UMD School of Music & Talbot Arts Council
Chamber Music Artists in Residence
Easton Middle School
Meet Oculus [Five], the University of Maryland School of Music's new Fellowship Woodwind Quintet and the Talbot County Quintet in Residence for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. As a newly formed group, its members look forward to developing professional and personal relationships within the School of Music and with their audiences through outreach performances in the DMV area and on campus.
Oculus [Five] looks forward to cultivating their professional lives among friends and community members alike during their two-year fellowship. The newly minted group plans to become more intimately involved within the School of Music and beyond through its recitals on campus and outreach programs in the schools. Each member brings unique musical backgrounds to the table, and are all excited to embark upon this journey together as they pursue their graduate degrees at the University of Maryland School of Music.
Thomas J. Wible (D.M.A. flute) maintains an active career as a chamber musician and teacher in the DMV area. He is currently a second-year doctoral student at UMD where he studies flute with Sarah Frisof. Thomas recently completed a three-year position with The Orchestra Now, performing regularly at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Met and other venues across NYC.
Patrick Grimone (M.M. oboe) hails from Cleveland, Ohio, and is pursuing a master’s degree in oboe performance studying with Mark Hill. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory and has performed with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, OperaMaya Festival and the Sewanee Music Festival.
Michael Casto (D.M.A. clarinet) is originally from Bowie, Maryland. He is an active performer and teacher in the DC and Baltimore areas. He has served as 2nd and Solo E-flat Clarinetist with the Evansville Philharmonic and has been a substitute with the New World Symphony as well as the Terre Haute Symphony. He is a student of Robert DiLutis.
Molly Flanagan (D.M.A. horn) is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She holds degrees from Boston University and the Guildhall. As a freelancer, she has subbed in groups like the Jacksonville Symphony, the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and the Florida Grand Opera. She is a student of Gregory Miller.
Debra Loh (M.M. bassoon) is from Portland, Oregon. She is pursuing her master’s degree in bassoon performance as a student of Joseph Grimmer. She holds a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and has attended festivals including the National Orchestra lnstitute + Festival and Eastern Music Festival.
Oculus [Five] looks forward to sharing their musical talents and enhancing the musical arts community on campus and around the University of Maryland. Please join them for their season of performances in the area and at The Clarice including the group's debut recital “From Square One” on November 13, 2019.
A collaborative effort between the Talbot County Arts Council, Easton Middle School and The University of Maryland School of Music has resulted in an ambitious Artists-in-Residence Program featuring the University of Maryland’s Mid-Atlantic Brass at Easton Middle School during this academic year. The initiative involved coordination assistance from the Talbot County Arts Council and Easton-based Chesapeake Music, which sponsors the annual chamber music and jazz music festivals.
The quintet will make four two-day visits to EMS during this school year. During these times, they work closely with students and teachers to bridge the gap between the classroom knowledge of world history and the experiences of world music. Using a collaborative lesson plan, the quintet will work with students and music and social studies teachers to make creative connections between the core social studies curriculum and music. This year students in four sixth-grade band classes will experience World History with World Music in an effort to show the importance of the arts in societies around the world. Each visit will involve a 45-minute presentation by the quintet as well as class time to help develop a meaningful relationship between quintet members and the students they mentor. In addition, seventh and eighth-grade band classes will receive master classes from the visiting artists.
The project was initiated by members of the board of directors of the Talbot County Arts Council who were dismayed by the near total absence of young people attending Mid-Shore Area performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Chesapeake Music. A study group concluded that younger people might begin attending if they could be introduced to classical music in various appealing forms at the secondary school level.
The resulting project is a result of an organizational effort coordinated by a committee from the board of the Talbot County Arts Council, which brought together the School of Music of the University of Maryland, the music and social studies faculty of Easton Middle School, and Chesapeake Music. Their objective is to provide the student body a rare opportunity to learn from the skill and experience of graduate-level musicians, to both inspire a lifelong love of classical music among the general student body and allow music students to benefit from the skill and enthusiasm of young professional-level musicians who are qualified as music teachers and who are participating as volunteers.
The University of Maryland portion of the initiative is being managed by Dr. Robert DiLutis, Professor of Clarinet and Director of the Community Engagement Office at the School of Music. Talbot County Public Schools has been involved through the encouragement of former fine arts supervisor Dr. Marcia Sprankle and her successor, James Redman. The EMS component is managed by band director Donna Ewing with the assistance of chorus director CJ Freeman. Chesapeake Music has been represented by executive director Donald Buxton and Hanna Woicke, chair of the YouthReach Committee. Participating Arts Council board members are Nancy Larson and Bill Peak. The program will be administered directly between Dr. DiLutis and Mrs. Ewing, and housing during the quintets overnight stays in Talbot County has been organized by Chesapeake Music president Courtney Kane.
If the pilot program proves successful, it is hoped funding will be found to continue the initiative in future years at Easton Middle School and possibly expand the project to include other local schools. The program is made possible by a grant from the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, with funds from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, using revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.