Friday, June 3, 2011

Riverfront Concert Series Kicks Off Thursday, June 16, with Carribean Trio in the Egg


CHESTERTOWN, MD— The popular Washington College Riverfront Concert Series, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, returns for a second year with a stellar lineup of free Thursday evening concerts on the riverfront lawn of the Custom House. The series will kick off June 16 with Caribbean trio Sweet Lime and Passion, continue June 30 with folk duo Magpie, and conclude July 21 with blues/hot jazz duo The Blue Rhythm Boys.

All three events will begin at 6:30 p.m. behind the Custom House, corner of High and Water streets in downtown Chestertown. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and picnic dinners. Lemonade and cookies will be provided free of charge. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will take place in The Egg, a performance space in Hodson Hall Commons on the main Washington College campus.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2010, the Riverfront Concert Series builds on the Center’s longstanding interest in the musical traditions of the Chesapeake Bay and its rich heritage of storytelling. The series host is the Starr Center’s program manager, Michael Buckley, whose weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM (Sundays, 7 to 10 a.m.) includes the widely acclaimed interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.” Special assistance is provided by Yerkes Construction.

“We were happy that last summer’s concerts drew such an enthusiastic response from the community,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. “We’re delighted to be able to expand the series this year, from two concerts to three, and provide more opportunities for our friends and neighbors to enjoy great music here on the beautiful Chester River waterfront.”

The trio opening the Riverfront Concert Series on June 16, Sweet Lime and Passion, is one of the capital region’s premier arts and education groups. Trio members David Boothman, Major Boyd, and Elizabeth Melvin offer audiences a “Caribbean cornucopia” of musical styles, including calypso, reggae, soca, and zouk (French Caribbean dance music).

A native of Trinidad, keyboardist Boothman has worked with artists and producers from Derek Walcott to Andre Tanker to Scofield Pilgrim, and has toured extensively with the group Kysofusion. Marimba player Melvin has worked for the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and has studied ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. Together, Boothman and Melvin serve as artistic directors of the Annapolis-based Caribbean Arts Central. A 13-year veteran of the Caribbean Arts Jazz Ensemble (CAJE), Major Boyd is one of Baltimore’s top saxophone players. The group’s first album, Sweet Lime and Passion, was released in 2008. For more on the group, visit

The series continues on June 30 with acclaimed contemporary folk duo Magpie. Blending blues, jazz, country, and swing with contemporary folk music, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have been performing together for nearly 40 years, using music to bring people together, teach schoolchildren about history and ecology, and encourage commitment to social and environmental justice.

Leonino and Artzner are master artists with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and have created several thematic school programs on topics such as the Great Depression, the Underground Railroad, and the civil rights movement. In 2000, Magpie collaborated with scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to create a “museum musical” about the life cycle of the Chesapeake Bay’s most famous resident, the blue crab. “Tales of the Blue Crab” premiered at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, and is now a traveling show performed in schools around the country. For more on Magpie, visit

The Blue Rhythm Boys will round out the 2011 series with a performance on July 21. Blending the blues √† la Mississippi John Hurt with the “hot club” swing of Django Reinhardt, the Blue Rhythm Boys have delighted audiences with their tight vocals and hot guitar playing since 1997. Duo members Tom Mitchell and Jim Stephanson’s smoky mix of jazz and blues has won the group a wide following. For more on the Blue Rhythm Boys, visit

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The college’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit