunt for artwork “hidden” in various businesses throughout town, beginning July 1st and ending July 31st.  Paintings by St. Michaels Art League members are placed in stores, along with cards listing the paintings and the participating merchants.  Visitors take the cards to the participating stores and have the merchant mark the card when a painting is spotted.  Whenat least 12 of the 20 paintings listed are found, the card can be presented at Justine’s Ice Cream to receive a free cone.

This project fits in with the mission of the St. Michaels Art League (SMAL), a non-profit group of artists from St. Michaels and beyond. The purpose of the League is to promote visual arts through education, community service and exhibits.In the case of the Art Hunt, local art is showcased and the town benefits from the economic promotion that a lively arts scene engenders.

The Art Hunt started out with a small number of merchants but once others realized it’s a good way to get traffic in their stores, more jumped on board. They enjoy seeing the children delight in finding a painting. Stan and Marianne Stallsmith, owners of the Candleberry Shoppe on Talbot Street remarked that “the Art Hunt teaches kids about art in a fun way.  What makes it fun is the gleam in their eyes when they come in and start looking and asking questions. We give hints and make it a fun game. It’s more than just ice cream.”

SMAL is grateful for the partnership of the St. Michaels merchants, and of course, Justine’s. This year the league presented a thank you painted by SMAL member Jo Merrill to Tyler Heim, Manager of Justine’s. Tyler said “It’s been an honor to work with SMAL and we look forward to doing so in the future. Promoting the arts is crucial, and Justine’s is proud to be part of it.”

This Program is funded in part by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with revenue provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Author Reading in Easton Celebrates New Climate Change Novel

Local author Paul Briggs will hold a reading and signing to celebrate the launch of his new book, Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the meeting room of the Talbot County Free Library in Easton on Monday, July 2. Coffee and cake will be served. 

Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, the first novel in a two-part series, has just been released by Secant Publishing in Salisbury. Set in the near future, it explores the disastrous effects of runaway climate change and sea level rise on many parts of the world, including the Eastern Shore, following the total melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean.

It has been praised by critics, including the American Library Association’s Booklist, which called it “A solid addition to cli fi collections.” Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine opined: “It’s the kind of meaty book that keeps coming back to you for weeks after you’ve finished reading,” while Kirkus Reviews said: “This epic story of global pandemonium wisely centers on accessible characters.”

Other signings have also been scheduled at independent bookstores throughout the Shore:

– The Book Warehouse in the Queenstown Prime Outlets, Saturday, July 21.
– Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, Delaware, Tuesday, July 31.
– Sundial Books in Chincoteague, Virginia, Saturday, August 11.

Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise is available through IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and many other retail channels including local bookstores. The 374-page paperback edition sells for $15.95 (ISBN 978-1-944962487). It is also available in e-book format.