Honoring Musical Legends

The Rock Orchestra, Wilmington’s newest tribute group, will start with The Beatles Sept. 16. Tributes to Springsteen and Peter Gabriel’s solo work will follow.

Formed by leading local musicians Joe Trainor and Matt Urban, a new tribute group known as The Rock Orchestra will take the stage this fall, flanked by a full horn section and string quartet.

Housed at The Queen on Market Street, the group will kick off their inaugural season on Saturday, Sept. 16, with a retrospective of The Beatles’ greatest hits. The performance will feature more than 14 artists on stage, covering the Fab Four’s unmatched discography from “Love Me Do” to “Let it Be.”

“It is essentially a tribute group like no other,” says co-founder Trainor.

For the last five years, Trainor and bandmate Matt Urban have made a name for themselves in the tribute world, performing in the group In The Light, which became known throughout the greater Wilmington area for its large-scale, high-energy performances of classic rock albums.

“It’s not gimmicky; they don’t wear over-the-top costumes or makeup like a lot of other tribute groups do. Instead, they focus on being true to the music,” says Christianna LaBuz, former talent buyer for World Cafe Live, now talent buyer for Live Nation and The Queen.

LaBuz says she booked the group frequently throughout their five-year stint because they almost always sold out shows. “If you closed your eyes at the show, you’d think it was the real deal on stage,” she says.

In addition to a successful run with In The Light, Trainor and Urban had a spinoff known as “Keep it Dark,” for which they focused on the back catalog of Genesis.

“We’re kind of geared toward recreating these recorded works live on stage—it’s something we get a kick out of and that we’ve built an audience for,” Trainor says.

After tackling albums from rock greats like The Who, Led Zeppelin and Queen, Trainor and Urban felt they were ready for more.

“At the end of the last show, Matt and I decided that we wanted to up our game a little bit and do something a little bigger,” Trainor explains. “Do more than one show a year and then open up to be able to play with other people as well.”

Putting In The Light on an indefinite hiatus after its final show in January, Trainor and Urban founded The Rock Orchestra and began piloting their new approach.

“We’ve set our focus more like the Delaware Symphony or a theater company where we pick a season’s worth of shows, cast them, book them, rehearse them, perform them,” Trainor says.

The Rock Orchestra will follow their Beatles retrospective in September by taking on Bruce Springsteen’s first three studio albums in a Saturday, Jan. 20, performance.

The season will conclude on May 12 next year with a run-through of Peter Gabriel’s solo work.

Trainor and Urban say this new approach creates some exciting challenges and allows them an opportunity to concentrate on their craft while working with a number of skilled musicians.

“In The Light was a fixed group of musicians. We had six core members in that band for all those primary shows,” Urban says. “What this new entity lets us do is open up the flexibility so that we can get more faithful to the material that we’re trying to reproduce onstage, rather than having a core group of musicians really having to stretch themselves every time.”

In addition to Trainor and Urban, The Rock Orchestra will feature a number of musicians they have played with throughout their careers.

Trainor, a full-time musician who has music-directed for City Theater Co. for the last five years, and Urban, the CEO of Wilmington advertising firm Mobius New Media, met in 2007. Urban says he was looking to assemble a group of musicians for periodic jam sessions when someone suggested he reach out to Joe Trainor. Trainor, a local music scene mainstay, had begun garnering attention for his original work with The Joe Trainor Trio.

The two connected, solidified a lineup and went on to cover Led Zeppelin’s legendary album Physical Graffiti in 2011.

Ten years later, Trainor and Urban continue to collaborate and push themselves for audiences faithful to the music The Rock Orchestra has set their sights on.

“That’s really the point,” Trainor says, “To enjoy playing music and to make connections with people through music.”

Summer Happy Hour at Delaware Art Museum

Every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. until Sept. 14, the Delaware Art Museum will host an evening happy hour on the Museum’s back terrace or in the Thronson Café (weather permitting). Food and drink options will be provided by Toscana. Guests are encouraged to tour the museum’s many exhibits before or after the happy hour or enjoy live music provided by local musician Seth Tillman on July 6 and 13. On July 27, the museum will have a Happy Hour Game Night with a variety of outdoor games, including cornhole and Jenga. The DAM is located at 2301 Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington.

For more information on the Summer Happy Hours and upcoming events, check visit delart.org/programs-events/calendar/.

Firefly Artist Spotlight: Wilderado

Wilderado (Band), photo by Ryan Alexander

With Firefly in their sights, this L.A. four-piece stopped in at the Trolley Tap House to talk new music, Firefly, and local cuisine.


O&A:
How long have you guys played together?

Wilderado: As a four-piece, I think we’re coming up on two years. We used to have five. Got rid of someone, added someone. We recently split ways with our fifth member. That was a couple years ago. It was mutual, he had his own thing. Then we were looking for another bass player, but then we decided we liked the four-piece better, so Colton picked up bass. And we have a four-person van, so we don’t have room for a fifth.

O&A: Are there any tracks or releases you would like people to check out?

Wilderado: We have a single, “Morning Light,” that we’ve been putting a lot of attention behind on Spotify and I think that most of the fans around know that song. Probably more so than the rest of them. That and “Rubble to Rubble.” We’re getting ready to record some new music and we’re playing some new music in our set. Which is fun for us. I think you can expect that.

O&A: Especially on the day you’re playing on, are there any other Firefly bands that you know or recommend?

Wilderado: Kaleo is playing the day we are. We’ve played a couple festivals with them. They’re really nice guys. Maggie Rogers is really cool. Franz Ferdinand, yeah! Weezer, dude! So, on Friday, Judah & the Lion are playing, and we just got off the road with those guys. And they’re great dudes. They play booty popping banjo music. I guess that’s what they call it. We love those guys. Saturday, there is a band called Mondo Cozmo; they’re cool. I heard they’re incredible live. More people on stage than I expected. They have a lot of support right now. The Shins, we’ve worked with their drummer, who has mixed some of our stuff. Never met him, but he produces some really great stuff. We love emailing him. Oh, yeah, Rainbow Kitten Surprise – we’re going on the road with them.

O&A: What are some of your plans after playing Firefly?

Wilderado: We’re going to head home. We’re going to go back to L.A. We have a lot of new music. We’re going to record that when we get back. We have some dates in California and Colorado, but nothing major. We have titles for all the songs, but no name for the collective work. We’ve been doing a release through Spotify, about a song a month, and that has been cool. It keeps new stuff on the radio. It will be put up as soon as we can. We’ve been trying to figure out our song as a band and we’ve been putting out songs one by one waiting for more of a collective feel and making sounds we enjoy playing.

O&A: So, what do you think of the scrapple?

Wilderado: Basically, my definition is it tastes like chicken-fried-steak-fried-flavored oatmeal. Double-fried oatmeal, yeah. As a soup. It’s exactly like a dish I ordered at college, at Memorial. Yes, that is the specific steak.

———

It was great sitting down with Wilderado  at the Trolley Tap House and we highly recommend checking out their set at Firefly Music Festival on Thursday, June 15. They go on at 5:30 p.m. at the Lawn Stage. If you would like to purchase some of Wilderado’s music, visit http://wilderado.co

All In the Timing

Davey Dickens Jr. picked up a guitar six years ago. Next month, his band releases its debut album.

It’s funny how much difference five years can make in a person’s life.

Take local country musician Davey Dickens Jr. for instance. It wasn’t until 2011, when Dickens was 32 years old, that he started playing guitar. Yet, just five years later, in March 2016, he found himself in one of Wilmington’s most esteemed recording studios, performing and recording his songs with some of the area’s most seasoned musicians—members of the then newly formed Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours.

“I’d never stepped foot in a studio, ever,” Dickens says, his voice betraying amazement at where he is today: His band releases its debut self-titled album on Feb. 16 at World Cafe Live at The Queen.

The album features eight songs penned by Dickens and touches on life’s challenges as well as some of its joys. Montana Wildaxe co-founder and guitarist Kurt Houff encouraged the project early on.

“Kurt and I got to be pretty good buddies,” Dickens says. “He started coming up to the house, and we did a couple of song-writing sessions. [Then] we started playing out a lot as The Troubadours.”

The Troubadours came to include a former bandmate of Dickens, Dave Van Allen, on pedal steel, along with Houff’s fellow Montana Wildaxe bassist Tony Cappella and former Caulfields drummer Ritchie Rubini, who did double-duty as producer during the band’s sessions at Studio 825 last year.
“I’m so blessed to have such a force,” says Dickens.

For Dickens, those blessings included attracting the interest of Johnny Neel, famed keyboardist most known for his time with The Allman Brothers. After getting a copy of Dickens’ material, the Wilmington-born Neel agreed to return to his native state to play on the album.

While Dickens is somewhat amazed at the band’s success, he isn’t resting on his laurels. “We’ve got a lot more material,” he says.

Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours play Upstairs at World Cafe Live at The Queen on Feb. 16. Advance tickets are $10 and include a copy of the new album plus a band t-shirt. More details at worldcafelive.com.

Tuned In

Not-to-be-missed music news

Classical Guitar Performance by Duo 220 Set for Feb. 25

Hailed for their technique and musicianship, classical guitarists Adam Larison and Andrew Stroud of Duo 220 have established a firm position in a newly emerging generation of guitar ensembles.

The Wilmington Classical Guitar Society is hosting a performance by the duo at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (503 Duncan Rd., Wilmington) on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Duo 220 strives to create programs that are new, fresh and accessible through a mixture of both standards and lesser-known works in the guitar duo. Admission is $10 for students, seniors and WCGS members and $15 for general admission, available at the door or online at wilmingtonguitar.org.

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles

Join an intimate evening performance with Cory Henry and his band, The Funk Apostles, on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Clifford Brown Performance Center. Henry is a 29-year-old Brooklyn-born songwriter, organist, pianist and music producer well-versed in jazz, gospel and funk. He has toured with Bruce Springsteen, Michael McDonald, P. Diddy, Boyz II Men, Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin and has released two albums, First Steps (2014) and The Revival (2016).

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins promptly at 7:30. Early bird tickets are $20 through Feb. 5 and $30 after. Tickets are available at ccacde.org.

The Arts at Trinity

On Saturday, Feb. 18, at Trinity Episcopal Church (1108 N. Adams St., Wilmington), The Arts at Trinity presents a performance by the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Music Society as part of its 2016-2017 music series. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. The performance is at 7:30 p.m.

Open Mic Night

The Music School of Delaware hosts a bi-monthly open mic night on the second Thursday of every other month, beginning in February. On Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wilmington branch – 4104 Washington St.—the event will include professional-grade equipment for artists: drum set, grand piano, electric piano/synth, guitar/bass amplification available upon request, microphones, PA system and monitors. A complimentary recording of the performance is available to all participants as well as an after party. The event is free.

