Jeri Lynne Johnson was recently named cover conductor for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. She is also founder and music director of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in Philadelphia.
DT: What should I call you, Maestro?
JJ: You could call me maestra. To Italian people maestra is a dominatrix, but it’s fine in America (laughing). You don’t have to put that in your story.
DT: How did your DSO gig come about?
JJ: A few of the players in my orchestra play with DSO. Last February we were doing a recording, and some of them had a DSO rehearsal that night, so I let everybody go early. The people in Delaware heard about that. It created an awareness between the organizations. I met with (DSO leaders) and they offered me the position.
DT: What are your duties with DSO?
JJ: My job is to lead the orchestra (in conductor David Amado’s absence), but also have confidence with the repertoire so the orchestra can feel comfortable playing it.
DT: My favorite DSO performance was “Bugs Bunny on Broadway.” Should I be ashamed?
JJ: You should not be ashamed. Those old ’40s and ’50s cartoons were great. They used Wagner and great pieces that people are familiar with through those cartoons. When I’m working with young African-American kids at schools with no music programs, I go straight to Bugs Bunny.
DT: Can the fact that you’re a relatively young conductor, African-American and a woman, help younger, more diverse audiences enjoy classical music?
JJ: When I started my orchestra, that was certainly my hope. People say, “You look like you’re having so much fun.” Well, we are. We’re smiling. We palpably enjoy what we’re doing and have fun with each other. The diversity and positive energy that we project helps them enjoy the music.
JJ: So, Maestra, just how big is your ego?
JJ: My ego is… I’m thankful that the (DSO) trusts me to have their backs if something goes wrong. I’m honored for them to ask me to step in there in a breach if they need it. —Drew Ostroski
Page 2: God of Film | Take a bow, Delaware. Luke Matheny is sharing his Oscar gold with you.
God of Film
Take a bow, Delaware. Luke Matheny is sharing his Oscar gold with you.
Luke Matheny, a Wilmington native and Concord High graduate, thanked “the great state of Delaware” in his brief yet charming acceptance speech when his film “God of Love” took home Best Live Action Short at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
His trademark afro in full bloom, Matheny grinned as he collected an Oscar statuette from actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and drew laughs with his opening line: “I should have gotten a haircut.” He thanked his father, and his mother, DiAnn Matheny of Amelia Island, Fla., who provided craft services during shooting. That tidbit also garnered big laughs from the packed house of celebrities inside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
The shout-out heard around Delaware could be a major launch pad for the budding screenwriter, director and actor. Matheny’s “God of Love”—his NYU graduate thesis, actually—is an 18-minute black-and-white comedy about a lovelorn lounge singer who comes across a box of love-inducing darts, then goes about resolving the strange romantic triangle he’s in. It’s a comedy, and it has romance, but it’s not a romantic comedy, Matheny says. It’s styled more like a 1950s jazz club film. Last summer it earned him a prestigious Student Academy Award.
That ceremony earned Matheny an audience with agents, producers and other industry professionals. “I’m learning the film process is a lot of meetings,” he says. “But it’s been good. This recognition has been a perfect springboard.”
His Oscar win could mean a Hollywood career path paved in gold. “I think any filmmaker is lying if he says he doesn’t picture that moment thanking the Academy,” Matheny said of his Student Oscar. “It was pretty great.” —Matt Amis
Page 3: Doing Good | Living on the Edge
Living on the Edge
Erin Guttenplan started nonprofit Edge of Seven to encourage volunteers to travel the world while undertaking service projects that help girls in developing countries. Guttenplan’s first project renovated a school in Nepal, where two of every three women are illiterate. “I used to work for an educational travel company,” says Guttenplan, of Wilmington. “I went to Nepal and immediately shifted my focus from my professional career to the people of Nepal. I saw an opportunity there for the organizations that were failing to get aid from those in America who wanted to contribute donations and volunteer.” Seven of every 10 girls in the Everest region of Nepal don’t go to college because of a lack of housing for girls, so Edge of Seven volunteers are building a hostel there that will allow 40 women to pursue higher education. “Traveling truly opens your eyes and makes you realize that Americans take so much for granted,” Guttenplan says. For more, visit edgeofseven.org. —Rebecca Kasman
Page 4: One Thing I Know
One Thing I Know
Ted Kaufman Former U.S. Senator I know that a major factor in Delawareans’ ability to obtain good jobs will be maintaining Delaware’s leadership in science, technology, engineering and math education. Everyone from venture capitalists to corporate executives to academics forecast major job growth will come in STEM-related industries. Let’s keep Delaware No. 1.
