St. Mary's soul artist to open summer jazz festival

St. Mary’s resident Latrice Carr will open for nationally-known jazz acts at this summer's Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival.

The organizers of the annual Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival recently announced that popular local artist and St. Mary’s resident Latrice Carr will open for nationally known jazz acts at this summer’s weekend-long event.

This year’s festival is planned for July 10, 11 and 12, with the main event at St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point, according to a release from St. Mary’s County government.

Carr, a multi-genre singer and songwriter originally from Portsmouth, Va., is known for her soulful range and gospel roots, which exhibits her passion for the music she performs. Having begun singing in front of large crowds at an early age, Carr has become a widely known regular at establishments across Southern Maryland and the D.C. metro area, including singing the national anthem at a variety of professional sporting events.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Latrice was picked to open our 21st annual Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival this year,” Karen Stone, manager of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, one of the festival’s organizing partners, said in the release. “She is an amazing individual and artist, and we are lucky to add such a talented St. Mary’s countian to open for us.”

Stone added, “It is an especially appropriate choice as 2020 is the ‘Year of the Woman’ in Maryland, so it is great to have a remarkable local woman as Latrice lending her wonderful voice to our lineup.”

The Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer and expanded from a one-day Saturday event into a multi-day weekend celebration as a partnership of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, the Town of Leonardtown, the Friends of St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums, and Visit St. Mary’s MD. The event includes hotel packages and giveaways; free Friday night jazz performances on the Leonardtown square; Prohibition-era movies, cocktails and restaurant specials, new and unique food vendors at the Saturday waterfront festival; and Sunday jazz brunches, art shows, wine tastings and more. According to the release, the festival contributed to increased hotel occupancy rates in St. Mary’s averaging 20% for the weekend.

Carr, who will open for two other yet identified jazz acts during the Saturday main concert at St. Clement’s Island Museum, said in the release that she feels grateful to be part of such a legacy, adding “It is exciting to think that some of the best moments in my life have not occurred yet and this is definitely one of those moments. … being the opening act for the 2020 Potomac Jazz and Seafood Festival is a huge honor. Since putting the band together years ago, I have always wanted to be included in such a classic county event.”

A variety of discount ticket packages, as well as more information about the Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival, are available at www.PotomacJazzAndSeafoodFestival.com.

CSM fitness center, pool have new hours

The College of Southern Maryland announced that beginning this month the Leonardtown campus wellness, fitness and aquatic facilities will start new hours of operation. The Leonardtown fitness center and pools will open at 5:30 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. For more information and a complete listing of hours of operation, visit www.csmd.edu and search for “pool,” or call 240-725-5300, ext. 5370.

Register now for area’s senior singing group

The Encore Chorale of Southern Maryland is looking for singers age 55 or older. Registration is now open for the new semester that begins Jan. 15.

Encore is the nation’s largest choral organization for singers over age 55. The Southern Maryland chorale will meet at Asbury Solomons senior living community in Solomons on Wednesdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The chorale is under the direction of Joey Hoopengardner. For more information, call 301-261-5747 or go to www.encorecreativity.org.

Submit art for veterans home gallery exhibit

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, in partnership with the Charles County Art Alliance, is now accepting submissions for its spring art show, a multimedia exhibit, to be held at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home from Feb. 4 to June 30. The gallery will be presented along the E-Wing dining hallway in the Assisted Living Unit.

Local artists are invited to submit a maximum of two works of art for consideration. There is no submission fee. Artwork entries must be submitted electronically as digital jpeg images attached to an email sent to VeteransHomeArt@charhall.org. The email must include the artist’s name, mailing address, email address, phone number and headshot, as well as the title of artwork, medium/materials used, size/dimensions, year created and price, if applicable.

Selections will be made by the Charlotte Hall gallery committee and the artists will be notified by Jan. 20. All artwork must be wired and ready to hang. An artists reception will be held in June.

In addition, an artists reception for the currently hung show will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. at the veterans home.

Current artists include Doris Hall, Gordon R. Johnson, Dorothy Crown, Suzanne Cassidy, William Cassidy, Belinda Wilburn, Margaret Neal, Ryan Roddey, Roxana Gonzalez, Nancy Walcutt, Dawn Farmer, Penny Gold, Gayle Howe, Ashley Radano, Colin Mably, Kathleen Noel, Timothy Scheirer, Alan Frampton, Ron Hammans, Dianne Shisler, Constance Moore, Julie Meisel, Evan Thorne, Bill Meck, Cecelia Dunay, Jaden Hendricks, Judith Miller, Gina Durgin, Joanna Macaulay, Josh Owen, Holly Dilatush, Lisa Dominecki, Eileen Moser, Philip Lang and Kyle Caleb.

For more information on the gallery, call 301-884-8171, ext. 403, or email VeteransHomeArt@charhall.org.

Tree poster contest open to state’s fifth-graders

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Forest Conservancy District Boards invites all Maryland fifth-graders in private and public schools to participate in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest. The theme for 2020 is: “Trees Are Terrific … in All Four Seasons!”