Thrones in the Round in Philly

The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is coming to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 26. It will mark the first time an orchestral concert like this will be performed in the round.
The performance is expected to be massive in terms of sound, size, and visuals, sure to mirror the Emmy-winning show’s stature. Innovative music tour production and video technology will take the audience through the seven kingdoms of the Game of Thrones universe.

The Travel Songs Foundation

Delaware band and creative organization Travel Songs recently established a nonprofit, The Travel Songs Foundation, and launched its first project: preserving instrument-making in Peru’s Andean region.

In 2013, the band—now foundation—broadened perspectives with a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the group’s first award-winning documentary, Travel Songs: Peru.

Now, the Travel Songs Foundation takes things a step further, and is chartered under the Delaware Community Foundation with the mission to connect cultures through music. Funded by grants and tax-deductible donations from its supporters, the foundation fulfills its mission by producing documentaries and other multimedia about music and culture from around the world. Paired with each film project, the foundation identifies a critical need in a host country’s local music or culture and launches a charitable initiative.

The first initiative for the foundation launched mid-January in Cusco, Peru, and is called The Sabino Luthier School. While filming in Cusco in 2013, the team met and interviewed a Peruvian instrument maker named Sabino Huaman, who expressed a fear that his trade, which had been passed from generation to generation within his family for more than 100 years, would soon disappear.

In launching The Sabino Luthier School, the foundation hopes to help preserve this local art. By the end of this year-long intensive training course, students at the school will possess the general skills to be able to construct traditional Andean instruments, and will have the training to pursue building or repairing string instruments as a profession.

The project covers full day courses every Saturday in 2017, all travel and lodging for the students, a course instructor wage for Huaman, as well as the cost of all tools and materials. The Travel Songs Foundation will also provide equipment and training to a local videographer (Huaman’s son) to document the students’ progress throughout the year.

For updates, visit travelsongs.org.

melomanie-group-2015Mélomanie February Series

Mélomanie will present provocative pairings of early and contemporary works in innovative chamber music on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. at CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach) and on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. at The Delaware Contemporary (200 S. Madison St., Wilmington). Parking is free onsite and a reception follows the performance. These concerts feature the premier of “Just a Regular Child” by Delaware composer David Schelat and collaborations with two guest artists, violinist Daniela Pierson and cellist Todd Thiel. The repertoire also includes works by Couperin, Guignon, Bartók and Corelli.

General tickets are $25, and $15 for students ages 16 and older. For children through age 15 admission is free.

Purchase tickets online at melomanie.org, at the door, or at 764-6338.

Another All-Star Extravaganza

The Shine A Light concert series continues March 4, with a spotlight on 1977. The fundraiser once again features scores of the area’s top musicians.

67 musicians representing 83 bands
1,240 rehearsal hours
126 volunteers
38 songs
Countless creative collaborations

And that was last year.

The Shine A Light On The Queen concert series has been a hit with the public from the outset, and this year’s event, The Shine A Light on ’77, promises to exceed those numbers on its way to another sell-out and another lucrative fundraiser for the Light Up The Queen Foundation.

Set for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, the concert will once again bring together an all-star musical lineup of scores of the most popular and revered singers and musicians in the Wilmington area. They’ll be celebrating the music of 1977, when punk and disco were bursting into full flower, signaling a new wave in pop music.

One change fans will note this year is the March date. In previous years, the concerts took place in February, when the chance of inclement weather was a greater variable. In 2015, a stifling blizzard hit the area on the day of the show, rendering many roads impassable.

Yet, says bassist Betty Bullington, “It was a full house. You never would have known the weather was so bad outside.”

For its first three years, the series was a musical tribute to The Rolling Stones. Two years ago, organizers switched gears and decided to fete the music of 1975. It was a 40th anniversary retrospective on what concert co-producer and performer Rob Grant describes as “a time when some of the best music was being made.”

“Besides, we ran out of Rolling Stones songs and, let’s face it, the ‘70s were cool,” he says.
“It [will be] a really big mix of funk, folk, disco, good old country and badass rock and roll,” says Shine A Light performer Davey Dickens Jr. about this year’s show. “There was a lot of stuff going on in 1977—and the 1970s as a whole—musically.”

A Worthy Cause

Grant, who sits on the of the Shine A Light Planning Committee, also performs at the event. He says it gives him and other musicians “an opportunity to play some great music with really talented musicians and performers while also knowing we are helping a worthy cause.”
“The Light Up The Queen Foundation began in 2011 with a single arts education program and has developed and diversified over the years,” says Tina Betz, the Light Up The Queen Foundation executive director.

“The concert is by far the biggest fundraiser for the Foundation, pulling in approximately a half million dollars in its six-year run. The money raised has benefitted over 10,000 young people through musical arts programs,” she adds.

The foundation also provides education on social issues and healthy living, along with education through music and art.

“The concert for the Light Up The Queen Foundation is a truly worthwhile event in a city constantly struggling with their arts programs,” says Joe Trainor, who is seen by many as a leader in the area’s music and theater scene. Trainor has organized many tribute concerts for bands such as The Eagles, Queen and Genesis, outside of his own extensive oeuvre of original work. When asked for one word to describe the event, he didn’t hesitate: “Community.”

“This event brings people together and provides an opportunity to play with others you don’t normally get to play with,” he says, adding that this spirit of community forces everyone to “up their game.”
Trainor enjoys the wider palate the tribute to an entire year offers versus celebrating a single band’s repertoire, because the gamut of music is both a challenge and a change of pace. Other musicians share that view.

