Winter 201 - Chesapeake Chamber Music

chesapeakechambermusic.org

Winter 201 - Chesapeake Chamber Music

The 2010 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival: a First for Chesapeake Chamber Musicby Beth Schucker Monty Alexander, the great jazz pianoplayer, had just stunned an audience of chamber musicaficionados. He and I were standing together at the postconcertreception in the Avalon Theatre. Unsure of what to sayafter such thunderous audienceapproval, I mumbled, “You played“Sweet Georgia Brown” so fast,I could hardly catch my breath.”He deadpanned, “I played “SweetGeorgia Brown” so fast, I couldhardly catch my breath.” That was2009. I thought he was kidding.In 2010, Alexander returned tothe Avalon Theatre, this time asArtistic Director of the MontyAlexander Jazz Festival. Onceagain, he played “Sweet GeorgiaBrown.” As I listened carefully,I could hear soft gasps for air atstrategic intervals. He hadn’t been kidding. His tempo can bebreath taking.The 2010 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, a three-eventprogram of jazz and conversation, was made possible whenChesapeake Chamber Music stretched its repertoire to includesmall jazz ensembles.The Grace Kelly Quintet opened the festival with “Ain’t NoSunshine.” Though quintessential blues, the piece lit the theatrewith an aurora borealis of excitement. Kelly, an alto saxophonist,brought the audience to the edge of their seats with lush jazzstandards and kept them there with her playful and coy stagepresence and lilting vocals, not to mention her “take-you-offguard”surprises like scatting the introduction to “Sunny Side ofthe Street” and adding a runaway rock finish to “Summertime”.Monty AlexanderImprovisation was on everyone’s mind at the Conversationon Jazz led by Jazz critic Bill Edgar. “Jazz is all aboutspontaneity,” said Kelly. It creates a “collective individualism”that keeps you on your feet because “I never know what they’regoing to do next.” Alexander nodded in the affirmative andsheepishly grinned, “A lot of my spontaneity today is because Ican’t recall the way I did it yesterday.” He concluded that jazzis one of America’s best gifts to the world because it teachesfreedom of expression.The house was packed for the Monty Alexander Trio concert.As musicians took their places, the air bristled with anticipation.Alexander looked happy being back on the Avalon stage alongwith Lorin Cohen bassist,drummer Win Harper and aspecial guest performer, BobbyThomas, today’s sole innovatorof freestyle hand drumming.Without fanfare, Alexandertapped his right foot and bam!-- the 1950s ballad, “Fly Meto the Moon”, swelled to therafters at an upbeat tempo. TheTrio played music from Spain,calypso from Alexander’s homecountry of Jamaica, gospel,rousing pieces like Gershwin’s“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”,and others in a more dreamymood. Humility is very mucha part of Alexander’s success.He concedes his musical giftsare on loan to him and says, “Itry to do the best I can with them.” I just hope he takes goodcare of “Sweet Georgia Brown” until next year.Marcy Rosen and J. Lawrie Grace Bloom KellyBoard Approves Strategic PlanMission: To enrich the musical life of the Chesapeake region by delighting today’s audiences and developing tomorrow’s.Vision: One of the region’s leading cultural treasures, Chesapeake Chamber Music inspires a love of music for life.by Chloe Pitard Over the past several years, Chesapeake About a year ago, led by a committee chaired by HannaChamber Music has experienced considerable growth and Woicke, CCM embarked on a strategic planning process todevelopment. Our June Festival grows each year, now address these issues. It has been an interesting and energizingconsisting of almost daily concerts over a two week period. The process. As our first order of business we spent some timeCompetition has likewise grown in size and prestige, drawing discussing our mission and vision. They are listed above, andextremely high caliber candidates nationally and internationally. you will be seeing them often in the future.Our YouthReach program which provides a two week unit ofThe new plan was voted acceptance at the Board’s Januaryviolin lessons for every third grader in Talbot County as wellmeeting, and we have planned periodic reviews of the plan toas many in Dorchester County is enthusiastically received andkeep us on track. We have learned a great deal through theis growing. YouthReach has many possibilities for expansion,various focus groups, SWOT sessions and Board meetings thatand we are encouraged by those involved to pursue them. Ourtook place. We thank those who took the time to participate inadministrative capabilities needed to be review and reconsideredthese endeavors. The plan will give us direction and focus asto keep pace with this development. And, as always, we need towe carry out its provisions over the next several yearsfind the funds to address these concerns.Toast to Arnie LermanThe following statement of appreciation to Arnie Lermanwas read and adopted by the Chesapeake Chamber MusicBoard of Directors at their November, 2010 meeting. Arnieand Zena have moved to North Carolina to a wonderfulcommunity near family and seem to be very happy.Arnie Lerman has well and faithfully served many causesin our community for many years. He and Zena are loved andrespected for their constructive involvement and passionatecommitment to life’s highest values in poetry, music, education,and gentle and informed discourse in every reach of ourcommunity’s undertakings.Chamber music, in all its manifestations, has been thegreatest benef iciary of Arnie’s talents. He joined the Board in1996, quickly and thoughtfully assuming a leadership role inthe presentations of our annual Festivals. He began workingclosely with Marcie and Lawrie because of his deep and studiousmusicianship, helping the Board in countless ways over hiswhole tenure in bridging the gap between our ignorance andtheir erudition.Arnie served a full nine years as a director; a superb director.For many of us, Arnie represents the history and memory of TheEastern Shore Chamber Music Festival. His counsel was alwayswise, yet leavened with laughter.In 2002, joined by Anna Larkin, Arnie persuaded theBoard to form a Competition Committee to plan, organize,and present a biennial Competition for young chamber musicensembles from around the world. Arnie and Anna agreed toco-chair the Competition Committee. And so, history was made!Only through Arnie and Anna’s talent was a competitionstructure developed, rules written, funding secured, anationally known musician advisory panel selected andrecruited, equally well-known f irst and second round judgesby Kathleen WiseChesapeake Chamber Music’s YouthReach program providesyoung people on the Mid-Shore the opportunity to learn about stringinstruments and chamber music through its First Strings program,and through an annual young audience concert. The mission ofFirst Strings is to introduce a beginning string music experience toelementary school children. It is designed for third and/or fourthgraders to take place during school hours, and to give every child theopportunity to learn the basic skills needed to play the violin. In aseries of 10 classes, they learn to hold the violin and the bow, playa basic rhythm, and put it all together in a “Twinkle, Twinkle LittleStar” variation. The children learn by watching, listening, imitating,and most importantly, performing. First Strings provides the violinsand the schools provide a suitable space and school staff.Last year, at the CCM Gala, a video was shown of the First Stringsprogram in action, featuring Merideth Buxton. Opportunities togive to the program were offered at the Gala. The $3500 that wasContinued on page 6selected and recruited,and complete informationand application packagesprepared and distributedto conservatories, teachers,and schools of musicacross the land. We areall proud of that f irstCompetition. But itproved to be only thebeginning. In 2006,in 2008 and again in2010 Competitionshave been successfullypresented, always led,of course, by Arnie andAnna. Our reach isinternational and theenduring impact of our Competitions upon young artists, musiceducation and on this community is readily discernible.Hanna WoickeArnie and Zena Lerman,photo by Charles RiterIn 2004 Arnie was “term limited” off the Board. Of course heremained fully committed to the Competition even after leavingthe Board. After surviving a year without Arnie, The Boardasked him to return. He was elected to a new three-year termin 2006, and a second three-year term in 2009. And so he hascontinued to serve the cause of great music and encouragement ofyoung artists to this day.It is very diff icult to imagine Chesapeake Chamber Musicwithout Arnie. He is a valued companion in our search toadvance our mutual love of superb music. He is a trusted coworker,always carrying more than his share of the work. Ifhe says he will, you can count on it. We will sorely miss hiswisdom, dedication, knowledge, and wit.raised is being used to keep instruments in good repair, replaceinstruments as needed, and provide “schoolarships” that subsidizewhat individual schools are able to pay for the program. MeridethBuxton and Melissa Wise Slacum have taken the First Stringsprogram to both public and private elementary schools in Talbot andDorchester counties. Both teachers are enthusiastic about sharingtheir love of music with their students. Mrs. Slacum notes, “Not onlydoes this program give me the opportunity to share my passion formusic, it also gives many children who aren’t experiencing academicsuccess the opportunity to excel, further reinforcing the importanceof maintaining a strong fine arts program in the schools.”This spring the YouthReach committee plans to take a chambermusic concert directly to school children in Dorchester and Talbotcounties in order to reach a larger audience. Funds raised at thisyear’s Gala will help to underwrite both this year’s Esther youth and concertsHarris Cooperman,and the continuation of our successful First Strings program. photo by Bill PepperC h e s a p e a k eChamberMusic.org2 3


