Posts Tagged ‘events’

Announcing the winners of the 2010 Executive’s Awards!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Drumroll please…

Lifetime Impact Award – Carol Trawick

Lifetime Achievement Award – Tamar Hendel

Business or Individual Patron Award – The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

Community Award – Suzanne Richard, Open Circle Theatre

Education Award - Eve Burton, Montgomery County Public Libraries

Emerging Leader Award – Michael Bobbitt, Adventure Theatre

Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award – Shizumi Shigeto Manale

Volunteer Award – Kenneth Rucker, National Capital Trolley Museum

Congrats to this year’s Executive’s Awards winners! Don’t forget to join us at the ceremony where they and recipients of AHCMC FY10 and FY11 grants will be honored.

County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities
Monday, October 18 at 7:00 pm
Music Center at Strathmore
Free and open to all; no RSVP necessary
Visit for more details

IGNITE! Transforming Business With Creativity

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Thanks to all of you who came out to IGNITE! For those of you who attended, you know what a spectacular event it was. Eliot Pfanstiehl kicked off the Speed Networking session, and after that, it was ON! As any of us who have attended a meeting or conference with people we haven’t yet met know, those first few moments after registration can be uncomfortable.  But Eliot made certain that we all got to know each other right quick, and by the time the announcement urging us to grab our lunches for the keynote sounded, the halls were abuzz and there was real excitement in the air. Sara Rosen from Congressman Van Hollen’s office remarked on the buzz as she made her way to the keynote and afterward, said she found it energizing, stimulating and informative!

Conference attendees during the speed networking session. Photo by Archer Sierra

Seth Kahan delivered a mesmerizing keynote and provided us practical and creative ways to interact with others in the workplace; ideas on how to start a rave for your business or product; creative problem solving tips and techniques and much, much more. Seth was fun and honest and I left knowing that I too, can get change right!

Seth Kahan with presenter Sam Horn during the lunch keynote. Photo by Archer Sierra

Frankly, I know many would agree that though the sessions were wonderful, they were simply too short! Nonetheless, Sam Horn crammed her session chock full of great ideas on how to use alliteration and alphabetizing techniques (to name a few) in ways I had never even considered for business, and people walked away with a new understanding of the tenets of improvisation and idea implementation steps from Bruce Nelson and Jimi Kinstle that had idea “light bulbs” igniting over many heads! Win Wenger gave us the Wind Tunnel concept to sharpen our ability rid ourselves of brain clutter and  open ourselves to the right idea for any business or personal conundrum. Several attendees noted that they were inspired to close the dichotomy between the creative, artistic self, and the professional business self as a result of the conference, and frankly, I was too!

Conference attendees in Sam Horn's session. Photo by Archer Sierra

I loved Joan Michelson’s idea that consensus can mean plain vanilla and her challenge to embrace conflict and see what we can do to use conflict to help us get to the next phase in our thinking. While embracing conflict may be counterintuitive for some, I’ve learned that something that emanates from a different perspective can stimulate creativity — that is, if you let it. Sometimes a crisis or conflict can force us to look at thinks in a new light, with a new mind. And, considering the competition, that is surely a good thing!

Michelle James helped participants explore how improvisational theatre can help leaders enhance leadership performance, and when crisis, conflict, challenges arise, that’s just what’s needed. This is where “thinking on our feet” comes in and it’s certainly helped in my career! While I tried to be everywhere at once, I simply couldn’t, so I missed Julie Lenzer Kirk’s session, but I hear it was fantastic and why wouldn’t it be? She’s a great speaker and writer, and businesses need to be able to evaluate and recognize the best of many good ideas and act on them – anybody got Cliff Notes from her session?

Playback Theatre during the Conference Finale. Photo by Archer Sierra

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that Playback Theatre did a spectacular job of tying the whole thing together by playing back  the effect of the conference on participants and demonstrating how the creative actually ties in to business practice – simply fascinating. Frankly, by then I was spent. But our aerialists Ann Behrends and Nina Charity and Happenstance Theatre helped create just the atmosphere at the Schmoozefest conducive to chatting up my colleagues and hearing the plethora of great ideas they were taking home in the “goodie bag” of their minds!

Ann Behrends, our fabulous aerialist, during the SchmoozeFest. Photo by Archer Sierra

Happenstance Theatre during the SchmoozeFest. Photo by Archer Sierra

So there you have it. We KNOW creativity is THE business imperative and at IGNITE! we saw it. We felt it. We experienced it. We embraced it. We’re harnessing it. Away we go! How about you?

Willard Jenkins

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival is this weekend! Here are some thoughts from the Festival’s Artistic Director, Willard Jenkins.

Sometimes we find that unfortunately a great idea that may have appeared robust and healthy in its time was in reality the product of one driven individual.  Such was the case with the former East Coast Jazz Festival.  When the beloved vocalist and educator Ronnie Wells passed on to ancestry the splendid idea known as the East Coast Jazz Festival expired as well.  Many of us were always struck at the great party atmosphere of the ECJF, and of particular interest to me was the healthy audience that always attended, an audience which tended to be a more mature, larger African American audience than one experiences at the usual jazz festival; to be sure that audience was quite comfortably diverse.  Obviously that had a lot to do with the talent philosophy that Ronnie always maintained — deep in the blues, drenched in soul, with a great many of her vocalist peers on hand to give the Great American Songbook a thorough workout. It was with those very salient factors in mind that a committee of good folks came together at the urging of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.  Our deliberations yielded the brand new Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.

