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.

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.

Sue Matthews and Robert Redd Performance on January 19

Sue Matthews and Robert Redd performance entitled “The Music of Harold Arlen” on January 19 at Stoltz Listening Room. Doors open at 7:30 p.m and show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets on sale here.

Sue Matthews, with Robert Redd on piano, presents an evening featuring the superb melodies of Harold Arlen, the composer of such standards as “Over the Rainbow” and “Stormy Weather.”

Sue’s voice—silky smooth, honey-toned, and expressive—has captivated audiences and critics alike since she first appeared in 1991, releasing the traditional jazz album “Love Dances.” Her smoky croon caught on with audiences and within a few years released “When You’re Around,” scoring another hit, achieving “top 20” berths on the Gavin and R & R Jazz Charts. Her love of interpreting the American Songbook is apparent in Matthews’ releases “One At A Time and Live at The Mainstay,” as she continues to garner national and international acclaim.

Jazz pianist Robert Redd, a current member of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, was a member of the Keter Betts trio for 13 years, performing frequently at venues such as the Kennedy Center and Blues Alley.

Redd has also worked often as a member of the Charlie Byrd Trio, and can be heard on Byrd’s recording, “For Louis”. Other recent recordings include “Bouquet Chorale” (Summit Records) featuring Marty Nau and legendary saxophonist Phil Woods, and “When Redd is Blue”, co-led with his brother, Chuck.

Carpe Diem Arts Presents Maggie Sansone, Paul Oorts and Karen Ashbrook

Carpe Diem Arts free lunch-time performance series presents Maggie Sansone, Paul Oorts and Karen Ashbrook, music from Ireland, Belgium and Appalachia. The concert will be held at Talbot County Senior Center, 400 Brookletts Ave., Easton on January 8 at 12:15-1:00pm.

Maggie’s Music Celtic trio of Maggie Sansone, Paul Oorts and Karen Ashbrook presents an engaging, upbeat program of lively jigs, songs and reels on the hammer dulcimer, bouzouki, guitar and mandolin — an upbeat launch into the new year!

Maggie Sansone is one of America’s most well-known hammered dulcimer recording artists and CEO of Maggie’s Music which has produced over 60 recordings. Maggie has received numerous Wammie awards from the Washington Area Music Association, both as a musician and record label. NPR host Fiona Ritchie of “The Thistle & Shamrock” show said “Maggie’s Music has been at the heart of a musical movement that explores American roots and Celtic soul in a great variety of authentic acoustic delights.” www.maggiesansone.com

Maggie Sansone (left) with Paul Oorts and Karen Ashbrook.

Belgian-born Paul Oorts performs on harp guitar, 10-string cittern, mandolin and musette accordion. He is equally at home with Celtic, American & European traditions including his native Flemish and French music. He is very active in the world of English, Contra and Vintage dances in the DC-Baltimore area and most often performs with his wife Karen Ashbrook.

For more than 40 years, Karen Ashbrook has been a pioneer and advocate in the development revival of the hammered dulcimer nationally internationally. Karen plays a wide variety of musical styles including Irish, Appalachian, Belgian, English, classical Jewish. She teaches at numerous festivals music camps around the States. With her delicate touch, trademark shimmering lilt ear for authentic ornamentation, Karen is considered one of the finest Irish hammered dulcimer players anywhere. Karen is also proficient on the wooden flute and pennywhistle.  www.karenashbrook.com

The Carpe Diem Arts performance series at Brookletts Place is presented by Carpe Diem Arts in partnership with the Talbot County Senior Center at Brookletts Place.

The Brookletts concert is made possible by the generous support of the Talbot County Arts Council with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Dock Street Foundation, the Nancy A. Graham Memorial Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, and by individual contributions to Carpe Diem Arts and Brookletts Place.

The monthly 45-minute performances (12:15-1:00pm on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, September through May 2019) are FREE and open to the public.

Lunch is available at 12 noon with advance reservations.

RSVP: Amanda Brown — 410-822-2869 / abrown@uppershoreaging.org

More information: busygraham@carpediemarts.org or 301-466-0183
www.CarpeDiemArts.org/brookletts-place, Facebook: Carpe Diem Arts on the Shore

Other upcoming dates (2nd Tuesdays)

Feb 12 – Junkyard Saints: Celebration of Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day
Mar 12 – Josh Dukes & Dylan Foley: Celebration of Irish American Heritage Month & St. Patrick’s Day!
Apr 9 – Fuad Foty and Family: honoring Arab American heritage month
May 7 – Chris Noyes: Songs for Mother’s Day and the Chesapeake Bay