“There are no songs we wouldn’t want to play [on the playlist],” according to Tony Cappella, the troubadour bassist from Montana Wildaxe, who also performs with approximately a dozen other bands. “If anything, it gives us a chance as musicians to step out of our comfort zones. We love new challenges and styles.”

Cappella’s own musical career began a few years before 1977. “There is a really good chance I might be playing on a song I haven’t played on in 40 years,” he laughs.

For the performers, the journey to the night of the show rivals the actual show.

Performers jamming at last year’s concert. Photo Joe del Tufo
Performers jamming at last year’s concert. Photo Joe del Tufo

“In a way, the show itself is a bit anti-climactic for the musicians,” says Lew Indellini, lead singer of Special Delivery. “Don’t get me wrong, we love performing for this event, but the meetings, discovering the playlist, the rehearsals and collaborating with some of the most accomplished musicians in the area is one of the best parts of this event for us.”

No Egos

“It’s great to have helped invent something all the performers look forward to,” says Shine A Light Committee member and event co-founder Kevin McCabe, “especially since I’ve looked up to many of these musicians for such a long time.”

Despite the high level of musical accomplishment of the individual performers, “there is no ego” involved, according to McCabe, who also performs. “Everyone has a lot of respect for one another.”

Last year’s show ran much longer than the intended three hours. At the first musicians’ meeting for this year’s show, Grant emphasized quicker change-overs between songs. Singer Dan McGowan and guitarist Mike Petrillo discussed additional production value.

“We believe adding more production value will enhance the experience for the audience,” says Petrillo.
The meeting also was an opportunity for “rookie” musicians—most of them younger—to meet the rest of the members.

“I couldn’t believe how passionate everyone is,” says Samantha Poole, who will be performing at her first Shine A Light event.

“The gig itself is one thing, but the relationships you develop are very special,” she says. “My father used to play in The Sky Band with Nick Bucci when I was 10 years old. I’ve performed onstage with Nick since then, but it will be amazing if I get to perform with him at this year’s event.”

Poole’s father will be in attendance, making it extra special for her.

Newcomer Pat Kane, the wunderkind 20-something guitarist, may be the youngest performer at this year’s event. He will share the stage with some of the “silverbacks”—the musicians who are his grandparents’ age.

“It would be great to continue to add more young musicians and singers each year,” says Poole, to continue what has quickly become a tradition and centerpiece event of the local music landscape.
The Light Up The Queen Foundation “helps feed and cultivate the local arts,” says Betz, “by bringing music to young people who may, one day, be up on that stage themselves performing in a Shine A Light event.”

Tickets are available at the World Cafe Live website, WorldCafeLive.com. General admission is $60 and a limited number of VIP tickets are available for $250. Kathleen Ford, the Shine A Light Committee chair, says a portion of the price of the tickets is tax deductible. “But,” she adds, “don’t hesitate, because they are going quickly.”

Tuned In – Jan. 2017

Not-to-be-missed music news

Firefly: Now A Fan-Curated Music Festival

Firefly Music Festival, the East Coast’s largest music and camping festival, has taken fan engagement and interaction to a new level. Through a variety of consumer-focused initiatives, including fan surveys, votes and contests, Firefly has become the first-ever fan-curated music festival.

Since the festival’s inception in 2012, the organization has embraced fan feedback regarding the acts they would most want to take stage at The Woodlands in Dover. This which has directly impacted the lineup each year. Moving forward, Firefly organizers will be incorporating fan feedback into additional major decisions and changes for the festival. Examples of fan voting options include the lineup, merchandise designs and products, attractions, cocktails and food, camping and festival amenities, and more.

This summer’s Firefly is June 15-18 at The Woodlands. Ticket sales and the lineup will be announced soon. Four-day general admission passes will go on sale at the initial price of $289 and VIP at $699. General tent camping will start at $169.

To create a profile and begin voting on a variety of attractions and topics for Firefly 2017, fans can head to FireflyFestival.com and view the Community Page.

A Neil Young Tribute

On Sunday, Jan. 15, at World Cafe Live at The Queen, tribute band Broken Arrow will play the music of Neil Young—both the electric guitar-driven favorites and the country flavored classics with pedal steel and acoustic guitar. Veteran Philadelphia rockers Joe Mass, Larry Freedman and Danny Gold promise “good old Neil with some improvisational interstellar jamming and a few very cool departures and side trips,” according to their website.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 day of show. Visit worldcafelive.com for more information.

Donny McCaslin Comes to Town

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band—the Donny McCaslin Group—are coming to Arden Gild Hall on Saturday, Jan. 14. The band is featured on the David Bowie album Blackstar, which has garnered significant worldwide acclaim since its release last January. A three-time Grammy nominee for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo, McCaslin was raised in Santa Cruz, Calif. After playing in his father’s band as a teenager, he attended Berklee College of Music and, in his senior year, joined the Gary Burton Quintet. From there he toured with various artists and received dozens of awards while recording 11 CDs.

The Jan. 14 show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for general admission. The concert also features Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guiliana and Jason Lindner.

Pressing Strings at Grain

Pressing Strings, a trio based out of Annapolis, Md., blends American roots, blues, folk, rock and reggae. They’ll be at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen in Newark on Saturday, Jan. 7. The music stems from lead singer Jordan Sokel’s bluesy and soulful songwriting and is firmly anchored by drummer Brandon Bartlett and bassist Nicholas Welker. The band released two recordings last year, Five from Three (March), a five-track EP done mostly live with minimal overdubbing, and Most Of Us (summer) on which the band teamed up with producer Scott Jacoby (John Legend, Jose James, Vampire Weekend) and engineer/producer Neil Dorfsman (Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan).

