Monday, September 28, 2009

Chamber Music in October

Would you believe that the Pyxis Quartet’s October 1 concert at the Delaware Art Museum has been sold out since August? The Concerts on Kentmere series will be presented in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery and an option for dinner on the Chihuly Bridge can be part of the package for those lucky few who booked early.

The Pyxis Quartet was founded this year and I hope they will play together for many years to come: Hiroko Yamazaki, piano, Meredith Amado, violin, Amy Leonard, viola and Jie Jin, cello are a formidable combination.

If you did NOT book early for the Concert on Kentmere, fret not. You have two other opportunities to hear the Pyxis this fall: They will be playing on Thursday, October 29, at noon at First and Central Presbyterian Church just off Rodney Square and on Sunday, November 1 at Grace United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m.

But don’t forget the Newark Symphony Chamber Series which starts on Saturday, October 3, with a star-studded ensemble of players. Thomas DiSarlo, concertmaster of the Philadelphia group Camerata Ama Deus, will play a violin etude by Ernst, and two Mozart violin duos with Amy Walder. Walder will switch to viola to join Susan Kiley, who will trade in her NSO viola role for a violin, and Charles Thomas, cello and Thomas DiSarlo, violin for the Haydn Emperor Quartet. The final piece in the concert will be the Schumann E-flat Piano Quartet with Vincent Craig, piano, DiSarlo, violin, Amy Walder, viola and Charles Thomas, cello.

On October 11 at 4:00 p.m.,near perfect acoustics in the Church of the Holy City will enhance the delightful sound of the Copeland String Quartet: Eliezer Gutman, violin, Thomas Jackson, violin, Nina Cottman, viola and Mark Ward.

And if you are still hungry for chamber music (and macaroons), don’t forget the Hotel Dupont Chamber Series. On October 27, you will hear the Nielsen Wind Quintet, the Strauss Happy Workshop and a local composer, Chuck Holdeman’s Petit Concert.

On Tuesday, December 1, David Amado teams up with his wife, Meredith, for an evening of Mozart violin sonatas at the Hotel Dupont.

There is no shortage of chamber music in the Diamond State this season!


Casting Call: It's Not Mean to be Green

Casting three men and two women (ages 18 years and older) for IT’S NOT MEAN TO BE GREEN, THE MUSICAL, based on the book by Jamie Kleman. Show debuts April, 2010 as part of the Children's Series at The DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, with tours continuing through June. (Candidates must be able to commit to tour schedule.)

Seeking 3 men and 2 women and Stage Manager/Director, with musical and dance background. The play revolves around 5 lead characters: one 8-year-old boy, one 12-year-old girl, a mom, a dad, and a narrator. Auditions to be held two evenings in mid October: one in West Chester and one in Wilmington. Call 302-753-5588 or email to schedule an audition. Please come with musical selection of your choice. Readings will be provided. Actors will be compensated and travel stipends provided. Must be able to perform morning and afternoons, with rehearsals 3 days a week, running November through March.


Shopping "on the Green"

Art on the Green in New Castle is my second Christmas shopping adventure (the first being the Arden Fair).

Since my pal Carol and I had not found Cynthia Marriott’s booth at the Arden Fair, we were delighted to find her at Art on the Green. “But I was at the Arden Fair!“ she protested. “That and here (Art on the Green) are my two best days of the year.” Perhaps we didn’t see her at Arden because, like today, people were in a holding pattern around her booth, looking at her brilliant colors and admiring her self-locking earrings. (More at

Carol went wild over Sioux City Soaps. They had some wonderful scents: cantaloupe, green tea, lemongrass, and rosemary. And we both thought that Plays with broken glass was the wittiest booth title at the fair.

Not only were there a cluster of artists on the hill overlooking the Delaware River, but some 300 exhibitors ranging from license plate mapmakers to knitters to Christmas kitsch crafters made it a great reason to be out in one of the last warm days of the season.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Composer's Work Featured on Recording by Mélomanie

By Guest Blogger, Chuck Holdeman, composer of “Sonate en Trio”, which will appear on the new Mélomanie CD
Chuck is a regional composer of lyrical, contemporary classical music, including opera, orchestral music, songs, chamber music, music for film, and music for educational purposes.

What an outstanding pleasure it is for a composer to hear his work played by the terrific players of Mélomanie! The group is recording the work and I’m delighted that they will also feature a portion of the music at their October 2 soiree and fundraiser.

My approach to writing for the flute, ‘cello, and harpsichord includes taking advantage of the resonance and color of the harpsichord to create a rhythmic and harmonic canvas on which to paint lyrical and intertwining lines for the flute and ‘cello. At other times, the harpsichord has a solo or interacts as an equal in fugato passages.