Our goals have always been to rekindle the spirit of the ECJF,  pay homage to Ronnie Wells and her efforts, engage as many of our finest Washington, DC metro region artists as we could, leaven that with some of outstanding traveling jazz soloists and guests, capture the joi de vivre of the ECJF in terms of audience, and do our best to cure the mid-winter blues around these parts.  Given the snows and frigid winds we’ve been experiencing around these here this winter, the weekend of February 19-21 at the Hilton Hotel on Rockville Pike can’t come soon enough. The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival is guaranteed to throw another log on the fire and deliver some of the swingingest and down to the bone soulful jazz the local arts & culture scene will experience this year.  For our complete lineup, constant updates and other festival information please visit

- Willard Jenkins, Artistic Director of the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will take place this weekend, February 19-21, at the Hilton Rockville. Visit for more information. You can also visit Willard’s blog, The Independent Ear, at

Mulgrew Miller

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival is a week away! Here are some thoughts from one of the weekend’s featured artists and jazz pianist extraordinaire, Mulgrew Miller.

What initially attracted you to Jazz music?
The ability and opportunity to creatively express one’s self at a high level of musical integrity was what I found most enticing about Jazz

When was the moment you realized you had a passion and desire to learn and perform Jazz?
My passion happened in an instant when I saw pianist Oscar Peterson on a late talk show in 1970.

Who are two people who were influential in your early education as a Jazz musician?
Two people who were influential in my early studies of jazz were pianist, James Williams and LA saxophonist Rudolph Johnson, both deceased.

As an artist performing nationally and internationally, what are a few reasons you find it’s important to perform at the MAJF?
The MAJF offers a vast number of artist who will play together are not usually heard in that combination or context.

Tell us a bit about the impact that Jazz festivals had on your growth as musician during your early years as a performer.
Playing in Jazz Festivals gives one the experience of playing for large audiences. It also affords one the opportunity to hang out and hear other musicians.

Visit Mulgrew Miller’s website at The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will be held at the Hilton Rockville from Friday, February 19 to Sunday, February 21. More information is available at

Bret Primack: The Jazz Video Guy

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Roy Haynes, Bret Primack and Sonny Rollins

An NYU Film School graduate, Bret Primack began producing video for the web in 1999. His documentaries and video podcasts include Orrin Keepnews, Producer for the Concord Music Group and The Sonny Rollins Podcast for Rollins’ own Doxy Records, an ongoing documentary about the Saxophone Colossus. Read what makes the “Jazz Video Guy” tick.

What initially attracted you to Jazz music?
My Dad was a pianist who listened to big band music so I heard Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Maynard Fergsuon quite a bit, when I was very young. But the real catalyst for my interest in Jazz was Louis Armstrong. I saw him on TV and in a movie called The Five Pennies, with Danny Kaye. Pops was so dynamic that I wanted to jump into the screen and join the parade. Eventually, I did.

When was the moment you realized you had a passion for Jazz?
My involvement with this music has been as a writer and filmmaker. I went to NYU Film School in the late 60s, where I spent my days studying with Martin Scorsese and my nights hanging with musicians in the kitchen of the Village Vanguard. After I graduated, I worked in documentaries and industrials for a few years but eventually became a Jazz Journalist for Down Beat and  JazzTimes. I wrote hundreds of articles and liner notes and happily got online in the mid-90s, helping to found the first major Jazz site, Jazz Central Station. As the Pariah, I was also the first Jazz blogger, in 1997 on my site Bird Lives. While creating websites for Sonny Rollins, Billy Taylor and Joe Lovano, I returned to filmmaking in 2005 and now, I work as the Jazz Video Guy.

I’ve never been a critic, my approach is to let musicians tell their stories. That’s what made me want to write about musicians, and create documentary films, their stories.


The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

Monday, February 8th, 2010

We’re all about celebrating regional artists and the talent we have in Montgomery County, and that’s why we’re particularly excited about this year’s rebirth of the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. Over the next week, we’ll be posting a few interviews with musicians and artists who will be performing at the Festival. Here’s our first interview with Paul Carr, Music Director of the Jazz Academy of Music, who is also producing the MAJF.

Paul Carr

What initially attracted you to Jazz music?
I think what initially attached me to jazz was the sound of the instruments playing together. And even at that young age, I could hear the skill and artistry it took play to play jazz.

When was the moment you realized you had a passion and desire to learn and perform Jazz?
Probably, believe it or not before I ever started to play. J My mother  listened to jazz all the time around the house, Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy Smith, Eddie Harris, David “Fathead” Newman, were all regulars at the Carr house. She bought me one of those plastic saxophones when I was real young, so I knew going to play the saxophone when I got older.

Who are two people who were influential in your early education as a Jazz musician?
My first band director was a jazz saxophone player, Warren E. Turner, he still plays. Mr. Turner went to school with another “Texas Tenor” Billy Harper, and he would tell me stories about how much Billy would practice. Mr. Turner was a great teacher and got me started in jazz.  In high school, it was the legendary jazz educator Conrad Johnson, who also was a saxophone player and director of the Kashmere Stage. The Kashmere Stage Band was famous, the band won jazz festivals throughout Texas and also traveled abroad. There is a movie that’s  being shopped around in Hollywood right now about Conrad Johnson’s life and the Kashmere Stage Band. So being a part of that legacy is very special to me.