For more information, visit pressingstrings.com. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Playing the Ace of Hearts

Local jazz, blues and funk quartet Ace of Hearts is performing Thursday, Jan. 19, at Gallucio’s Restaurant at 1709 Lovering Ave., Wilmington, from 8 to 11 p.m. The group melds guitars with electric bass and drums. Ron Sherr is on guitar and vocals, Dillingham McDaniel plays electric bass, Harry Spencer is saxophonist and Desmond Kahn plays drums. Check the band’s Facebook page—The Ace of Hearts Delaware—for more upcoming appearances.

Hitting the Right Note

Dave Mauk of Sympathetic Ears collaborated with local musicians for a new album, A View of My World

Dave Mauk has been involved with the local music scene for decades. For nearly 30 years, he worked in studios with bands like The Bigger Lovers, the Descendants and The Knobs. He was co-owner of the Stone Balloon in ’94, and saw artists like Ray Charles come through town. He worked with Bert Ottaviano at his North Wilmington, Hockessin and Newark record shops until the mid-2000s—which is where he met his long-time friend, Brad Newsom.

Now the head of the power pop/rock group Sympathetic Ears, Mauk has banded together with local artists to create his debut album, A View of My World, which released Nov. 15 and is available on iTunes, CD Baby and more. On Friday, Dec. 30, there will be an album release party at the Jackson Inn on N. DuPont Rd. in Wilmington.

Sympathetic Ears came together a couple of years ago when friends and comrades from The Knobs—Newsom and Phil Young—along with artist Andrew Stewart got together to help Mauk record some songs he had written. Along the way, a handful of other friends pitched in to help finish the record.
“For years we had recorded others, and I wanted to take a crack at it myself,” says Mauk. “I had some songs I was kicking around and decided I wanted to knuckle down and formalize them.”

On this record, Mauk plays the bass and keyboards, and at least eight other local artists, in addition to Newsom, Young and Stewart, have stepped in to help.

The project took a couple of years to complete, but not because coordinating with the other musicians was an issue. To start with, Newsom and Mauk had co-run a recording studio, Wisteria Sounds, from Newsom’s house in Wilmington beginning in 2000, so they had a free studio to work in. And Mauk says the work flowed easily with other artists, like Scott Birney from Sin City Band, Mark Kenneally from Dr. Harmonica & Rockett 88, and songwriter/producer Ritchie Rubini. Mauk and Newsom would get an idea of the direction of each song, then have someone come in to record harmonica or guitar.

“These guys are so talented and good and generous. Musically, I’m probably the weak link in that group,” says Mauk.

Which isn’t true, according to Newsom, who touts Mauk’s skills as a songwriter.

“Dave has perhaps played the role of the quiet one musically over the years and is finally coming more to the forefront with this project. Also, he’s one of the best, most dependable friends you can ask for—a truly great and humble guy who I’m lucky enough to know.”

During the recording process, Mauk retired to Mount Pleasant, S.C., but frequently travels back to Wilmington and doesn’t see the distance as a show-stopper. The group is already working on a second album, sending bits of tracks back and forth between Wilmington and Mount Pleasant.

The Dec. 30 show, featuring Newsom, Young, Stewart and second guitarist Ken Herblin, starts at 8 p.m. Local band The Cocks will join them.

For more information, visit sympears.com.

A Toast to Holiday Events

We’ve compiled a list of every manner of merriment to help get you into the bell-ringing, carol-singing, candle-lighting, reindeer-sighting, eggnog-guzzling, mistletoe-nuzzling mood. Happy Holidays to all!

Longtime Holiday Traditions

Yuletide at Winterthur
Now–Jan. 8, 2017 | Winterthur Museum & Gardens
Yuletide is one of the most beautiful times at Winterthur, with tree displays adorning the rooms and the Conservatory; sparkling trees and American Christmas vignettes—scenes inspired by Currier & Ives, holiday decorations from Mississippi in the Civil War era and the White House in the early 1900s. New this year in The Galleries stair hall: a 6×3-foot, slate-roofed, fully electrified dollhouse inspired by Queen Mary’s dollhouse, created by Nancy McDaniel and donated to Winterthur.

A Longwood Christmas
Now–Jan. 8, 2017 | Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pa.
The sounds of the season resonate through the gardens in this year’s musically inspired display. Highlights include an 18-foot Fraser fir adorned with a garland of musical instruments in the Music Room; holiday horticulture showcasing more than 6,000 seasonal plants; organ sing-alongs, strolling carolers and performances throughout the estate; and three fire pits—at the Hour Glass Lake Pavilion, Peirce-du Pont House Plaza and Dogwood Plaza—available (weather permitting) for guests’ enjoyment from 4:30–10 pm.

Family Holiday Fun

Breakfast with Santa
Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 am | Delaware Museum of Natural History
Enjoy a special pancake breakfast and a visit with Santa. Get your picture taken with him and let him know if you’ve been naughty or nice. Afterward, take an afternoon tour at the Museum. Tickets are $5 for members and $9 for non-members. Pre-registration is required at delmnh.org.

Holiday Sing!
Sunday, Dec. 4, 3 pm | The Music School of Delaware, Wilmington Branch
This musical sing-a-long for the whole family is hosted by the Early Childhood Department of the Music School and marks their 26th annual seasonal celebration. Music School faculty and friends provide instruments, singing and fun. Free, and good for ages 1½ and up.