Sonate en Trio is one of several of my works which pay tribute to Ravel and Debussy, whose seductive and colorful harmonic sense is often related to the impressionist painters who were their contemporaries.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Message from the Delaware Division of the Arts

By Guest Blogger, Paul Weagraff
Paul is the Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, as well as a talented actor! He has performed in numerous productions throughout the Delaware Valley.

Fall has arrived—and with it—school, new programs, and new schedules. This is the time of year when routines get established, or re-established as the case may be. There is no better time to look at what’s going on in the arts and work that into your schedule.

Make the arts a regular part of your routine. Whether visiting a museum, taking in a play, or exploring a new culture through one of Delaware’s many festivals, there are many ways to engage in the arts: as audience, as participant, as patron.

We all know the arts contribute to a vibrant economy, to a comprehensive education, and to strong communities…but only if people participate! October is National Arts and Humanities Month, so take part in the national celebration of arts and culture.

Visit and check out what’s happening in the arts around you!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Newark Film Festival

Perhaps it was my mood or my companion or possibly Al Mascitti’s glib introduction to In the loop, Armando Ianucci’s brilliant mockery of how the US managed to involve the UK in Iraq, but I laughed at the horror of it all and felt better for the catharsis.

Outrage, an exposé of homophobic homosexuals in Congress, left me cold – and yet, I have thought and talked about it more than any other movie and the accusations therein will influence my vote in 2012.

Sin nombre takes one from Honduras through Guatemala and Mexico on top of a train and gave a view of the life immigrants are fleeing when they come breathlessly across the border with Texas.

Hunger was an ice-cold view of the most horrific abuse of IRA prisoners --overlayed by the strained and artificially patrician overtones of Maggie Thatcher.

Valentino provided material for reminiscence of a 60s Vogue reader but the staged intimacies fell flat.

Moon was a diabolical puzzle: Sam Bell notices that his body and brain are failing just weeks before he finishes his three-year contract as a miner on the dark side of the moon.

Summer hours was a surprisingly slow and disjointed story of a mother’s death and the family she leaves behind. Many red herrings and several threads of stories that did not hold together left me happy that I could crown the evening with dinner at Saigon.

But the film which made the entire festival worthwhile was Horse Boy, a film about desperate parents of an autistic boy who decide to take him to Mongolia to be treated by Shamans. There was an effect, but the overly educated parents were slow to attribute it to the witchcraft they had sought.

Barry Schlecker deserves so much credit for the panoply of film choices, the invitation of local celebrities to introduce films, the contest for filmmakers to create 30-second commercials of the Film Fest sponsors, the organized activities in Newark, the contacts with film companies and film initiatives whose web addresses are listed below. Special recognition goes to Brian Soward of the Delaware Film Company for his tireless promotion of the initiative to bring films to Delaware. Please visit the sites listed below to support some of these filmmakers and if you love cinema, please patronize the Newark Cinema Center 3 to keep it afloat for next year’s Newark Film Festival.

You can still see Wiener takes all, Liberation, Valentino, Afghan Star, Outrage, Valentino, Cheri and Horse Boy at the Delaware Art Museum September 25 – 27 .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Delaware Loses an Arts "Jewel"

A few weeks ago, Delaware lost an extraordinary member of its Arts community. Artist Julie Baxendell passed away in August after a brave battle with breast cancer. This Saturday afternoon, a celebration and memorial will be held in her honor at Peninsula Gallery in Lewes (520 E. Savannah Road, Lewes).

I met Julie nearly 10 years ago, while working for The (then) Wilmington Music School. Charged with identifying regional artists to exhibit in the school's space, I began where I thought most sensible: the artist roster of the Delaware Division of the Arts. I systematically started alphabetically, but called off my search entirely when I found Baxendell's work.

To me, her use of color and texture was explosive and playful, and her paintings evoked such "feeling"---I wish I could explain better. I was an instant fan, and she remains among my favorite artists. I have been to numerous exhibits and events where her work was displayed and loved spending time with her and her work. She often painted tranquil scenes of Sussex County where she lived, but her series of Key West, Italy and Portugal are equally as striking.

Not only was she an accomplished talent (she received a 2002 Artist Fellowship from the DDOA and a 2003 Fellowship from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation), she was an extremely joyful and generous individual, donating works for the benefit of such organziations as the Children's Beach House, The Wilmington Music School and AIDS Delaware.
I am grateful to have known her and am honored to own some of her work. I ask you to help keep her contribution to the Delaware Arts scene alive and discover all that she has given us. I know you'll not be disappointed. Thank you, Julie. You will be truly missed!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mélomanie at Blue Ball Barn

Mélomanie, a music ensemble which supports and collaborates withlocal composers, is launching their fall season with a fundraiser concert and party in Blue Ball Barn. The program is one of their signature ‘provocative pairings of early and contemporary works’ – combining four early composers and two contemporary works by local composers.

