- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A state grant will bring sweet songs, drama and beautiful objects to Charles County.
The Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, a local choir, was given $1,000, and the Port Tobacco Players, a theatrical troupe based in La Plata, was provided $10,000.
The La Plata-based Charles County Arts Alliance, the designated arts council of the county, also received roughly $100,000.
The grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an arm of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, was spread to 287 arts organizations statewide and totaled approximately $13.4 million.
Grant applications were judged on “the basis of artistic merit, organizational effectiveness and service to the community,” according to an MSAC press release.
Amy Wathen Cooksey, the Port Tobacco Players’ public affairs chairwoman, said the money will benefit the troupe’s educational programs, three summer camps for varying age groups, as well as the youth community group Encore Kids — children 6 to 12 who travel to nursing homes and similar venues to entertain.
The troupe performs six plays a year. Its upcoming show, “Godspell,” a colorful piece based on the book of Matthew in the Bible, will run Sept. 19 through Oct. 12. The grant funds also will be focused on purchasing the copyrights for future shows.
Tryouts for shows are available to all ages. One of the troupe’s most recent productions, “The Music Man” cast actors from ages 7 to 70, Cooksey said.
Richard Reckeweg, the troupe’s business manager, who pieces together grant proposals for the state’s arts council, said the troupe has won the same grant for the past several years, almost consecutively. Last year, the troupe was given $6,000.
For the proposal, Reckeweg supplies the state council with examples of how the group benefits the community, as well as the number of patrons who attend each show. More than 2,700 attended “The Music Man” on its run from July 11 to Aug. 3, Reckeweg said.
“It’s fantastic. We could really use it,” Reckeweg said.
The $1,000 grant, which helps the choral arts group, will cover the choir’s travel expenses and sheet music costs, among other operating expenditures, said President Carol Charnock.
The choir, founded in 1996, comprises about 55 to 60 high-schoolers and adults and holds three concerts a year.
The musical stylings the group tackles run the gamut — its winter concert was a “Renaissance Christmas,” and in the spring its members sang Mozart’s “Requiem.”
A few of the choir members also find it difficult to pay for its $75 annual dues, as well as the costumes they don when performing, Charnock said.
A little extra financial assistance, like the grant, is helpful for them, she said.
“We always appreciate money given to us by the state,” Charnock said.