Chesapeake Brass Band
Holiday Concert
Saturday, Dec. 10, 7 pm
Grace Episcopal Church, Wilmington
This 35-piece award-winning brass band presents a high-spirited performance of classical, traditional and popular holiday favorites. This event is free.

Holiday Family Festivities at the Delaware Art Museum
Saturday, Dec. 10, 10:30 am
Delaware Art Museum
Enjoy a host of family-friendly activities at the Museum this holiday season. In Kids’ Corner, explore a geometric winter wonderland, add to the interactive igloo and build 3-D snowflakes. Families can also take a wintry walk through the Copeland Sculpture Garden to search for geometric shapes. Free with museum admission.

Legos & Latkes for Kids: A Pre-Chanukah Program
Sunday, Dec. 18, 12:15-2 pm
Chabad Center for Jewish Life, Wilmington
This popular, community-wide event helps parents and kids enter Chanukah with spirit—by making their own Lego Menorah and delicious latkes. Cost is $12-16 per Lego Menorah set, and online registration is required to guarantee a Menorah. Register at ChabadDE.com/register.

Chanukah Family Fun Festival
Tuesday, Dec. 27, 5-7 pm
Chabad Center for Jewish Life, Wilmington
Bring the whole family to this party, which will feature a public menorah lighting, a professional entertainer, a delicious Chinese buffet dinner, a moonbounce, games, Chanukah crafts, festive Jewish Music, face painting, prizes and more. Early-bird tickets (purchase before Dec. 23) are $20 for adults and $12 for kids. Register at ChabadDE.com/ChanukahEvents.

Holiday Theatrics

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)
Friday, Dec. 2–Saturday, Dec. 10 | Chapel Street Players, Newark
Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told—plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop culture, and carols too. A madcap romp through the holiday season! Tickets to $18.

Christmas by Candlelight
Now–Friday, Dec. 23 | The Candlelight Theater, Arden
Back by popular demand, this heartwarming yuletide celebration features some of your favorite holiday tunes performed by some of your favorite “Candlelighters.”

A Christmas Carol
Wednesday, Dec. 7–Friday, Dec. 30
Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington
Ebenezer Scrooge returns to the DTC stage as he transforms from a stingy miser to a man who generously celebrates the spirit of the season all year long. Don’t be left out in the cold for this stunning adaptation of a timeless holiday classic. Tickets are $40-50 and available at delawaretheatre.org.

Sparkling Holiday Dance

Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance —
50th Annual Nutcracker
Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4 | The Playhouse on Rodney Square
Kick off the season with one of Wilmington’s most enduring holiday traditions—the story of young Clara on Christmas night as she is tangled in a battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King in the Land of Sweets. Wilmington Ballet’s performance features New York City Ballet principal dancers Abi Stafford and Adrian Danchig-Waring as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Live music will be provided by the Wilmington Ballet Orchestra and Chorus, and the beloved Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble will perform. This year, Gov. Jack Markell and First Lady Carla Markell will make a cameo appearance in the Dec. 3 2 pm show to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Christina Cultural Arts Center — Eleone Dance Theater’s 25th Anniversary of “Carols in Color”
Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 pm | The Grand Opera House
For a unique holiday treat, check out this one-day-only performance in Wilmington. “Carols” is a stirring holiday musical that retells the story of Christ’s birth according to the gospel of St. Matthew using contemporary music, exuberant dance and powerful narration. Tickets are $25-35, available at tickets.thegrandwilmington.org or 800.37GRAND.

First State Ballet Theatre — The Nutcracker
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2 and 7 pm and Sunday, Dec.18, 2 pm
The Grand Opera House, Wilmington
Delaware’s only professional ballet company presents Wilmington’s favorite holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. Experience the magical journey through the land of sweets in FSBT’s lavish production. Tickets are $14.99-45 and are available at tickets.thegrandwilmington.org or 800.37GRAND.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Holiday Music!
Thursday Noontime Concert — Cartoon Christmas Trio
Thursday, Dec. 1, 12:30 pm | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square
Market Street Music welcomes back the Cartoon Christmas Trio for one of downtown’s favorite holiday traditions. Jazz music from the beloved cartoon “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will fill the sanctuary of First & Central. The concert is free to attend, but donations are gratefully accepted.

First State Symphonic Band Christmas Concert
Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 pm | Emmanuel Presbyterian Church
First State Symphonic Band gets you into the season with some of the most popular holiday music—Tchaikovsky’s Suite from The Nutcracker, Symphonic Prelude on Adeste Fidelis and medleys of popular and traditional Christmas carols. The concert will conclude with the Leroy Anderson classics, “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride.”

Festival Concert — Mastersingers of Wilmington Nativity Carols
Saturday, Dec. 3, 7:30 pm | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square
Market Street Music’s holiday concert features its own Mastersingers with conductor David Schelat and organist Marvin Mills. Their program includes music by Marvin Mills, Neil Harmon, Paul Manz, Jonathan Dove and more. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) and are available at marketstreetmusicde.org.

A Jazz Christmas — featuring The Wilson Somers Trio
Sunday, Dec. 4, 7:30 pm | Laird Performing Arts Center at The Tatnall School
Emmy Award-winning composer and pianist Wilson Somers leads his jazz trio—Somers on piano; Pete Paulson, contrabass, and Glenn Ferricone, percussion—along with guest artists Ed Kirkpatrick, tenor saxophone; Wes Morton, vibes; The Tatnall Singers and singer Annie Fitch in traditional and contemporary treatments of holiday favorites, all to benefit Family Promise of Northern New Castle County. Tickets are $15-20 and are available through the event Facebook page, facebook.com/jazzchristmas.

