The World On A String

The ever-evolving Serafin String Quartet is raising its profile with a new CD release, a London concert and a project with a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. It’s safe to say, the Serafins aren’t fiddling around.

The Serafins are (from left) Ana Tsinadze, Kate Ransom, Timothy Schwarz and Lawrence Stomberg. Photograph by Jared CastaldiSince its debut concert in 2004, the Serafin String Quartet has gone peacefully along, performing primarily at venues up and down the East Coast and occasionally nationally. But with the recent release of its first commercial CD, along with several other exciting projects, the Wilmington-based Serafins are broadening their horizons.

“We’ve decided we need to start to have some international presence” says violinist Kate Ransom, a quartet founder. So the quartet—Ransom, Ana Tsinadze on viola, Timothy Schwarz on violin and cellist Lawrence Stomberg—will be presented in September at Saint John’s, Smith Square, London—the premier venue for emerging ensembles.

The Serafins’ repertoire will include selections from its recently released CD, which Ransom describes as an “American tapestry,” as well as material from an upcoming project with Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy-winning composer Jennifer Higdon.

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The CD, available now on the Centaur Records Website (scheduled for an official release in September), was recorded in 2009 at the University of Delaware’s Gore Hall. Though recording was exciting, it’s also progress toward another level.

“It’s a step along the way because the group continues to develop and refine what we do,” Ransom says. “We’ve already grown artistically since we recorded that material.”

The Serafins (they take their name from Ransom’s violin, which was made in 1728 by the Venetian master Sanctus Serafin) will play the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia in February, then kick off a tour of the Southeast in April. The quartet also recently signed a deal to become the ensemble in residence at UD.

With the group’s youngest member approaching 40, Ransom says it’s too late for the quartet to establish itself by embarking on the traditional competition circuit.

“We have to build our careers in a different way,” she says. “We have to take the next step that is achievable and helps us grow and strengthen everything about what we are.”

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For more, visit centaurrecords.com, or serafinquartet.org. —Drew Ostroski
 

Page 2:  The Reel Deal  |  Film Brothers celebrates 10 years in business while shooting for its next decade of lights, camera and action.

 

Greg (left) and Gordon DelGiorno of Wilmington are the Film Brothers. Photograph by Jared Castaldi The Reel Deal

 Film Brothers celebrates 10 years in business while shooting for its next decade of lights, camera and action.

From a whacky indie film called “Franks & Weiners” to a legitimate video-production company, Wilmington’s Film Brothers have evolved from Logan House heroes. It only took 10 years.

“We are a serious business,” says Gordon DelGiorno, one half of the fraternal team. “We aren’t just a bunch of people running around with cameras. We were at one point, but not anymore.”

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Gordon and his brother Greg started making feature-length films, but quickly moved on to documentaries such as “Jack of Clubs” about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware. Now they’re producing commercials, too.

Greg attributes Film Brothers’ success to a strong local fan base that supports the company and turns out to see its films. “They come to our films and put their money into it and basically keep us going, so that has a lot to do with the people around here,” he says. “Wilmington is generally a small enough area that you can build a strong network.”

Whether people like the films or not, Gordon says Film Brothers projects are not only entertainment but a way for people to reconnect. The evidence? About 150 business owners and entrepreneurs helped the company celebrate its milestone.

“We brought art and business together, and that has kind of been our calling card,” Gordon says.

As Film Brothers works toward its next 10 years, the brothers are making connections in Los Angeles while evolving into a marketing and networking video company.

“We want to stay here in Delaware, I don’t want to move to L.A.,” Gordon says. “We are doing commercials, doing festivals and community events and staying busy here—and looking for the big home runs, too.” —Caitlin Maloney
 

Page 3: Delaware’s Discovery Channel | Our own Christina River is one of the world’s top sites for ecological research. Does it play a role in global warming? Local scientists aim to find out.

 

The Stroud Water Research Center and its director, Bern Sweeney, are looking at the Christina River’s past, present and future.Delaware’s Discovery Channel

Our own Christina River is one of the world’s top sites for ecological research. Does it play a role in global warming? Local scientists aim to find out.

Humans may be largely to blame for excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but there may be a more surprising culprit: healthy ecosystems.

Stroud Water Research Center, a world-class research outfit based in Avondale, Pennsylvania, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to make the Christina River Basin a critical zone observatory—one of only six in the country—a place where every aspect of the ecosystem, from the bedrock to the treetops, will be studied.

“Ours (in the Christina) has a human footprint on it that goes back 300 years or more, so the landscape that we’re looking at is highly impacted,” says Dr. Lou Kaplan, a senior research scientist at Stroud. “Part of what we’re doing is looking at existing conditions, but part of what we’re doing is looking back and trying to interpret how some of those conditions came about and the implications of those past actions for the future.”

The grant will enable researchers from Stroud and UD to collect data using the latest methods and post them on the Internet in real time for scientists everywhere to see, says Stroud scientist Anthony Aufdenkampe. “We are now a magnet for researchers all over the country and, in fact, all over the world to come and collaborate with us,” he says.

Because the data will be available well beyond UD and Stroud, says Liz Brooking, Stroud’s director of communications and marketing, “there’s potential for much greater collaboration and discovery.”   —Alexandra Duszak

Page 4:  Forgotten No Longer | Renovations of the historic Tweed’s Tavern are complete and a nearby exhibit hall is in the works. Talk about living history.

 

Hockessin Historical Society president Joe Lake says Tweed’s Tavern offers a unique look at life in the 18th century. Photograph by Jared CastaldiForgotten No Longer

Renovations of the historic Tweed’s Tavern are complete and a nearby exhibit hall is in the works. Talk about living history.

Tweed’s Tavern was once a place for travelers to get a meal, rest their horses, have their wagon repaired and stay the night. Now it’s a historical rarity.

Relocated to Valley Road in Hockessin about a decade ago, the log tavern has been fully restored, complete with a new kitchen wing, and will soon open to school groups for special tours. The structure offers a way to travel back in time, says Joe Lake, president of the Hockessin Historical Society, which is responsible for the project.

“You will be able to see how people in the 18th century lived and worked, how life was,” he says. The tavern includes a brewery, dining rooms, a large bedroom and kitchen.

Memory of the tavern was almost lost until 1999, when the Delaware Department of Transportation wanted to destroy it to widen Limestone Road. “People forgot about it until it was time to tear it down,” says Brian Woodcock, a director of the Hockessin Historical Society.

Surrounding the tavern is Tweed’s Park, which includes the Hockessin Athletic Center, a parking garage, soccer fields and a boardwalk that winds through marshland and woods. Offering natural scenery, the park is a great place for families to enjoy the outdoors while feeling a sense of the past. “The area looks as you’d see it if you came out of the woods from Pennsylvania in the 1700s,” says Lake.

Plans call for a $1 million history and art museum, called the Exhibit Hall, to be built behind the tavern. The society is raising funds for that project. For more, visit hockessinhistorical.org. —Jillian Harig
 

 Page 5: Media Watch

 

Media Watch

Former Rehoboth Beach lifeguard David Grosh brings comic relief to the documentary “Casino Jack and the United States of Money.” Grosh gained notoriety in 2005 when he testified in Congress about his stint as head of a dummy global incorporation as part of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The film includes footage from that testimony, along with a more recent interview. Says Grosh: “I’m not qualified to run a Baskin-Robbins, let alone an international think tank.”

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