Focus on Community/Arts
Chesapeake College Throws 40th Birthday Bash

Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2005


WYE MILLS – The community celebrated 40 years of service by Chesapeake College with a special concert on May 7 in the Rufus M. and Loraine Hall Todd Performing Arts Center.

More than 250 people attended the "Return to the 60s" show, with more than 150 patrons buying tickets at the door. This show netted second highest number of "walk-up" ticket sales in TPAC’s nine-year history. The evening began with "Chesapeake Idol", a local talent show featuring music of the 1960s. Seven solo performers and one duet performed in costumes and competed for a $500 grand prize.

Jeffrey Calder-Dow, a Chesapeake nursing student from St. Michaels, took the $500 grand prize for his rendition of "Don’t Think Twice" by Bob Dylan. Easton’s Sarah Vence, a music teacher at Centreville Middle School, took second prize with her performance of the 1965 hit "Rescue Me." A freshman from North Caroline High School, Karen Burd of Denton, won third prize by singing Brenda Lee’s "Break it to Me Gently."

Calder-Dow said he was stunned when his name called as the grand -prize winner.

"This is one of my favorite songs and I love singing it, but I can’t believe that I won. I never win anything!" Dow said backstage. "I heard some of the other contestants sing, so I know how tough the competition was. I’m honored."

The "Idols" line-up also included: Holly Baldwin of Easton, Tim McClain of Hurlock, Bridget Page of Preston, Felicia Tuttle of Denton, Jaclyn Whittington of St. Michaels, and Krystal Zornak of Denton.

After the "Idols" winners were announced, the audience then enjoyed The Return, an Atlanta-based band that looks and sounds like the beloved Beatles.

Every detail from the Beatles’ early live performance years had been studied and carefully recreated for this show. From the mop-top haircuts and English tailored suits, to the actual instruments and stage equipment. The Return’s authenticity gave young audience members and many older fans a magical performance. The band is touring the United States and has appeared on ABC’s "Good Morning America." In the spring of 2001, The Return was the official tour band for the Hard Rock Café’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Besides an uncanny resemblance, each member held to his original counterpart: the particular stance Lennon took in front of a microphone, the way Harrison strapped on his Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar, and the famous head bounce Ringo used to keep the beat. There is even a left-handed McCartney look-alike on an original Hofner violin bass.

TPAC audience members took the aisles and danced as the band played Beatles’ hits like "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout."

"We were pleased by the turn-out, but we were really happy to see everyone have such a good time," said Erica Wefelmeyer, president of the Student Government Association, which sponsored the event. "The Return was wonderful and we thought all the Idols did a great job."

Members of the band wished Chesapeake well and played the Beatles’ song "Birthday" to end the set. The enthusiastic crowd cheered for an encore, so the band returned to the stage to play two more songs.

The 40th celebration continues in the fall, when Chesapeake dedicates a commemorative mosaic and buries a birthday time capsule on Thursday, Sept. 14. An academic convocation in recognition of the 40 year anniversary will be held in the TPAC on Monday, Dec. 5.


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