An All-Star Christmas
Sunday, Dec. 4, 8 pm | World Cafe Live at The Queen, Wilmington
A star-studded seasonal celebration featuring regional music scene faves Jimmy McFadden, Kevin Walsh, Billy Penn Burger, Steve Prentice, Samantha Desper Poole, Chris Duncan, Ritchie Rubini and Tony Cappella. Tickets are $12 and are available at ticketfly.com.

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus Annual Candlelight Holiday Concert
Saturday, Dec. 10, 7 pm & Sunday, Dec. 11, 5 pm | First & Central Presbyterian, Rodney Square
Join the Wilmington Children’s Chorus as they celebrate the season, showcasing holiday music from around the world. The performance features all 150 members of the Youth Choirs, Select Choir, Young Men’s Ensemble and Chamber Choir at First and Central Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $10-$20; call 763-3637 to order.

Holiday Choral Concert
Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 pm | St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington
The Music School of Delaware’s Delaware Women’s Chorus and Adult Jazz Choir join the Choir from St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, singers from New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church and Brandywine Brass in performance. Music for chorus, chorus with brass quintet and brass quintet alone will round out the program. A community carol sing will follow the concert. Admission is a non-perishable food item.

Thursday Noontime Concert — Center City Chorale’s Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
Thursday, Dec. 15, 12:30 pm | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square
Market Street Music continues its musical holiday celebration with delightful carol arrangements sung by Wilmington’s Downtown Choir, including brilliant arrangements of well-known carols by Howard Helvey. Guest pianists Neil Harmon and Hiroko Yamazaki join the chorale. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Halls that Are Decked

Rockwood Holiday Open House
Friday, Dec. 2, 6 pm | Rockwood Museum
There’s something for the entire family at the 16th Annual Holiday Open House: live entertainment, children’s activities, refreshments, free photos with Santa, museum tours and a festive light display in the gardens of the Mansion and Carriage House; and New Castle County Youth Entrepreneur’s Secret Santa Shoppe, selling gifts for the whole family. Entertainment includes Delaware Arts Conservatory performing excerpts from The Snow Queen; Delaware Children’s Theatre performing a preview of Willy Wonka; the Imagination Players; Kathryn Ciminello Dance Troupe; Cab Calloway Middle School choirs; the UD Children’s Choir and more. The event is free to attend, but families are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or new mittens, hats or scarves for the Giving Tree.

Holiday House Tour
Saturday, Dec. 10, 9 am | Delaware Art Museum
The Museum’s holiday house tour enters its 30th year. Start at the museum with artisan shopping followed by a tour of historic Greenville houses decked out for the holidays. Homes open at 10 am. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s educational programs. Tickets range from $25-60 and are available at DelArtHolidayHouseTour.org.

Old Fashioned Christmas at Bellevue Mansion
Now – Dec. 18, 10 am-4 pm | Bellevue State Park
Step back in time into the beautifully decorated Bellevue Mansion at Bellevue State Park. Visit with Father Christmas, sit and listen to the storyteller, view the train display, custom-designed for the holiday by the First State Model Railroad Club. The Mansion provides not only an old-fashioned experience but also many holiday picture-taking and “selfie” opportunities. Tickets are $15 (children under 2 admitted free) and are available at eventbrite.com.

Hagley Twilight Tours
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, Dec.13-14 through Dec. 27-28, 4:30-7 pm
Hagley Museum
Enjoy a rare opportunity to see Eleutherian Mills—the first du Pont family home in America—dressed for the holidays with softly glowing lights, lace, fresh greenery, poinsettias, and dried flower arrangements. Admission is free for members and $10 for non-members. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 658-2400, ext. 261.

Holiday Greens Workshop
Saturday, Dec. 3, 9 am | Delaware Center for Horticulture, Wilmington
Add sparkle and beauty to your holiday decorations at the annual Holiday Greens Workshop. Create a beautiful wreath or table arrangement from an unusual collection of fresh greens, dried flowers, seeds, fruit and ribbon. Experts will be on hand to provide guidance. Bring hand pruners and gloves to work with prickly materials. Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members. Space is limited, so reserve by calling 658-6262.

Gifts Made in Delaware

Look no farther than The First State for your holiday shopping

Art

Delaware By Hand
406 Federal St., Dover
Biggsmuseum.org
674-2111
Pieces are created by the artist and artisan members of the Biggs Museum. The retail store is located at the Biggs in Dover.

Terrance Vann
terranceism.bigcartel.com
The Wilmington-based artist is working with the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation on the 7th Street Arts Bridge.

Christmas Decorations

Marcia Poling Bird Ornaments
Wild Birds Unlimited
7411 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin
hockessin.wbu.com
These bird-themed Christmas tree ornaments are hand-painted in lovely detail by Dover artist and naturalist Marcia Poling. Each ornament offers a unique design, perfect for the bird lover on your list.

Dea Daly
deannadaly.com
From Newark, Dea Daly offers one-of-a-kind ornaments this holiday season. She also sells incense burners and charms made from polymer clay. Orders and custom pieces can also be placed on Facebook or Instagram.

Drink

Brandywine Coffee Roasters
1400 N. Dupont St., Wilmington
brandywinecoffeeroasters.com
731-0427
Price: $10 & up
A great option for the local coffee-lover, Brandywine Coffee Roasters offers delicious, hand-roasted blends, sourced from the world’s best coffee. Sample some at the closest Brew HaHa!, or learn more at brandywinecoffeeroasters.com. The products feature very cool artwork as well.

