Local youth founded and organized a nonprofit organization, Eyes Closed Hearts Open, Inc. (E.C.H.O.), to provide students with the opportunity to perform and express themselves in the arts. Now they need your help to raise enough funds to have a theatrical production this coming summer.
Their debut fundraiser, New Voices, Fresh Expressions, will be held this Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 7:30 PM at the Auditorium at the Universities at Shady Grove. Tickets are only $5 and they are available at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased at echo.ticketleap.com or by calling 240.464.5626.
The impressive list of performances includes:
Wootton High School’s CHAOS, Supertonics and Acabellas
UMD’s Terrapin Theatre Troupe
UMD’s Ballroom Dancing
Original short films by Mark Schoonmaker and John Liu
Violinist Alex Yin
Dancer Emma Lou Hebert
Original theater scene by Rocky Nunzio
Josh Eflin, musician
Soprano, Josi Suslov
plus other Visual Artists, original music compositions, and more!
Readers may remember that I was extremely impressed with Mattia D’Affuso’s performance as Lumiere the candlestick, in Beauty and the Beast, while he was a student at Wootton High School. So impressed that I covered his production of the West Bank Story which he created with Salah Czapary. Then, in the summer of 2009, they founded this nonprofit organization together as co-Executive Directors along with Anna Pham, and Joanna Dong and I’m astounded by their drive and dedication!
After we put together the stage adaptation of West Bank Story we started a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Eyes Closed Hearts Open, Inc. Our organization’s mission is to provide youth the opportunity to perform and express themselves in the arts. ECHO advocates youth initiative and originality. We use the arts as a healthy form of communication to unite the community and beyond. Our organization is completely youth founded, run and organized as of now but we hope to expand to all age categories eventually.
Here’s how he describes the event:
On January 4th, 2011 we will be hosting our debut event at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville. The event will introduce the organization to the community and celebrate the talent of young, up-and-coming local guest artists from the Washington Metropolitan Area who represent different branches of the arts such as music, theatre, dance, film, the visual arts, and many more. This event will be a great way to support local artists and to learn more about E.C.H.O.’s goals and future plans.
Take the time to experience, New Voices, Fresh Expressions, their kick-off event, a great way to support them and learn more about E.C.H.O.’s goals and future plans.
Visit E.C.H.O.’s website, eyesclosedheartsopen.org to learn more about the creation of the organization, their projects, and how you can help support them in addition to attending their debut event.
Some time ago we were delighted to announce that >Rockville Central contributor Andrea Jarrell was a winner in the first ever Bethesda Magazine short story and essay contest. It looks like it went well for the magazine, as it is now an annual thing and they are mounting a similar contest this year!
There are two contests: a short story contest and an essay contest. All the details are here. Deadline is February 26.
Here’s the messzage from Susan Coll, the magazine’s fiction editor:
Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Urban Partnership are partnering to sponsor a short story and essay contest, and we are now accepting submissions.
This year the short story contest is open to residents of Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as portions of Northwest Washington, DC (ZIP codes 20015 and 20016). There is a separate category for high school students who live in this same region. Stories may not exceed 4,000 words, and should be sent as a Microsoft Word document to email@example.com.
The essay contest is open to residents of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The topic is “What is your approach to life? Reveal your personal philosophy.” Essays may not exceed 500 words, and should be sent as a Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
>Rockville Central friends Christina Ginsberg and Caryl McNeilly passed this along (independently) to us.
The Rockville Concert Band concert that was cancelled due to the ‘big snow’ has been rescheduled for Sunday, January 10 at 3 pm at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater. The band’s music is always rich, varied, upbeat and professional-sounding – the best advertisement is that audiences always leave smiling.
As always at the Fitzgerald theater there will be abundant seating and free parking. The event is free, though donations are always appreciated. The website is www.rockvilleconcertband.org.
So many gift shops selling all in one place!
- The National Museum of Women in the Arts
- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Decatur House
- National Archives
- Herb Cottage at The National Cathedral
- Just Imagine-Imagination Stage
- Shakespeare Theatre Shop
- Audubon Naturalist Society
- and, of course, the Shops at Strathmore
Thursday, November 12 – 10 AM – 8 PM
Friday, November 13 – 10 AM – 6 PM
Saturday, November 14 – 10 AM – 6 PM
Sunday, November 15 – 10 AM – 5 PM
They are all together for a gigantic festival of sales! These are unique and wonderful shops which will be sure to supply amazing gifts for the holiday season. They are all in ONE PLACE. Admission is $8 and benefits Strathmore’s artistic and educational programs.
