The 2011 Riverfront Concert Series continued with a gorgeous evening of Chesapeake songs and folk music by Magpie. Blending blues, jazz, country, and swing with contemporary folk music, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have been performing together for nearly forty years, using music to bring people together, teach schoolchildren about history and ecology, and encourage commitment to social and environmental justice. Leonino and Artzner are master artists with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and have created several thematic school programs on topics such as the Great Depression, the Underground Railroad, and the civil rights movement. In 2000, Magpie collaborated with scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to create a “museum musical” about the life cycle of the Chesapeake Bay’s most famous resident, the blue crab. “Tales of the Blue Crab” premiered at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, and is now a traveling show performed in schools around the country. Over the course of their forty years together, Magpie has recorded eleven albums, including In This World (2008), Raise Your Voice (2005), and Circle of Life (1992), which folk legend Tom Paxton praised as “a challenge to any of us who aspire to putting out music with depth and relevance.”
Original Beat Generation member David Amram was a resident accompanist at coffee house performances with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other famous Beats. In later years, he enjoyed a stellar career as a musician and composer, producing orchestral and chamber music works, operas, and scores for Broadway productions and feature films, including Splendor in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate. Amram has authored three books, including the memoir Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac (Paradigm, 2008).Throughout his long career, Amram has also collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, and Arthur Miller. During his visit to Washington College, Amram offered a “music/poetry” workshop and an open rehearsal for students.