Highland Orchards
1431 Foulk Rd., Wilmington
highlandorchardsfarmmarket.com
478-4042
Stop by this family-run fruit and vegetable farm for some delicious, seasonal apple cider, made fresh from the farm’s harvest.

Food

Fierro Cheese
1025 N Union St., Wilmington
fierrocheese.com
656-8955
Price: $10 & up
This family-owned and operated maker of quality Italian dairy products, including ricotta, ricotta impastata, mozzarella, curd and queso fresco, is located in the heart of Little Italy.

Maiale Deli & Salumeria
3301 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington
maialecuredmeats.com
691-5269
Price: $49 & up (platters)
More than 30 varieties of sausage and 10 types of salami are available here. All sausages and dried salami are handcrafted in house and made fresh daily.

Walker’s Apiary Honey
351 Wedgewood Rd., Newark
731-0427
Price: $10 & up
Located near White Clay Creek Preserve, this apiary also produces honey—along with wax and ointment.

Entertainment

Local Music at Rainbow Records
54 E. Main St., Newark
rainbowrecordsde.com
368-7738
Price: $10 & up
The entire store is a music and book haven, and we particularly recommend perusing the section showcasing area artists. It features an impressive assortment of records, CDs and tapes by local favorites.

The War on Words Book
amazon.com
654-6483
Price: $9.95
Local wordsmith and O&A editor Bob Yearick has compiled a collection of his columns into a book. Each page is a spot-on, somewhat snarky attempt to eliminate the grammatical gaffes that plague our everyday communications.

Home Goods/Furnishings

Etcetera & Stitches
Newark
etsy.com/shop/etceteraandstitches
Price: $3-$30
This online shop by local artist Kristen Vaughn features her individually-designed cross-stitch patterns, hand-crafted kits and finished pieces. Versatile with nerdy and pop culture references, along with modern embroidery hoop art, these pieces are a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone.

JKB Design
1004 Wawaset St., Wilmington
jbuckley.net
559-3547
From custom cabinets to natural-looking wood tables and desks, Jim Buckley creates carefully crafted furniture to suit your unique specifications and reflect your personality.

Kitchen Accessories at Creations Gallery
443 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin
creationsgallery.com
235-2310
Among the varied home items offered at Creations you’ll find the kitchen accessories that Middletown native Michael O’Grady creates from olive wood imported from sustainable sources in Bethlehem, Israel. The growth habit of the olive trees results in spectacular swirly figures—and, hence, unique conversation pieces for your home.

Michael Quattrociocchi
quattrociocchiwoodwork.com
A member of the Delaware State of the Arts Council, Quattrociocchi focuses “on the true beauty of natural wood while providing an object with functional use.”

Well Born Clay
619 Harrington St., Wilmington
wellbornclay.com
443-621-4036
Price: $15-$65
Specializing in functional wares for people who like to cook and eat naturally.

Jewelry/Accessories

Homespun for Everyone
homespunforeveryone.com
Custom made hats, scarves and more for children and adults.  Also offering lessons in knitting and crochet for adults and children. No experience necessary!

Lolah Soul Jewelry
lolahSoul.com
888-771-7087
She creates “wearable art,” including rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

Monserrat Elements
facebook.com/monserratelements
540-5846
Sara Monserrat Teixido has been making one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted jewelry creations and amulets for more than 22 years.

Olga Ganoudis Designs
1313 Scott St., Wilmington
etsy.com/shopOlgaGanoudis
421-9820
Olga Ganoudis’ hand-made jewelry includes some pieces with Game of Thrones themes.

Midwinter Co.
midwinter.co
Vintage and minimal classics in modern form, featuring natural gems and unique diamonds. This husband and wife team run a socially responsible business from their home studio in Wilmington, and 10% or more of their profits go to local charities.

Kids

Getting Sew Crafty
gettingsewcrafty.com
Price: $5-$30
A Newark-based business, Getting Sew Crafty provides stylish and functional teething and nursing jewelry and accessories for mom and tot.

Outdoors

Alley-Oop
904 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach
alley-oop.myshopify.com
227-7087
Price: Wearables & Accessories $21-$50
Created in 2000 by skimboarding aficionado Corey Mahoney, this Dewey Beach-based company produces its own line of skimboarding gear and skateboard decks. It also runs nationally-acclaimed skim-boarding camps at the Delaware beaches—one of the top skimboarding destinations in the world.

O’Neill’s Fly Fishing
Dedicated to all aspects of fly fishing culture, including seminars, lessons, instruction and custom fly tying. Flies range from $3.95 to more than $10, depending on the pattern. Tim O’Neill operates the business out of his home in Hockessin. Contact him at tim@oneillsflyfishing.com.

Out of the Ordinary

Sore Thumb Designs
sorethumbdesignsllc.com
New Castle-based pop artist Lawrence Moore re-utilizes pages from comic book classics to create custom-designed storage trunks, which add fun and a dramatic splash of color to any playroom, studio or even an office. If you’re set on storage, Moore takes the same “pulp fiction” approach to the leather tote bags that are also for sale on his site.

Zexcoil Guitar Pickups
Lawing Musical Products, LLC
lawingmusicalproducts.com
533-7548
For the musician on your list, these locally-made guitar pickups boast great tone without the nagging hum that comes from most conventional pickups. The unique design is the product of Delaware local Dr. Scott Lawing, an engineer with a PhD from MIT who also happens to be a veteran guitarist with the band In The Light.