BEST BETS: First Rider Fest tunes up for charity

Last summer, Caesar Rodney High School senior David Haynes was urged to make a difference in his community.

Kevin Hartigan graduated from Polytech High in 2015 and is now attending Eastern Carolina University. He plays guitar and ukulele with a unique country/alt rock sound. He will be last act at Saturday’s Rider Fest starting at 9:15 pm. (Submitted photo)

During a leadership seminar at the school, CR’s wrestling coach Dan Rigby talked about the impact students could have by creating a charity fundraiser.

That got David’s wheels turning.

“I definitely wanted to do something for an organization that touched on lives across Delaware. I didn’t want it to be specific to Camden-Wyoming or the CR area. I thought about St. Jude’s (Children’s’ Research Hospital) but they were based closer to Philadelphia,” he said.

“Then my principal Dr. (Sherry) Kijowski mentioned that the school has had a few kids go to A.I. duPont Hospital for treatments in past years and still have some now.”

Thus Rider Fest was born.

The all-day music festival will start at noon on Saturday in the auditorium of the school at 239 Old North Road in Camden and go well into the night. The last act starts at 9:15 p.m.

All proceeds from the day will go to the Child Life department at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.

“I talked to a woman named Grace Carr at the hospital who is helping us with this. I asked her opinion on what aspect of the hospital could use the funds and she mentioned Child Life. She talked about the music therapy program, which helps children recovering from surgery overcome their problems. So I thought a music festival would be appropriate,” David said.

According to the A.I. duPont’s website, “Our staff promotes the use of play, preparation, education and self-expression activities as a way to normalize the hospital.”

Twelve acts will grace the stage on Saturday, from school bands to local and regional artists such as Kent County’s own Jim Rezac and L&M Blues from Media, Pennsylvania.

The festival will cross many genres. Jazz will be represented by the Evan Mallon Quintet, a group from the University of Delaware, which includes 2017 Caesar Rodney graduate Jason Blythe on saxophone.

Rock band Darkin will perform. Frank Darwicki V of the group has donated his sound system as well as his services to run it for Rider Fest.

“This saved us hundreds of dollars that we would have had to pay to rent,” David said.

The day will be capped off by a performance from Kevin Hartigan, a 2015 Polytech High grad who is attending Eastern Carolina University. He plays guitar and ukulele with a country/alt-rock sound.

Wristbands will be $10, which will enable audience members to come and go throughout the day. Snacks and refreshments will also be sold.

Caesar Rodney Director of Theatre John Muller has been the faculty adviser on the project.

“David is a great kid. Dr. Kijowski came to me last summer when David approached her about the Rider Fest and asked if I

David Haynes

would be the faculty adviser for the event,” Mr. Muller said.

“When I met David, I was pretty convinced that he was going to pull this off and do it well. I want every kid to follow his heart and dreams, so if I can help them get to that goal, whatever it is, I want to be there to help. That’s how I teach my classes and how I live my life. So this just seemed like a perfect opportunity to pay it forward a little more.”

Mr. Muller said he has had little to do with the festival other than advise David through the process.

“He has had a clear vision of what he wanted from the very beginning,” Mr. Muller said.

The event was originally set for April but not enough bands were booked and things weren’t quite ready. Mr. Muller took that as a good sign.

“(David) had the maturity and responsibility to step up and say, ‘I think we need a little more time to do this right,’” Mr. Muller said.

Although he’ll be off to the University of Delaware in the fall, majoring in English, David is looking forward to Rider Fest becoming an annual event.

“I hope it can become a recurring thing if it goes well this year. I think there are some students here who can definitely pick it up. Plus, I’ll just be at the University of Delaware and can help if they’re interested,” he said.

Mr. Muller echoes that thought.

“If the event is successful, and none of us really know how it will go as none of us has ever done this before, I think it will become a CR tradition.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring attention to local musicians, showcase the arts and raise money for a great charity.”

Afternoon of song

Continuing their string of local events, B&B Music’s Rockshop Performing Arts Center presents an afternoon of music from local singer/songwriters Sol Knopf, Keith Mack, Cliff Hillis and Ed Shockley.

Cliff Hillis will join fellow singer-songwriters Sol Knopf, Ed Shockley and Keith Mack Sunday. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Mack is a celebrated guitar player who has backed many of rock’s iconic voices for the last 30 years, having toured and recorded with legends like Paul Young, Joe Cocker and most recently Cyndi Lauper on her world tour.

In the 1980s, he teamed with Patty Smyth and joined the band Scandal. The group went on to produce hits like “Goodbye to You,” “Love’s Got a Line on You” and the chart-topping single and album “The Warrior”.