>The September edition of Strathmore News really caught my attention. The fine art, gift shops, dance classes, and teas go beyond the music for which Strathmore is renowned. The variety surprised me.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a light lunch, dessert and Strathmore Signature Blend Tea are served with live music in the Shapiro Music Room at the Mansion. $21 Afternoon Teas, $26 Specialty Teas, pre-paid and non-refundable. 301-581-5108. Doesn’t it sound so refined for a special afternoon?
20th Annual Museum Shop Around
In addition to the usual the Shops At Strathmore,from Thursday, November 12th to Sunday, November 15th the gift shops of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Decatur House, National Archives, Herb Cottage at The National Cathedral, VisArts, Just Imagine-Imagination Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Shop, Audubon Naturalist Society, and the Shops at Strathmore will all come together for a gigantic sales experience! These are unique and wonderful shops which will be sure to supply amazing gifts for the holiday season. They are all in ONE PLACE. Admission is $8 and benefits Strathmore’s artistic and educational programs.
Strathmore has a robust exhibition schedule. The galleries will show four exhibitions by next year:
From Intimate to Monumental: John Francis Murray and Julio Salazar
Shades of Pastel: Maryland Pastel Society’s Biennial National Juried Exhibition
Near and Far: Landscapes by the Washington Society of Landscape Painters
76th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature
If you want to really learn more about any of the exhibits, special guided tours provide background and insight for each exhibit:
Murray & Salazar – September 12
Shades of Pastel – October 10
Landscape Painters – December 12
Children, ages 5 and over, can make art during the Children’s Talk and Tour on these days which is free at 10:15 AM but requires reservations. 301-581-5109.
The adult Art Talk is also free on these days at 1 PM and doesn’t need reservations.
One Sheet Wonders with Karen Brown, who will show you how to fold a book in more ways than one on October 5th. $25 with $8 for materials.
The Fall Session starts Monday, September 14, 2009 at the CityDance Center at Strathmore open to children, youth and adults. Modern, ballet and hip hop.
The 2009 Wine, Women & Song with a Jazz Twist
Enjoy fine food and jazz to raise money for Strathmore’s arts education and community programs during this auction of trips, wines and special event raffles. Tickets $125 & $500.
Not just classical, these musical selections are for everyone. Gaelic Storm, Cathy and Marcy, Engelbert Humperdinck, Suzanne Vega and Marc Cohn, Epic Hollywood Soundtracks, and, of course, the National Philharmonic. There’s even a Pink Floyd Experience.
So I most whole heartedly agree, Strathmore is “At the Intersection of Art and Life”. Click here for the full calendar.
From our friends at >VisArts:
VisArts is seeking works of arts that use new media and technology to eliminate psychological or physical boundaries; and, challenge a gallery’s role as mediator between artworks and viewers.
New Media and technology have the power to eliminate conventional, artistic boundaries. Interactive art, for example, encourages viewers to complete the artwork by actively transforming it visually and conceptually. Artwork can be exhibited remotely , with only the concept (rather than the physical object) in a gallery. Likewise, a viewer may experience a work of art even if they are not in the gallery with the object.
The exhibition is December 3, 2009 through February 14, 2010.
Many people may not be aware that Our Fair City — Rockville, Maryland — and the surrounding county have a thriving folk music scene. Montgomery County is not known for having tons of musical venues but the folk scene does not require huge auditoriums and dark watering holes.>
In fact, here in Rockville there’s a folk hub that is perking along nicely, thank you. It’s more than the periodic coffee houses at our many churches, and community open mics. Regional music association Focus Music has a regular concert series at Branded ’72 (on Gude).
And then there are house concerts. These are — you guessed it — concerts in people’s homes. It is an incredible environment in which to hear music, because you can really focus in. And for the performers, they know they are playing to an audience that is there to listen.
On Saturday night, Cheryl Kagan and David Spitzer, the team that brings you the Folk ‘N Great Music house concert series, hosted the DC-area debut of the Guy Mendilow Band. They play a blend of many different world traditions with impeccable musicianship, an engaging charisma, and just plain good attitude.
Not only that, but Guy Mendilow is himself both a citizen of the world (grew up in Israel, and has lived on, it seems, just about every continent) and also a long-time student of indigenous musical traditions. So the evening included Guy’s amazing overtone singing, use of the berimbau (made from sticks and cabling from old tires), found percussion, the mouth harp, and more. The songs themselves, many of which Guy discovered from centuries-old traditions in his travels, are sung in languages ranging from Hebrew to Portugese and of course English.
