Twilight Performances July 19-21 Feature Afro Bop Alliance, US Navy Band Commodores, Jennifer Cooper
As the College of Southern Maryland's (CSM) Twilight Performance Series kicked off its 10th season of free, family-friendly entertainment July 12, audiences were captivated by Chautauqua's historical portrayals of 20th century composer Duke Ellington, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and novelist Ernest Hemingway July 14.
The annual Chautauqua program, an interactive, family-friendly presentation, is an educational program of Maryland Humanities presented in partnership with CSM. This year's theme, “Masters of Their Craft,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize by featuring three recipients, Ellington, Brooks and Hemingway.
Ellington is portrayed by Tevin Brown, a vocalist, pianist and actor from Baltimore and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Regarded as one of America's greatest composers, Ellington was an incomparable showman with a career that spanned more than 50 years. His talent and skill earned him several awards and allowed him to collaborate with legendary musicians including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and CountBasie. After dropping out of high school in 1927, Ellington pursued music full time and through his efforts and hard work, he won a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and posthumously a Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1999. On May 24 1974, at the age of 75, Ellington died in New York City. To hear Brown's take on Ellington and his takeaways for the audience, visit https://youtu.be/XGL75sB4sDs.
Brooks is portrayed by Dorothy Mains Prince, the founder of Sojourns, an educational enterprise designed to bridge the lives of outstanding African-American women to community groups nationwide. Brooks is best known as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her anthology “Annie Allen.” From her native Chicago, Brooks was influenced to write about the black experience simply by looking out her window. In addition to her Pulitzer, Brooks earned numerous honors throughout her life. She succeeded Carl Sandburg as the Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968; from 1985-86, she served as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress; and in 1995, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. On December 3, 2000, at the age of 83, Brooks died at her home in Chicago. To hear Prince's take on Brooks and her thoughts on Brooks' poetry, visit https://youtu.be/zzotzSeWVMA.
Hemingway is portrayed by Brian Gordon Sinclair, author of “Hemingway On Stage” and a graduate of The National Theater School of Canada. Hemingway was an accomplished athlete in his youth, who excelled in his English classes and was employed as a journalist following high school. After volunteering for the Red Cross as an ambulance driver in World War I in Europe, Hemingway left the Red Cross and returned to the United States after sustaining injuries to his legs. He took a job at “The Toronto Star” and was subsequently sent to Paris as a correspondent for the newspaper. It was there he meet and collaborated with several writers and artists including Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound and James Joyce while working on his own novels and poems. For “The Old Man and the Sea,” Hemingway earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. On July 2, 1961, at the age of 61, Hemingway died in Ketchum, Idaho. To hear Sinclair describe the takeaways for audiences, visit https://youtu.be/LkfC_RMIjzE.
Chautauqua is a program of Maryland Humanities presented in partnership with the College of Southern Maryland. The Maryland Humanities, Inc. is an independent non-profit organization which receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maryland Division of Historical and Cultural Programs, corporations, foundations and individuals. For information on Chautauqua, visit http://www.mdhumanities.org/programs/chautauqua/.
For information on Twilight and the upcoming season of performances at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/community/the-arts/index.html.
Sidebar: Poetry Reading List from Contemporaries Prior to Brooks' Chautauqua Portrayal
As an introduction to the Chautauqua performance by Dorothy Mains Prince in portraying Poet Gwendolyn Brooks, CSM Instructor Rachael Heinhorst from the Languages and Literature Division offered a poetry reading from several of Brooks's contemporaries.
Heinhorst's reading list included the works of:
From Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka), “Snake Eyes,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=29579 and
“Short Speech to my Friends,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/58014.
From Rita Dove, “Reverie in Open Air,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/41777, “Dawn Revisited,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/51663 and
“Persephone, Falling,” https://kinnareads.com/2011/03/24/poem-46-persephone-falling-by-rita-dove/.
From Langston Hughes, “I Look at the World,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/52005, “Mother to Son,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47559 and
“Theme for English B,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47880.
From Lucille Clifton, “alabama 9/15/63,” http://muse.jhu.edu/article/5943, “why some people be mad at me sometimes,” http://poetry.newgreyhair.com/post/11060475291/why-some-people-be-mad-at-me-sometimes-lucille, “blessing the boats,” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/58816 and “won't you celebrate with me” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/core-poems/detail/50974.
Sidebar: Twilight Performances Continue at CSM Campuses July 19-21
CSM Twilight Performance Series: Afro Bop Alliance. 6:45 p.m., July 19. College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown Campus, 22950 Hollywood Rd., Leonardtown. This band, founded by Grammy Award winning percussionist Joe McCarty, will perform Afro-Cuban music as part of the CSM Twilight Performance Series. Bring a picnic and a lawn chair or blanket (no alcoholic beverages permitted). Performers subject to change. Free. 301-934-7828; http://www.csmd.edu/twilight.
CSM Twilight Performance Series: U.S. Navy Band Commodores. 6:45 p.m., July 20. College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus, 8730 Mitchell Rd., La Plata. As the U.S. Navy's premier jazz ensemble for more than 40 years, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores will perform an eclectic mix of traditional big band and jazz. Bring a picnic and a lawn chair or blanket (no alcoholic beverages permitted). Performers subject to change. Free. 301-934-7828; http://www.csmd.edu/twilight.
CSM Twilight Performance Series: Jennifer Cooper and GrooveSpan. 6:45 p.m., July 21, College of Southern Maryland, Prince Frederick Campus, 115 J. W. Williams Rd., Prince Frederick. GrooveSpan is the ensemble gathered by Southern Maryland native Jennifer Cooper to satiate her desire to sing classic tunes from a wide variety of genres, decades, styles and grooves of popular music. The performance will be presented as part of CSM's Twilight Performance Series. Each week the series features a different performance on each campus. Bring a picnic and a lawn chair or blanket (no alcoholic beverages permitted). Free. 301-934-7828; http://www.csmd.edu/twilight.
Twilight Performances Series are funded in part by a grant from the St. Mary's County Arts Council, awarded by the Maryland State Arts Council. For information on the Twilight Performance Series, visit http://www.csmd.edu/twilight.