Thursday, September 18, 2014

I am enjoying having a regular gig close to home. it's not something I ever expected to, or thought could happen. You have to know the local demographics to understand that. Chestertown is among the most arts friendly "cities" on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's also among the smallest. At 5,000 and change, it is hardly a city, but it's the highest populated town, by far, for 30 miles in any direction (by car. 20 miles or so to Baltimore, if you can fly over the bay; which makes this area a unique melding of insulated, isolated, and connected.). Most will agree that Chestertown offers the most welcoming community to artists, intellectuals, and overall esoterics on the Eastern Shore. Unlike the other population centers, however, no one passes through here, at least routinely. Unlike cities such as Easton, Cambridge and Salisbury, which sit on the highway, Chestertown is off the highway (Rt 301) by 12 miles, at it's closest point. You pretty much have to want to come here to get here. And people do, we just don't have the advantages that other places have, except for one, and that uniquely; it is Chestertown. 
When my family moved to this area, nearly 2 decades ago, I wasn't looking at it as new turf. I kept my connections I had, and sought to establish new ones in commutable population centers. I left the small pond - and thoughts of big fish status - alone. As was inevitable, though, I became increasingly visible here. Impossible not to be, ultimately, in a small town. Now, all these years later, I am blessed to have established myself in the wonderful arts community here, and with concert venues such as The Mainstay (in nearby Rock Hall) and the Garfield Center for the Arts, where I have performed many times. I have a home here. But one thing was missing; an easy answer to the (incessant) question: where are you playing locally? Even with my relationships with the aforementioned venues, a local performance date could still be months down the road (and I'd have to remember it when stopped cold on the street). Now I can say simply; "Every Wednesday 5-7 and select Sundays 6-8 at JR's." And folks are responding. Every time I play at the "piano bar" I see old friends, and make new ones. Yesterday I walked in to find one of the tables in the piano room already reserved (which is a good thing, as the room generally fills up). Word is getting around   :)  


Post a Comment

<< Home