The Signal

Format: 2014-04-24

  Singer/songwriter Kristen Toedtman currently splits her time between Baltimore and Los Angeles.  Out on the West Coast, she keeps busy as a session singer and a choir leader.  But she frequently heads back East to perform with the local super-group she helped to found, The Baltimore Afrobeat Society.

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  A trip to the pharmacy is, let’s be honest, kind of a drag.  You wait in line.  You give your name.  You watch them rifle through the bags. If you’re lucky, they have your prescription ready.  You pay, and you’re done.  On a good day, you might get a half-smile and a muttered, ‘hello,’ from your pharmacist.  It wasn’t always this way.

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  The banjo has been on a long, strange musical trip since its first appearance in America.  The instrument was first fashioned by enslaved Africans during Colonial times, a musical descendent of their native kora.  From there, the banjo rang out through the hills and hollers of Appalachia, a mournful accompaniment to mountain balladeers.  Meanwhile, the strumming of the plectrum banjo found its way onto early jazz recordings.

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  “It’s what you didn’t learn in high school history.”  That’s how Bernard Kinsey describes the world-class collection that he and his wife, Shirley Kinsey, have amassed over the years.

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  Many of us have heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but did you know that Baltimore has a fringe festival, too?  Charm City Fringe is a new theater festival that aims to highlight and expand the thriving “fringe” arts community in Baltimore. By creating a venue in which a variety of artists and theater companies can come together, the hope is that some cross-pollination will occur, leading to new ideas and expanding audiences.

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  Signal contributor Jeff Trueman recently had a surprising and rewarding experience sharing his love of classical music with a couple of wide-eyed, adolescent kids at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert.

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  The Tuvan throat-singing ensemble Alash is currently touring the US and on its way to Baltimore for a concert at Towson University’s Stephens Hall Theatre.  Aaron Henkin talks with the band’s interpreter, Sean Quirk, about the human voice’s ability to act as a sonic prism…

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  We begin this week’s special Halloween edition of The Signal with a story from Jeff Alphin.  Jeff told this anecdote in front of a live audience at a Stoop Storytelling event titled, “The Twilight Zone:  True Tales of the Bizarre and Unexpected.”  Here’s Jeff…

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  The Stoop’s “Twilight Zone” storytelling event brought a seasoned raconteur to the microphone, a retired US Army medic who served stateside as a psychiatric tech in a number of military rehabilitation hospitals.  Jim Karantonis shared this recollection…

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