CHESTERTOWN'S SECOND annual Jazz Festival featured three days of jazz performed by internationally renowned jazz vocalist Ethel Ennis; Stef Scaggiari, keyboardist; Paul Hildner, drummer; Keter Betts, bass player; Sherry Winston, a Grammy-nominated flutist; vocalist Sue Matthews; pianist Dick Durham; the Hometown Rhythm Section and the Lee Howell Trio.
The festival is a dream come true for its founder, Dr. Mel Rapelyea, chairman of diagnostic imaging for Howard County General Hospital.
Rapelyea fell in love with the Eastern Shore after working several days a month in the Kent and Queen Anne Hospital. He decided to buy a home there a few years ago and soon afterward came up with the idea of the festival, with the proceeds going to the African and Native American Cultural Activities Museum in Chestertown.
This year's event, held at Wilmer Park on the Chester River, was dedicated to the memory of Eastern Shore jazz performer Randolph Waddell "Jazz" Johnson. His widow, Eloise, was given an award at the gala dinner (catered by the Imperial Hotel) that was part of the festival.
Among those at the gala were Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey; Carla and Al Massoni, owners of the Imperial Hotel (she's also a member of Chestertown's new tourism advisory board); Leslie Raimond, president of the Kent County Arts Council; Joyce Huber Cafritz, Washington College board member; and Davy McCall, a member of Chestertown's Historic District Commission and a Washington College professor.
No word yet on the date for next year's festival, but you can bet I will be there!
Fun by the bushel
Historic Port Deposit, nestled on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Cecil County, wants the world to know it's alive and well. That was obvious at the crab feast held last weekend to benefit the Port Deposit Revitalization Association.
According to Al Bruno, a Port Deposit businessman who chaired the crab feast, this was the first event to be held in the newly expanded Marina Park. (The park was devastated during a flood several years ago.)
Hundreds of Port Deposit residents filled the park and ate bushels of crabs and pit beef with all the trimmings.
David Kriebel and Dina Feinberg were co-hosts of the 1997 Lite Circle Ball held at the Belvedere Hotel for members of Lite Circle Inc., a local literary organization.
Kriebel is the founder of the group as well as the editor and publisher of Lite: Baltimore's Literary Newspaper, which prints a monthly calendar of events and a full paper every other month. Feinberg, his assistant editor, also handles public relations.
I chatted with Kriebel about the group's activities and learned that Lite encourages local writers by providing them with outlets for their work.
At the ball, more than 60 Lite members and their guests enjoyed a buffet dinner and ballroom dancing with instruction by Helmut Licht. Former WBJC radio announcer Diane Finlayson, who now works for National Public Radio, provided CDs.
Others glimpsed at the party included Sam Schmidt, publisher of Wordhouse newsletter; Rosemary Klein, editor of Maryland Poetry Review; Patti Kinlock, a Lite VP; and Susan Sweeney and Jamie Wasserman, Lite staff members.
Getting down at Bradmar
Again this year, Marcia and Brad Selko were the hosts of Hot August Blues at their Monkton estate, Bradmar Manor. The Selkos organized this annual outdoor concert five years ago as a fund-raiser for their two favorite organizations, the Baltimore Blues Society and the Contemporary Museum.
Hundreds of people were there for the concert, a fun-filled family day that featured music by harmonica player and singer Kim Wilson, of the Fabulous Thunderbirds; Big Jay McNeely; Rosie ++ Ledet; and Steve Kramer, who is well-known in this region for banging out boogie-woogie and barrelhouse rhythms at the Cat's Eye Pub.
Film team steps up to bat
The Maryland Film Office and the Producers Club of Maryland were hosts of an event in California recently for Marylanders who are working in the film and television industry in Hollywood.
More than 130 people said yes to an invite to a "baseball barbecue" at Anaheim Stadium before an Orioles-Angels game. They were treated to Angelina's crab cakes and cases of Natty Boh, and enjoyed a black-eyed Susan arrangement by Susan Kershaw Floral Design, which framed a doorway with flowers and film strips of Maryland landmarks.