Students are encouraged to share their appreciation for Maryland’s forests and trees through original works of art. Poster size must be no smaller than 8.5 by 11 inches and no larger than 22 by 28 inches. They must be drawn in acrylic, crayon, ink, marker, paint pens, regular or colored pencil, tempera paint or watercolor.

All entries must be delivered to a local Maryland Forest Service office by noon on Friday, Jan. 17.

Posters will be judged on a county level and then submitted to the Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee to compete at the statewide level. A select panel will then choose the top three winning posters that will receive tree plantings at the artists’ schools First place will win 15 trees, second place will receive 10 and third place will receive five.

Contest comments or questions may be directed to Anne Gilbert at 410-260-8510 or anne.gilbert@maryland.gov.

Local student scores high in Hopkins talent search

James O’Brien, a student from Leonardtown, was recently honored as one of the brightest students in the world at an international Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth awards ceremony, according to a release from the organization.

O’Brien, a home-schooled student, was honored for his exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment taken as part of the CTY talent search.

More than 18,000 students in grades two through eight tested through CTY between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. More than 2,100 students from this group who scored in the top 12% on their test were invited to attend the grand ceremony held on Nov. 23 at Johns Hopkins University. In addition, more than 380 testers, including O’Brien, under age 13 achieved a score of 700 or higher on the math or verbal section of the SAT, and in turn, qualified for CTY’s Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent.

County properties now tobacco free

All St. Mary’s County-owned and -leased buildings, properties and vehicles have now adopted a tobacco-free policy, effective Jan. 1. This policy includes smoking, vaping and any and all other nicotine products.

For more information and resources regarding the tobacco-free policy, including a link to free smoking cessation classes offered through the St. Mary’s County Health Department, visit www.stmarysmd.com/tobaccofree.

Scholarship fair coming up soon

The St. Mary’s County Business, Education and Community Alliance, known as BECA, acts as a type of clearinghouse to link scholarship providers with college-bound students.

The group’s annual scholarship fair is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown, where many of the scholarship providers will be in attendance to chat with and assist students and their families. Other colleges and organizations will also have representatives available, and there will be workshops on completing the common application and the financial aid process.

Scholarship included in the 2020 Common Scholarship Application are posted at smcbeca.org. Completed applications will be due Feb. 18, 2020. For more information, contact Bob Schaller and Mark Smith at smcbeca@gmail.com or 240-257-2322.

Cancer survivors honored

The John Lancaster & W. Cecil Short Charity Foundation held its third annual Cancer Survivor Masquerade Ball at Middleton Hall Event Center in late October. Attended by more than 300 guests, the evening’s honorees included five courageous women who have fought and overcome breast cancer: Deborah Patrick, Nyema Taylor, Alexis Henson, Michelle Decanay and Batesha Bouler.

Kaleth O. Wright, chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, gave the evening’s keynote address, giving words of encouragement, comfort and inspiration to overcome adversity. Thanks to attendees, sponsors, generous donors and a silent auction, over $10,000 was raised with the proceeds being used to support organizations that provide support and treatment for cancer patients.

Founded in 2005, the John Lancaster & W. Cecil Short Charity Foundation has worked to improve the lives of individuals and families through education, cultural activities, and scholarships and grants. For more information, visit www.jlwcscharityfoundation.org.

Reserve a room for a party at the library

Anyone looking for a room to hold a private party, such as a birthday, bridal, wedding or baby shower, luncheon, or bridge group, can now reserve a meeting rooms from one of the three St. Mary’s County Library branches.

There is a fee for private parties of $50/hour for one meeting room (use of both meeting rooms combined at Lexington Park is considered two meeting rooms) plus a $100 refundable security deposit for each reservation.

For more information on reserving a meeting room for a private party, visit www.stmalib.org/library-services/meeting-rooms.

Volunteers sought for St. Mary’s County Reads

St. Mary’s County Reads, a community collaboration among the St. Mary’s NAACP, the Department of Social Services, the St. Mary’s County Library and the Judy Center, is a literacy program designed to encourage children to develop an interest, habit and desire for reading and help children be ready to learn to read when they start kindergarten.

Volunteers read to young children who have come with their parents to the Lexington Park branch of DSS office for service on Mondays and Wednesdays. Each volunteer will read for 1½-hour intervals between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Janice Walthour of the NAACP at 301-862-2296 or lwalthour@md.metrocast.net; or Kerry Miciotto at 240-725-5755.

Free student counseling offered

The Evening Counseling Center provides free counseling services by appointment to all students and parents of students enrolled in St. Mary’s public schools. The ECC is open Wednesday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. and is located in the Great Mills High School counseling department. To schedule an appointment, contact Audra Bishop, school counselor, at 301-863-4001, ext. 18122, or abbishop@smcps.org; or Gary O’Neill, school psychologist, at 301-475-5511, ext. 32204 or gsoneill@smcps.org; or Amanda Knobel, school counselor, at 301-475-0240, ext. 43120, or ajknobel@smcps.org.