Page 5: Index | Wilmington Blue Rocks
Wilmington Blue Rocks
Date of home opener in April
Seasons of the original Blue Rocks
Seasons of current franchise
Years as Royals farm team
Years as Red Sox farm team
Price of a hotdog, dollars
Frawley Stadium’s capacity
Age of youngest current player
Age of oldest current player
Age of Mr. Celery
Former Rocks to make an MLB roster
Former Rocks to win Cy Young Award
33, 36, 42
Retired numbers of Mike Sweeney,Robin Roberts and Jackie Robinson, respectively
Page 6: Delebrity Musicology | Vikki Walls | Entertainment director, Bottle & Cork
Vikki Walls | Entertainment director, Bottle & Cork
Crime of the Century | Supertramp
This was the first album where I really focused on the production aspects of a recording. I had the opportunity to see this band at an early age and found their live performance to be as good, if not better, than the actual recording. It was very atmospheric, upbeat, with amazing vocals and what I feel embodies what the ’70s meant to me.
I’m Your Man | Leonard Cohen
Listen to this and you will understand why he is so respected in the industry. I have always loved his songwriting and voice. Great stuff to listen to with headphones on.
Murmur | R.E.M.
My introduction to alternative music and still one of my favorite albums. In a time when heavy metal seemed to rule the airwaves and MTV, here comes this little band out of Atlanta that wrote great pop songs and gave people like me hope that the ’80s weren’t going to be all that bad after all.
Odelay | Beck
A nice relief from too many grunge bands in the early ’90s, Beck came out with something completely different that incorporated various styles, genres and instrumentation that was very refreshing and new. The fact that he heard all this in his head amazes me.
Barton Hollow | The Civil Wars
This is a brand-new act that I cannot get enough of. I wanted to mention someone who has a new recording and is not widely known yet. This album consists mostly of great vocals, acoustic guitar and, occasionally, the piano. It is very basic, not overly produced, which allows you to focus on the song and the lyrics, which cross over between Americana, folk, with a little touch of country and what are some of the best harmonies and vocals I have heard from a new band in quite some time.
Page 7: Tower of Power | The new (old) air traffic control tower at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover will raise visitors’ experiences to new heights.
Tower of Power
The new (old) air traffic control tower at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover will raise visitors’ experiences to new heights.
You can hear the excitement in Mike Leister’s voice when he talks about the history of the old air traffic control tower at Dover Air Force Base.
After all, the 55-year-old tower presided over myriad comings and goings of aircraft and visitors, from refugees of the 1956 Hungarian uprising to a handful of U.S. presidents.
But Leister, director of the base’s Air Mobility Command Museum, also gets excited when he thinks about the tower’s future. That’s because the structure, replaced by a state-of-the art tower, will soon provide visitors with a bird’s-eye view of the museum’s impressive collection of vintage aircraft.
“You can also see planes take off and land on the base’s runways,” Leister says. “And it’ll be the best seat in the house for air shows.”
While the floor of the old tower soared 84 feet above the runway, the cab of that structure will be placed on a new tower just 34 feet off the ground. It will hold 15 people and eventually feature an anemometer, recorded air traffic chatter and a chance to make live radio calls to museum staff.
Dover’s tower is one of just three in the United States that is open to the general public. The other two are at the National Air and Space Museum near Dulles International Airport and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.
“That’s pretty good for Dover, Delaware, to have the giant company of those museums,” Leister says. “It’s really a wonderful piece of history and a significant addition to the museum from now on.” For more, visit amcmuseum.org. —Drew Ostroski