I did take some video (quality iffy, used a cell phone) and this song is in a language Guy made up!
(Personnel: Guy Mendilow, Andy Bergman, Aubrey Johnson, Marcelo Woloski, Tomoko Omura)
>This past weekend’s performances of Beauty and the Beast burst from the stage in a professional and intensive production at Wootton High School. Chosen by the Wootton Center for the Arts as their Cappie nomination for the year, they pulled out all the stops in hopes of receiving awards from the student critics.
When Jessica Futran began to sing as Belle, my first thought was that her vocals must have been prerecorded, which didn’t seem possible because you could tell the other performers were singing live. Then I finally accepted the obvious, she was moving around the stage effortlessly with a perfect voice and tremendous talent. All her scenes were touching but the intimate gestures and voices in No Matter What with Alex Garretson (playing her father) put me on their side. This scene introduces the storyline and we learn they are simply not like everyone else. Another stand out performance was delivered by Mattia D’Affuso as a truly convincing and animated Lumiere. The entire cast was strong with obvious hard work and excellent direction from Adam Graham and Carla Ingram, who mention in the Director’s Note that they both have girls and “spent countless hours in front of the Disney Princess series of movies”.
The set’s bold-graphic background and bare-twisted trees were enhanced by the detailed paintings of objects brought to three-dimensional life. All the choreography of the large cast unfolded in a fast-paced flourish, especially the wolves frightening bounds in the dark forest. Elaborate costumes rented and owned by the company matched any imaginable theater production creating a rollicking, delightful display during Be Our Guest. My little seven-year-old noticed the changes occurring to the magical inhabitants of the Beast’s castle as they became less and less human. The musical reminded me of an impressive fireworks display when each moment must be the finale, yet it keeps going to even greater heights.
While reading one of her many beloved books, Belle daydreams about a happy ending. This show delivers it. You can still be amazed by this student production next weekend at 7:30 PM on March 27 & 28, and 2 PM on March 29, 2009. $15 for reserved seats. $10 general admission in the back and side sections.
>The following Contributor Review is by Rockville City Council member Piotr Gajewski:
The Baker’s Wife by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) is a funny yet touching story with many life’s lessons in the bargain. The action takes place in a small French town of Concorde, which is itself a “character” in the plot (much as is Rockville on Rockville Central!).
The Richard Montgomery High School production is expertly directed by Denise Duvall Saladyga and conducted by Peter Perry. The cast is uniformly strong with good singing voices and often able dancing. I was at the premiere and thoroughly enjoyed the show and recommend it for its great community entertainment value. Congratulations to all who worked to make this production the success that it is! The remaining performances are March 20 and 21 at 7:00 p.m.
>From our friends at Richard Montgomery High School:
Come join the Richard Montgomery High School Blackmaskers as they produce the Steven Schwartz musical, THE BAKER’S WIFE!!
This unique musical combines the singing, dancing and acting talents of the cast with the incredible skills of the crews to create a delicious and delectable experience of the senses that is sure to delight you.
The baker will provide you with eye-popping and wonderful oven-fresh goods that are low-carb, low-cal and low-sodium–perfect for anyone’s diet or appetite!!!
Don’t miss this exquisite theatrical experience!!!
Friday March 13th, Saturday March 14th, Friday March 20th, and Saturday March 21st at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday March 15 at 2:00 p.m. in the RM Auditorium!!!
Richard Montgomery High School
250 Richard Montgomery Dr
Rockville MD 20852
Plenty of free parking
Tickets: $5 for students / $10 for adults
Tickets are available at the door or can be purchased in advance on-line and then follow the directions to reserve your seats for any performance. And the processing fee is approximately $1.37 per ticket
Don’t forget to visit the Blackmaskers Website.
You won’t want to miss this show–where else can you find a musical with a cat AND 72 loaves of bread?
As you may know, Our Fair City has a “buskers’ program” in Town Square. This means that if you would like to be a street performer, you need to get a permit. Auditions are coming up for this season’s festivities. This from the City’s press release:>
The City of Rockville invites jugglers, magicians, clowns, musicians, mimes and street performers to audition for the chance to exhibit their talents in Rockville Town Square this year.
Auditions will be held Tuesday, March 10, and Wednesday, March 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive.
Performances may include playing an instrument, singing, mime, dance, theater and clowning.
