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The Arts Scene

Local Art Scene is "Out of this World"

Kathryn Franke
MSM Class of 2013

(4/2011) Before I tell you about all of the fine arts activities that have been in the area recently, allow me to tell you this story. It’s not every day that you go on an 80-minute run with two of your teammates and come back with a job offer. Little did I know that as my teammates and I started our run that one fateful day that this would be the case. Megan (who is now the sports writer for this paper), Steph and I were just about to turn around and head back to school when we saw a man approaching us from his driveway. Not until later on did we find out that he was Mike Hillman, the editor of this very paper that you are reading right now. At first we were unsure and to be perfectly honest, a little hesitant to keep going in the man’s direction. I mean, who wouldn’t be? But as we got closer, he asked us if he could take a picture of us to put in the newspaper, so we of course willingly obliged. What girl turns down a photo shoot, right? As he asked for our names to put in the caption for the picture, he asked what our majors were and told us he’d love to have us write for the newspaper. And then, as we thanked him and promised to contact him about the newspaper, he told us to be sure to come back any time to and he’ll throw us on one of his horses!

So here I am, the new Fine Arts writer for the Emmitsburg News Journal. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kathryn Franke, and I am a sophomore at Mount Saint Mary’s University. I am working on a double major in Fine Arts and Communications, and I have a minor in Spanish. I am a member of my school’s cross country and track and field teams, which as I said before is ironically the reason I came across this opportunity! I am one of those people who thrives off of being busy, which might explain the ever-growing amount of clubs and activities I am involved in. I blame that on running. I’m convinced that the fast-paced attitude of racing spread over into my everyday life. I am on the Marketing Committee of our Student Government Association and my class ring committee that designs our class rings that we will be purchasing soon. I am on a Library Ad-Hoc Committee with faculty members that aims to revamp the library on our campus over the next few years, and how can I leave out the karate classes I take with Executive Vice President Dan Soller every Tuesday and Thursday morning? Out of all of these interests, the thing that I am most passionate about is art. I love everything about art, and I am so excited that I get to write about all of the different ways that art is prevalent in the Emmitsburg area.

Now let’s get back to business. There have been many interesting events going on in the region that hopefully you got to attend! The first was the Celtic Concert that was held on Thursday, March 3 at the Knott Auditorium at Mount Saint Mary’s University. This concert has been held annually at the Mount for five years, and it is always an evening filled with traditional and contemporary music for people of all ages to enjoy. The opening performance set the stage for a dynamic event by showcasing the members of the locally based Teelin Irish Dance Company. Following that were outstanding performances by two other very popular bands, Edsall Road and Tinsmith. The Emmitsburg and Thurmont libraries, in partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University and the Town of Emmitsburg, present this event to the public annually.


For those who were unable to attend the event or would just like to know more about the groups that performed, Edsall Road is a group of four musicians with backgrounds in American Fife and Drum Corps. Passionate about Celtic music, they are able to blend traditional and modern Irish, Scottish, and American folk music to create a unique, cultural rhythm that has brought them audiences all over the DC-metropolitan region. These musicians are able to push the boundaries of Celtic music and also maintain their traditional roots. They provide a unique combination of what is traditional and modern and never fail to keep the audience enthralled.

Tinsmith is a folk band made up of high-energy musicians that play traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia. Tinsmith has influences ranging from blues to bluegrass, funk, jazz and mountain music. This band takes traditional songs and makes them a part of the new century, tying in the old with the new, the past with the present. Tinsmith has been putting on energetic performances for their audiences since 1997, and they have been very successful from the start. They have won the WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Association) multiple times and have played at a variety of respectable places, including The Barns at Wolf Trap Park for the Performing Arts, Potomac Celtic Festival, The Institute of Musical Traditions, and Blackrock Center for the Performing Arts.

FCPL Director Darrell Batson says, "This celebration is a wonderful way to pay tribute to the heritage of our community, and to promote our library services in the northern part of the county. We are pleased as always to partner with the Emmitsburg community." This was indeed a community event, with almost the entire auditorium being filled up at the night of the concert! There were around 450 guests in attendance. This event holds a special place in the hearts of many people throughout the Emmitsburg area. Derek Gee of the Emmitsburg Library states, "By using the facility at the Mount, we have benefitted from a cross-promotion of programs around the North Region. Activities in the town and at the library are advertised through Mount St. Mary's avenues and we in turn have promoted for them. Celtic music has always had a place in this part of the County and now we have a way that we can celebrate it annually, in a centralized location that people can depend on from year to year."

According to Susan Cardella of the Emmitsburg Library, the event "has somewhat of an ‘educational’ tone- the musicians will talk to the audience about specific musical instruments, and give the background and origins of the songs." Along with highlighting the Celtic heritage, the concert goes beyond that and speaks to people of all backgrounds. Cardella said, "I believe that it makes every person aware of his or her own individual heritage. Since ‘Celtic’ heritage itself is diverse, there are lots of people who fit into that very large ‘ethnic’ family. I believe the event to be the only one of its kind or magnitude in this area, so it certainly could be said that it’s the only event that spreads its particular level of culture and diversity. It’s also free and open to every single person. It’s also a great event to just sit and enjoy the music." The event proved to be a success as usual, bringing the Celtic heritage to Emmitsburg through music and performances with a global influence.

Another event that took place was the annual BookFest, a free, local festival that brings fun and education to the whole family. On March 12th and 13th, there were activities planned at five Frederick County Public Library branches, including C. Burr Artz Public Library, Thurmont Regional Library, Urbana Regional Library, Emmitsburg Branch Library, and Walkersville Branch Library. This year marked the third year of BookFest. Last year, the theme was Superheroes. This year, BookFest took everyone on a whole new type of adventure. This year, BookFest had an "out of this world" theme. The event was filled with things related to science fiction, fantasy and science. According to Liz Bowen, Library Associate at the C. Burr Artz Public Library, "BookFest has always been an incredible event, providing both free entertainment and educational programs. Last year, we had a ‘superhero’ theme, from promoting everyday heroes to comic book heroes. This year, BookFest is leaping terrestrial bounds with an ‘out of this world’ theme with anything from outer space and fantasy to exploring the unknown."

At BookFest, children were able to meet characters like Darth Vader and watch "out of this world" movies such as Wall-E and Star Wars. The adventure continued while those who attended learned about science fiction, astronomy, paranormal research, costume making, and fan fiction. An event specific to the Emmitsburg Branch Library was "Cosmic Adventures Traveling Planetarium," where families could come into the dome and marvel at the constellations, moon phases, and visible planets of the night sky. The goal of BookFest is to promote literacy and reading by offering informational programs for any age group.

The libraries in this area have been going above and beyond to put forth activities and programs that highlight the importance of the arts in our lives. The arts are not only things like drawing, acting, and singing; they are a way for us to utilize our creativity in a way that makes our lives more interesting and unique. With just these two events, you could learn about your heritage, or maybe a heritage that you have never known about before. You could take a trip out of this world and learn amazing things about outer space. You could expand on what you know and then go on to explore the unknown. The possibilities are endless, and more and more opportunities are being made for each of us to make fine arts more influential in our lives. So be sure to be on the lookout for more exciting events coming your way!

Read other articles on the local arts scene by Kathryn Franke