Following his first novel, “Cuckold Creek,” former CSM President Dr. John Sine’s protagonist Dean Charles Abell returns to a mounting financial crisis that threatens to shut down his beloved institution. If the tension of professional doom and gloom isn’t enough, the central chapters follow Abell as he uncovers--and is haunted by--his ancestors’ link to a lynch mob killing in the Port Tobacco Valley during the 1800s.
The former president of the College of Southern Maryland, Dr. John Sine, had a vision that the college would be a conduit for bringing the arts to area students and residents through theatrical productions, musical entertainment, art shows and literary events. Little did he know he would be part of that vision after his retirement.
“What I wanted was for the college to have influence in the artistic life of the community. So we began to do better, larger shows in the theater, we began to produce musical events and we had famous performers come in,” Sine said in a recent interview. “At the time, the student body was still growing, and to tell you the truth, if you are going to produce meaningful stuff, the student body has to be large enough to support that. You have to have people who want to try acting, want to read poetry, want to write short stories. This [college] has to be the place that encourages that.”
Now, no longer a college administrator grappling with budget issues and staffing to advance the arts at CSM, Sine has the time to devote to literary endeavors of his own.
One of those endeavors is a trilogy of novels set in a loosely fictionalized Southern Maryland community—with a college. Following his first novel, “Cuckold Creek,” Sine’s protagonist Dean Charles Abell returns to a mounting financial crisis that threatens to shut his beloved institution. If the tension of professional doom and gloom isn’t enough, the central chapters follow Abell as he uncovers--and is haunted by--his ancestors’ link to a lynch mob killing in the Port Tobacco Valley during the 1800s.
Sine reminds readers that this is a work of fiction, though the characters and landscape are unmistakably drawn from his personal experiences. “I’m not sure about the genre of this novel.” Sine said. “It’s not historical fiction, although it does draw from actual historical events.”
Sine took an event recorded in newspapers from the 1890s and changed the names of people and places for his literary purposes.
The idea of weaving the past with the present in his second novel evolved from a painting Sine has hanging over the fireplace mantle of his home. One day, a visiting aunt recognized the painting as that of a house where two women had been murdered during her childhood. From that recollection, Sine sought the help of Dr. James Gibb of the Port Tobacco Archeological Project. “Although we could not positively confirm that the painting was a depiction of the actual house [where the murders took place], it was in the vicinity and that was good enough for my fictional account,” Sine said.
“The report of the murders led me to a newspaper story that linked the murders with the lynching of a man at the bridge, and that, in turn, led me to an illuminating paper written by Dr. [Christine] Arnold-Lourie, professor of history and the College of Southern Maryland. The book was stimulated by historical truth, embroidered by the imagination, and hopefully will engage the reader,” said Sine.
Once the creative process is finished, according to Sine, the business of book publishing begins. As a self-published author, Sine is writer, agent, publisher, publicist, business manager and salesman and he understands why so many famous authors appear to be a little ‘distant.’ “Creative writing is an engaging solitary pursuit that takes you from normal social contact. It creates a tension between the need to go about the chore of living a daily life with others, and the compulsion to spend time creating fictional ‘others’ that people want to read about,” Sine said.
Sine is ‘diddling’ with his third book in the series. As with “Cuckold Creek,” and “Tobacco Styx Bridge,” it will be published under the name Enis St. John, a pen name he chose, “in case it turned out to be a bomb,” he said.
Sine will be center stage when he presents a book discussion and signing of “Tobacco Styx Bridge” beginning at 7 p.m., May 7 in the Learning Resources Building, Room LR-102, La Plata Campus. The event is free. Copies of the book can be purchased in advance from the college bookstore or that evening. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Sine’s book will go to the CSM Foundation to fund the Fanny Louise Sullivan Sine Henderson Scholarship fund for single parents in need of financial aid, named for Sine’s mother.
Students interested in this scholarship or other scholarships available at CSM should register at https://scholarships.csmd.edu/stars/.
For information on CSM’s fine arts and literary events, visit www.csmd.edu.
Anna Radtke portrays Mary Lennox in the Port Tobacco Players spring musical, 'The Secret Garden'
Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Port Tobacco Players has a "Secret" that certainly should not be kept. The cast and crew of this show have been working night and day to put together its spring musical, The Secret Garden. Produced by Carol Charnock and Kristy Charnock, directed by Amy Wathen Cooksey, music directed by Therese Thiedeman and David Monk and choreographed by Randy Tusing, the production is sure to
touch your heart.
The Secret Garden based on the novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett with song lyrics written by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, creates a charming and wonderfully entertaining musical. The talented
cast brings to life the tale of Mary Lennox, a spoiled and lonely ten year old girl sent to live with her grieving uncle Archibald in Yorkshire after being orphaned by a cholera epidemic in India. Archibald casts a dark shadow over the manor. Both Mary and Archibald suffer from haunting dreams concerning their horrible experiences; the loss of Mary's parents and the loss of Archibald's love, Lily. Late one night, Mary hears faint crying somewhere in the house and discovers her bedridden cousin, Colin. Although they are both lonely and miserable, a friendship grows between them. Mary soon discovers a secret walled garden hidden in the grounds and releases the magic and adventure locked inside. By nursing this garden back to life, Mary somehow restores life to her grieving uncle and cousin.
