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Jazz on the Patio Returns!

Kathryn Franke
MSM Class of 2013

This summer marks the second year of Wednesdays at the Fountain, the summer concert series held at our very own Mount Saint Maryís University. In what is hoped to be an annual event, the sound of music will be resonating throughout campus during the months of June and July as a variety of musicians perform at the fountain located on the McGowan Patio. The concerts will take place on Wednesday nights from 8:30-10pm, and the concerts are free to all who wish to attend.

Last year, the summer concerts featured only jazz music. This year, however, the concerts will include musicians from a variety of genres, including classic and modern rock, pop, Latin jazz, and classic and modern jazz. By adding an assortment of genres to the series, it is hoped that the concerts will attract a broader and larger audience. According to Timothy Wolfe, who organized the concert series, "While jazz is Americaís classical music and perhaps our greatest artistic contribution to the world, we realize that variety is good. So, the various musical genres featured this year should only add to the attractiveness of this free and open to the public concert series."

The first concert is scheduled for June 1st, and it will highlight the jazz/pop quartet known as Third Stream. Third Stream is highly respected and very popular in the Mid-Atlantic region. The members of this group are all experts on their instruments, and some are even phenomenal at playing multiple instruments. Third Streamís music covers jazz, classical, and pop genres. The bandís audiences have always been deeply impressed by their musical skills. Third Stream opened the Wednesdays at the Fountain series in 2010, and because of their spectacular performance, they will repeat this honor for this summerís series as well.

The following week on June 8th, The Dirt Party will "take the stage." This quartet is made up of a group of composers who wish to test the limits of their own compositions by combining a variety of genres in their music. Their creative way of meshing their different interests and their desire to think outside the box results in very memorable performances.

The quartet rotates a pool of musicians in order to blend jazz, funk and rock in a collective improvisation. Every performance within their group is very different, which creates an interesting combination within the group dynamic. There are individual, unique compositions and artists within the group, yet there is a common goal of experimenting with and evolving the idea of music that we hold today. The Dirt Party is an experiment in aesthetics, and it provides the audience with music that is striking and remarkable. They are able to provide their audience with a unique perspective on music in general by allowing them to experience many different genres of music within the same performance. The Dirt Party has performed at Philadelphia Art Museum, Tutuma Social Club in Manhattan with Andrew D'Angelo, Chris' Jazz Cafe, World Cafe Live, and many other locations in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

Judd and Maggie will perform on June 15th, bringing us a unique combination of pop, rock, and country music. Judd and Maggie are brother and sister, and they work together as a singer-songwriter pair. Originally from Baltimore, they have lived in Los Angeles and Nashville. They have recorded a total of five albums and signed a record deal with RCA. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Judd and Maggie were able to tour nationally and spread their music throughout the country. Their distinct style of music has often been compared to that of the Carpenters, Fleetwood Mac, and Wilco. Judd works as the Director of Music Ministry at Mount Saint Mary's University, so by participating in this concert series he will be able to share even more of his music with the Mount community as he and his sister showcase their musical talents.

Counter Riot will perform the following week on June 22nd. Counter Riot is a punk/funk trio whose debut album "Punk Funk Fugato" has been steadily moving up on the radio charts, currently holding the 12th spot as of this past April. The members of this group play guitar, bass, and drums, and they are committed to excellence in their music. Counter Riotís music and lyrics have been described as interesting, exciting, and provocative. They are sure to be a very entertaining addition to the concert series.

Rounding up the June performances on June 29th is the Afro Bop Alliance. This Latin Jazz Septet has its roots in Annapolis, Maryland. The group performs throughout the Mid-Atlantic and was nominated for best Latin Jazz Album at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in 2008. That same year at the 9th annual Latin Grammy Awards, they won for best Latin Jazz recording. The band's music has been influenced by the musical styles of many different cultures that are all under the umbrella of "Latin" or "Latin Jazz." They have been able to take all of these cultures and merge them into a unique, captivating style with which they perform. As can be seen through the bandís numerous accomplishments and recognitions, this is a group that you do not want to miss.

After you watch the fireworks burst in the sky to celebrate our nationís independence on the Fourth of July, keep the entertainment going with a performance by The Scam on July 6th. This acoustic rock quartet performs a variety of rock songs ranging from the 1960ís to the present, but adds an acoustic flare to them. In addition to performing hits from classic rock bands such as the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Beatles, and the Steve Miller Band, they also cover material by more recent artists such as Los Lonely Boys, Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, and Jack Johnson. Within this group there is an assortment of music that will appeal to a very wide audience, so come and take a new perspective on a classic or listen to the tunes from today as The Scam presents us with an acoustic assortment that will surely be very entertaining.

On July 13th, the Bruce Swaim Quartet will perform at the fountain. This Straight Ahead Jazz Quartet is known and loved by jazz fans in the greater Washington/Baltimore area. They perform jazz standards and also original compositions. In a review about the group, Jazz Times Magazine stated the following describing the band: "The foursome displays a chemistry that comes out naturally. Each musician connects with the others on a plane that is intangible to the audience. Their arrangements endeavor to create a fun atmosphere for themselves and their audience, which makes the Bruce Swaim Quartetís music conducive to the jazz club exuberance." The Bruce Swaim Quartet is a group that will leave you amazed at their talent and chemistry, and they will be a great addition to the series.

The July 20th performance is still to be determined, but based on the quality and talent seen among the groups that will be performing, the music offered that night will surely be just as interesting and enjoyable as the others. Be sure to check the Mount Summer website ( to find information regarding the performance schedule and other updates about programs and events being offered throughout the summer. On this website you will also find links to the websites of each of the bands on the playlist for this summerís concert series.

Finishing off the Wednesdays at the Fountain series on July 27th is The Rick Whitehead Trio. This jazz trio has been described as "ridiculous" because of the extreme talent and skills that the musicians have. Their performances leave their audience marveling at how they are able to play their instruments so well. The lead guitarist of the group is Rick Whitehead himself, and his sense of swing and his creative way of improvising ensure a very entertaining and jaw-dropping performance for any audience. The trio is supported by a powerful and hard swinging rhythm section, and the group is considered one of the best jazz groups in and around the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. The Rick Whitehead Trio should prove to be an exciting finale for a wonderful group of musicians.

The addition of many genres to the series is a great way to allow the audience to be introduced to styles of music that they have never been exposed to before, or just enjoy the ones they know and love. The series is not only a way to broaden oneís musical interests, but it is also a way to meet new people, some with similar tastes in music and others who are taking advantage of the opportunity to try out something new. "We think the series benefits the Mount community and the surrounding community by bringing people together. At the music series you will see younger and older people, people of various social backgrounds, and Mount people and non-Mount people all coming together to enjoy the gift of live music," said Wolfe.

The goal of the concert series is to bring people together to enjoy the many different kinds of music that we have available to us. The concerts are a great source of entertainment and a way to build a strong sense of community between not only the students and faculty at the Mount but also with people from the surrounding areas. "Last year, we had a nice mixture of Mount Saint Maryís students, faculty, and staff and members of the surrounding community. We hope to have that same mix again this year," said Wolfe. And remember, the concerts are free, open to the public, and held rain or shine! Should there be inclement weather, the Mount Cafť will be used as the location for the concerts. So be sure to check out the schedule on the Mount website and attend maybe one, maybe a few, or maybe all of the concerts if you want to experience the music of some of the best musicians around!

(For more information about summer programs at Mount Saint Maryís, call 301-447-8329 or send an email to

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