The contemporary works are two of the works by regional artists which will appear on the ensemble's new CD produced by Meyer Media. Mélomanie has secured grants for the recording project from WSFS Bank, DDOA, educational institutions, individuals and other sources.

Harpsichordist Tracy Richardson says, “Our ensemble has had the good fortune to collaborate with these superb composers over several years, and we want to document our work together in order to bring it to a wider audience.” Contemporary works by Christopher Braddock and Chuck Holdeman and baroque works by Georg Muffat, Michel Corrette, Marco Uccellini, and George Philipp Telemann will be the provocative pairings for the party.

Come to the party at Blue Ball Barn on Friday, October 2 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a preview of works appearing on the CD.

$75 Adults advance tickets
$65 Young Friends of the Arts (35 and under)
$85 Tickets at the door

For more information, visit or email or call 302-764.6338 to reserve tickets.

Teaching Through Image: September Wilmington Art Loop

Great art is often beautiful to behold: Monet’s Water Lilies, symphonies by Mozart and ballets danced by Baryshnikov are all pleasing to the senses. But art may also serve as a vehicle for political or social expression. The powerful work of artist-teachers Michael Kalmbach and Lori Crawford pulled me in off the gallery floor right into their worlds and viewpoints.

Step into the gallery of the Delaware College of Art and Design (DCAD) and you get a fabulous treat. Until October 15, the faculty and staff exhibit is on display. Jewelry, 3-D design, illustration and painting are among the mediums presented by these talented artists. Michael Kalmbach, founding member of the New Wilmington Art Association, and winner of this year’s Christi Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arts Advocacy, was there with one of his works. Presidential Auras, McCain, 2008, (pictured with Michael and son Thurman) is from his Presidential Auras series, which also includes images of Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. It’s hard not to laugh out loud when you see the life-sized cardboard cut-out of McCain that Kalmbach has transformed into a painting using acrylic paint, a felt backdrop, and a plastic covering. McCain stares out with what Kalmbach describes as a menacing glare, while the pattern of acrylic paint creates his “aura”: a drape resembling a Native American fur garb. Kalmbach explained how he calculated saving the creation of his least favorite candidate’s painting for last, when Kalmbach’s technique would be perfected.

For more information about Michael Kalmbach and the New Wilmington Art Association, visit:

Lori Crawford, an associate professor of art at Delaware State University, was awarded the 2008 Individual Artist Fellowship in Works on Paper from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Her three-dimensional works on display at the Mezzanine Gallery in the Carvel Building include computer photographs of women printed on brown paper bags. Crawford explained to me how, years ago in the South, a person’s skin color might be compared to the shade of a brown paper bag. Church doors were sometimes painted that same color, so that parishioners might be assessed before being allowed to enter. Each one of Crawford’s bags shares a woman’s personal experience with race as well as her photograph. One woman speaks of the Vitiligo affecting her skin’s pigmentation. Another woman, of mixed heritage, expresses her exasperation over always having to explain and qualify her ethnic background. Crawford has interviewed women all over the world for this project she thought would end with the completion of her thesis in 1996. She also fashions reliefs of women in action poses from crumpled brown paper bags, with titles like The Bag Lady: Stomping Out Racism and The Bag Lady: Kicking out Sexism. (Pictured with Lori Crawford.) Her works are on display until September 25, 2009.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Arden Fair: Goddesses and Recycled Teapots

Live music, big crowds, and “Hippie-dom” at its best: the Arden Fair delivers! Parked cars were stacked for blocks and happy families and couples strolled on the local roads to get to the fair. The grounds were jammed with little booths, each one with its own wares or creations, from fragrant dried flowers to birdhouses and mobiles made from old silverware and whisky containers.

I stopped to talk to Ehanamane (pictured), an artist based in Smyrna. A member of the Nanticoke tribe of southern Delaware, she spoke to me of the medicine bags and goddesses she creates. Ehanamane uses geodes, leather, beads and metals in fashioning her unique creations. She told me she sensed it was her year to create goddesses she designs to be worn as necklaces. The Nanticoke Indians are Delaware’s only Native American people. Ehanamane, whose name means “Walks Among,” told me she was the only artist representing Native Americans at the fair.

Email her at

The quirkiest creations I saw were those of West Chester-based Maryann Zawicki. Her “Agape Garden” is a collection of fun garden art including bird feeders made from clear bottles and wind chimes of teapots with antique silverware dangling from them. All of Ms. Zawicki’s art is made from recycled materials. When I asked her where she found her materials, she told me, “If you had an old piece of silverware in your trash, and I liked it, I would just take it.” As fellow hoarder and recycler of trash, I enjoyed the whimsical, nostalgic feel of her artwork.