The audience will share in the magic of discovering Lily's garden; feel the heartbreak in Archibald's beautiful songs and the companionship between Mary and Colin. Many talented artists at Port Tobacco Players worked on the backgrounds and props, making the story "spring" to life. So as spring arrives, and small flowers struggle to poke out of the ground in your yard The Secret Garden is just the musical to see.
Make your reservations now for this family musical. This production runs from April 30-May 23, 2010, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm. $17 - Adults; $14 - Students/Seniors/Military.
Whether you’re a dance connoisseur or just want a taste of ballet-from classical to modern-“The Ballet Project” at the College of Southern Maryland on April 17, 8 p.m., is the place to be.
See some of the best Southern Maryland, national and international dancers for a mere $5 at CSM’s Fine Arts Center in La Plata. The Fine Arts Center, in collaboration with Oscar Hawkins, artistic director of the Ballet Arts Academy at the Old Waldorf School, have been bringing professional dance to Southern Maryland for a number of years.
“Every year there are new dances to give the audience a taste of different things-- from classic to contemporary,” said Hawkins. "This year we’re bringing you the classics and much more."
Hawkins strives to have his audiences experience “the purity of raw human emotion and the pedestrian side” of dance. He describes his own choreography as “a contemporary style of movement based on pure classical technique with raw human feelings.”
In his second year as artistic director of “The Ballet Project,” Hawkins is eager to present “the talented dancers” performing in the show. Some of those performances include “Child Cries,” an original vocal work created by and performed live by Hawkins, and danced by Anastasia M. K. Kim. Hawkins will also dance “Gisselle” with Evgena Singur of the Bolshoi tradition.
The classic "Dying Swan," originally created for the ballerina Pavlova, will be danced by Russian ballerina Singur. Singur will also dance with Russian Hall of Fame’s Bat Udval to new Russian character work she choreographed. There will also be a premiere by Broadway dancer Shylo Martinez.
New choreographic work "Waiting" will be performed by BAA students Alex Walters and Sara Cheney. “Four Little Swans,” “Dying Swan” and many more contemporary and classical works will be presented by BAA
students along with guests from the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C.
“Our pre-professional students work long hours and are dedicated to their craft and this show gives them a chance to share the stage with some of the top dancers in the country,” Hawkins said of his BAA students.
“The Ballet Project” was developed by BAA Founder Jayne Stafani-Keating to expose the community to the artistic medium of ballet.
“Dance is an important artistic medium,” said Hawkins. “It provides a voice to the people and an outlet for creative expression to reflect the times or embrace the past.”
The dancers themselves and/or artistic directors will introduce each piece to be danced with a brief description of its history and choreography.
The program also features a question-and-answer session with the artists after the show, allowing the audience to question the dancers who will return to the stage for this informal discussion about their life as dancers and performers.
The performance is funded by a grant from the Charles County Arts Alliance and the Maryland State Arts Council.
For information or reservations, contact the CSM Box Office at 301-934-7828, 301-870-2309, 240-725-5499 or 443-550-6199, Ext 7828, mailto:email@example.com
The academy is located in the Old Waldorf School at 3074 Crain Highway (U.S. 301), just north of the Jaycees Center in Waldorf. To donate to or contact the school, visit www.baaonline.net
or call 301-932-4002.
The BAA is a 501c(3) non-profit organization established in 2005 by Jayne Stefani-Keating and dedicated to providing the community with a dance environment devoted exclusively to the study of classical ballet
following the Vaganova method of training. The academy offers complementary enrichment activities that provide an enduring appreciation for music, art and aspects of stage production and performance.
Friday, April 30, 2010 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Sotterley Plantation
Sotterley Plantation is proud to partner with The Boeing Company in presenting Ms. Flo Stone, President and Founder of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. She will highlight the 13 day program of the 2010 Festival with a special collection of film clips, a celebration of the diversity of outstanding environmental films. Clips to be featured at Sotterley will include selections from the following:
The Music Tree (a Festival award winner for artistry in film);
Portrait films of distinguished writers of fiction and non-fiction (Peter Mattheissen and Frederic Back);
A look at the remarkable Olympic Sculpture Garden in Seattle;
Pearl Fryer’s topiary garden in Bishopville, South Carolina;
A prize winning film about an orangutan - victim of forest destruction in Indonesia;
Discussions with a family showing how they produce over 6,000 lbs. of homegrown organic crops on less than a quarter of an acre;
Megamall explores the origins of the massive Palisades Center Mall built just north of Manhattan;
Araya, a brilliant 1959 black & white film about the life of salt miners in Venezuela, winner of the International Prize at Cannes.
Stone’s extensive experience in film includes: public programs at the American Museum of Natural History, Founder of the Margaret Mead Film Festival, Film Chair for the Smithsonian’s Biodiversity Symposium, establishment of the Earthwatch Film Awards at the National Geographic, and preparation of filmographies for the Ocean exhibit at the Smithsonian and for the Festival of Indonesia.
Because of the generous grant and continued support from The Boeing Company, Sotterley Plantation is able to offer this important community outreach, fulfilling its mission of serving as an educational resource and cultural venue while it seeks to preserve, interpret and research the plantation’s diverse cultures and environments through its history.
FREE to the public. Call for Reservations: 301-373-2280.