With over 50 songs published in his illustrious career, Mr. Shockley’s “Dodge City” (recorded by Jack of Diamonds) became an anthem to a generation of music fans in the mid-Atlantic region. After moving to New York City, Mr. Shockley, along with the band Cries, signed a major recording/publishing contract with RCA Records.

More recently he has been a member of the roots gospel trio, The Reminders, co-writing several songs on their three CDs. He is also a member of the popular 10-piece rock and soul band, The Funsters.

An award winning songwriter, singer and producer, Mr. Hillis is a highly sought-after multi-instrumentalist, touring musician and producer.

Noon — Brody Hamilton
12:30 p.m. — Leah Whalen and Jasmine Bryant
1 p.m. — Evan Fox
1:45 p.m. — Paul Simmons
2:30 p.m. — Envoy Music
3:15 p.m. — Darkin
4 p.m. — L&M Blues
5:15 p.m. — Ennio Emmanuel
6 p.m. — Domthegonzo
7:15 p.m. — The Evan Mallon Quintet
8:30 p.m. — Jim Rezac
9:15 p.m. — Kevin Hartigan

His original songs have been featured in a number of TV shows and films. He has toured the world with members of the Electric Light Orchestra and with Patty Smyth and Scandal.

Mr. Knopf is also an award-winning singer/songwriter. His single “My Baby Girl” (co-written with Geri Smith), released in 2013, has become one of the most requested, independently released, father/daughter dance songs at weddings across the USA and abroad. The YouTube video for “My Baby Girl” is currently on its way toward 1 million views. “My Baby Girl” is included on his CD “Sea Change.”

Tickets are $20 for the 3 p.m. show and can be obtained by visiting The Rockshop is at 3395 S. DuPont Highway in Camden.

New museum director

It was announced this week that Di Rafter is leaving the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover after 12 years.

She will be relocating out west and says, “the hardest part about leaving the museum is that I will sorely miss the museum trustees, staff and volunteers. They’re some of the most wonderful, giving and supporting people I have ever met. I couldn’t have done half the things I’ve done without them. I want to publicly say thank you to all of them and the community for the overwhelming support and allowing me to be your director”.

Di Rafter, left, is leaving her post as director of the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover, Carolyn Claypoole, right, of Lewes is replacing her. (Submitted photo)

Carolyn Claypoole of Lewes will take over as director.

“This is the job I’ve been looking forward to for many years,” she said.

Ms. Claypoole has over 30 years of experience working in archives, libraries and museums with a particular focus on management control, strategic planning, budget, grants management, space management and event planning.

Over a 16-year period, she has held positions with the National Archives and Records Administration and Library of Congress in Washington.

“We have already started training and Carolyn has given me both peace of mind and a comfort level that warms my heart. I can now breathe easy turning over the reins,” said Ms. Rafter.

On her off time Ms. Claypoole is active with the Lewes Historical Society and is chairwoman for the society’s collections committee.

‘Jason’s Letter’ on Starz

You may remember the excitement that came with the filming of a movie last year when the cast and crew of “Jason’s Letter” came to Dover.

Now, if you subscribe to the Starz premium cable network, you’ll be able to see the film starting Sept. 1.

The movie, produced, directed and written by Terrance Tykeem, premiered at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts last June in the final event prior to its close.

Vivica A. Fox and Jamol Manigault star in “Jason’s Letter.” (Submitted photo)

The majority of the movie, about 75 percent, was filmed in Dover in January of 2017. The rest was filmed in Middletown and the Philadelphia area.

“Jason’s Letter” is set in the fictional town of Hayden Heights, Delaware, where 72 percent of the residents are black and members of the police force are predominantly white. In the film, nearly all of those who have been shot and killed by the police are unarmed minority men, women and young children.

After a young boy with whom he attended elementary school becomes the latest casualty, 12-year-old Jason McKey offers some unconventional solutions to the situation in a letter that is read to city council.

In the movie, Jason is played by the young actor Jamol Manigault. Vivica A. Fox, from the “Kill Bill” and “Independence Day” films and the TV show “Empire,” plays the city manager who rallies to get the letter read in front of council.

Michael Pare, best known for his leading role in the 1983 cult classic “Eddie and the Cruisers”; Quinton Aaron, who played the football player Michael Oher in “The Blind Side”; and Joseph Gannascoli from “The Sopranos,” also star.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and City Councilman William Hare have cameos.

The Dover location shooting took place at City Hall, the library and a few downtown houses and businesses.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend is the highly anticipated “Deadpool 2,” Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda in the comedy “Book Club” and the action-comedy “Show Dogs.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the action-comedy “Game Night,” Jennifer Lawrence in the Russian spy drama “Red Sparrow,” the true-life drama “15:17 Paris” and the animated “Early Man.”

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