Arden Fair: Margaret's View

The Arden Fair is usually my first Christmas shopping adventure. My friend Carol and I have gone together for years. We arrive at 9 o’clock, walk the fair before the crowds arrive and plan our purchases. Then she has a fruit smoothie and I have two hot dogs. Fortified, we go back with our wallets ready.

We first encountered a revolutionary design of saltshaker – a beautiful ceramic dome, which, when inverted, can be filled with salt. Turn it back over and the shelf inside the dome keeps the salt from falling out until you shake it vigorously. Potter Suzanne Kent says she did not invent this, but her work is beautiful and practical.

But more inventions were present among the jewelers. Ava Leas brought her pins and chain-ges. She uses a simple chain with a ring on either end which she uses to make brooches into chokers. A wonderful way to wear that inherited heavy pin that you love but which would pull your blouse off your shoulder if you pinned it on. Leas creates pins which are layered metal in silvers, golds and bronzes – layered leaves, butterflies with a Jewish CHAI for life. She had many fanciful earrings, too.

Not present, to my chagrin, was Cynthia Marriott who invented the self-locking earring. Each stem is folded back and twisted so it will never fall out of your ear. (How many of us have a collection of single earrings because one fell out!). Will Cynthia show up at the Art on the Green in New Castle?

Also absent was Gwen of Gwen’s Goodies. I usually stock up on her jams for presents. Her rhubarb jam was so good I put down my toast and wrote her a letter right away.

But present, as ever, was George, (pictured above) whose hard work makes everything at Arden work, from directing traffic to saving shows with extra lighting solutions to booking the hottest musicians imagined and to just keeping everyone together. Can’t be done without him.

Suzanne Kent – 610-436-5806
See Ava Leas at
Cynthia Marriott – 610-647-7115
Gwen’s Goodies – 610-872-4041

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Newark Art Loop

Terry Foreman was locking up the door of the Newark Arts Alliance as we strolled up to enjoy our first Newark Art Loop. Apologetic, Foreman offered to reopen just for my friend and me. “The Newark Art Loop is not like the Wilmington Art Loop. The merchants are not hosting an evening like they do in Wilmington,” said Foreman.

Nonetheless, we still found a trove of treasures: At Newark Natural Foods, the delicate gouaches by Barbara Paul Selby had contrasting styles: the full-colored, delicate pastel effect and a gouache of green and blue reminiscent of book illustrations.

At Adria Café, Yaprak Soysal’s photographs showed his mastery of capturing reflections on water and the detail of enlarged flowers.

Samuel Coppola’s technique of intricately detailed
color and pencil work (see black and white sketch above) is an interesting contrast to his fantasy works, which had less appeal for me than the junk food on display in Cereal Bowl where the works are being shown.

Gecko does a regular exhibit of jewelry for each monthly loop: Lisette Ffolkes’ necklaces of jointed Chinese-style fish on a double necklace are worth seeing. A brief tour of Cucina di Napoli left me hungry to see more of Nancy Williams Woodward’s work in acrylic. Caffe Gelato featured acrylics by
Karin Lang – all scenes of Greece in a Mediterranean blue and white. Striking, but I felt they priced a bit high.

The Newark Arts Alliance will have a reception for the artists in the September show juried by Yolanda Chetwin on September 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

ARTY at the Party!

Our fun-loving, party-hopping correspondent, ARTY, is back---this time fresh from the City Theater Company Annual Picnic, held last Saturday at the home of CTC Board Prez, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald.

Arty was thrilled to rub elbows with BOTH long-time CTC actors and supporters as well as new fans & friends. Kerry Kristine McElrone and Jim Burns, CTC Gal and CTC Guy respectively, stopped by, taking time out from work on the upcoming "NOT Just Shakespeare in the Park", a free, three-day outdoor theater collaboration from CTC and the City of Wilmington. Be sure to join them for that event next week---September 8, 9 & 10 in Willingtown Square on Market Street.

CTC Producing Artistic Director Michael Gray was thrilled that there's already buzz on the street for the 09-10 season, launching with "Sweeney Todd" in December. Actor Mary Catherine Kelley, seen most recently as Queen Elizabeth in CTC's "Beard of Avon", arrived with a de-lish cake in hand...amaretto flavor, perhaps? Actor Todd Holtsberry--often seen as the CTC Barker--distributed postcards promoting his performances in "4Play", showing next week at Philly Fringe.

As I polished off my second piece of chicken along with a fabulous potato-and-bean salad from Barb Bullock and James Kassees, I got a sneak-peek at the season marketing materials. Great stuff by Phengo Photography+Design. I'm thinking I can't wait for December....CTC's coming season will deliver an early holiday gift, for sure!

If you, too, cannot wait that long to get your fix of "Delaware's Off-Broadway", look for info on CTC's annual "relive the retro" adult party & fundrasier, PROM NIGHT!, coming October 24.


Got a party you'd like ARTY to attend? Send us an email at