Interlude Editorial StaffEditor...Writers…Design...Photos....Susan KohLin ClineburgAnna LarkinChloe PitardBeth SchuckerKathleen WiseTim Young,Eclectic GraphicsJerry MichaelBoard of DirectorsChloe L. Pitard, PresidentBernice Michael, Vice PresidentCarolyn Thornton, SecretaryMichael Bracy, TreasurerBetty AndersonPenelope ProserpiGarry ClarkeMichael SmilowBill GeogheganMargaret WelchJean McHaleKathleen WiseRush MoodyHanna WoickeChuck PettyJ. Lawrie Bloom, Artistic Co-DirectorMarcy Rosen, Artistic Co-DirectorDonald Buxton, Executive DirectorHELP WANTED!Would you like to get involved with ChesapeakeChamber Music as more than just a loyal memberof the audience? Ever wondered how you can helpbring the music you love to a wider audience? CCM islooking for a few motivated volunteers to assist in everyaspect of our programs and operations: as writers,ushers, performer hosts, and ad salespersons, amongother opportunities.Our principal need at this point is for individuals to helpwith advertising sales for our Festival program book.We’d love to have volunteers who can reach out toTalbot County, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Caroline andbeyond. Can you help?If you are interested, please let us know by calling theCCM office at 410-819-0380 or by leaving an e-mail atinfo@ChesapeakeChamberMusic.org. Our volunteercoordinator, Val Lamont, will be in touch with you aboutthe specifics of joining CCM as a volunteer.CHESAPEAKE CHESAPEAKECHAMBER MUSIC CHAMBER MUSIC1 ~ EASTON, PO BOX MD 46121601~ EASTON, MD 21601CHESAPEAKECHAMBERMUSIC.ORGNON-PROFIT ORG.U.S. POSTAGEPAIDPERMIT NO. 82EASTON, MD21601NON-PRU.S.PPERMITEAST21Chesapeake Chamber Music Presents:Black Walnut Cove - Nancy Tankersly

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