“Street performers really add to the fun and energetic feel of Town Square,” said Colleen McQuitty, special events manager. “We think the buskers program is great for the City and the performers who have the chance to showcase their skills for a new audience.”
A busker permit is required prior to performing on Rockville streets and sidewalks. Permits specify when and where performances are allowed to occur.
To schedule an audition, complete an application available on-line here and submit it to the City of Rockville, Department of Recreation and Parks at 111 Maryland Avenue. City staff will contact applicants to schedule a specific audition time upon receipt of the complete application. Once auditions are complete, permits will be issued on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on the buskers program, including applications, performance guidelines and permit locations and times, go here or contact Jen Betts, events specialist at 240-314-8604 or email@example.com.
>Uli Zislin is a man of great passion. As I was leaving his Museum, he handed me a guest book and I found myself writing:
“Your dedication is inspiring. When people love something and share, the world is a better place.”
Thirty years ago in Moscow, Mr. Zislin received three books of poetry as a gift from his wife. He has been collecting ever since. In 1997, he founded the Washington Museum of Russian Poetry and Music in his apartment in Rockville. Every available space is filled with books and artifacts on Russian culture including over 200 cassettes and films. He avidly introduces the five Russian Poets of the Silver Age in his collection Tsvetaeva, Mandelstam, Pasternak, Akhmatova, and Gumilev. With portraits, words, and true feeling, he tells their stories and provides English translations of their work.
He has written music for over 100 Russian poems. While playing his guitar he sang Talisman by Pushkin for me. Although I studied Russian many years ago, I read along in English and felt the emotion of his music and voice. He brings poetry to life. He self-taught himself piano and would play with his son. When his son was busy with his own family, Mr. Zislin learned guitar so he could perform by himself. He has shared his music in over 400 performances all over the United States from New York to San Francisco, as well as in France, Canada, Georgia, and Israel. He’s available to play for groups. He also has songs for kids which he wrote years ago for his own children.
Mr. Zislin has a dream. He dreams of a permanent place to house the Museum. His greatest desire is to share Russian culture, literature, sculpture and poetry with everyone in America. America has given him a good life and he wants to help. He doesn’t want to emphasize government and politics, but rather the culture. He believes it is good for our soul, minds, and emotions. He is right.
People from all over the world send him between 100-200 gifts per year. His collection continues to grow with books, mini-books, stamps, wooden spoons, posters, and bells. He has very complete collections of books by each poet and anthologies about their work. This is the beginning of a real library. If you have an interest in helping him find a public place to expand, contact him and join the dream.
The public is welcome at these upcoming performances:
September 27 and 28, 2008 in Olney Theatre.
Bell Cantantis 5th Anniversary Concerts. Phone: 301/266-7546, 301/468-8682.
Sunday, October 5, 2008. 2 PM The 13th Tsvetaeva Bonfire.
Near Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville.
Enjoy the music outdoors with a nice fall bonfire.
Should you go, meet Mr. Zislin, and hear his music? “Da!”
Thanks to our friends at the >Gazette, we learned about a nascent literary magazine aimed at the 9-16 set, produced by a brother-and-sister duo who got their start at Wootton High School.
It’s called JJ Express and it’s refreshingly a real magazine — you know, the kind you can hold in your hands. Subscriptions cost a low low $21 per year and you can easily subscribe online at this link (which I encourage everyone to go do right now).
The magazine is soliciting work from artists and writers — go here for guidelines — as well as ideas for youth-centered activities in the community.
The magazine was started as an informal thing by Jenny and Jack Chen and it soon grew into more. Now it’s had its first honest-to-goodness printed issue (Winter 2007-2008) and getting ready for the next.
Here’s how JJ Express describes itself:
JJ Express is now the new, children’s magazine for children ages 9-16 years old. It is unique because it revolves around a collection of comics/cartoons created by professionals and amateurs alike. These are supplemented by articles, activities, and stories that promote youth today to explore the possibilities in the world we live in and take responsibility for the home that we will inhabit for decades to home.
Jenny and Jack have helpfully posted a video that gives more insight into their philosophy behind the magazine:
JJ Express is supported by a grant from Youth Venture, which is an organization dedicated to promoting positive change among youth.
(Image from JJ Express.)
Now’s your chance to work for this wonderful establishment, but you will have to get your application in before August 15!
VisArts currently has job openings for:
We don’t normally post job openings, but we wanted to help the good folks at VisArts out!