Monday, October 31, 2011

Molasses Creek Travels to DC area, Ocrafolk School & Island News

Go Marcy!
Hello good friends!

            Happy Halloween!  There a buzz in the air amongst the younger crowd on Ocracoke Island which can only mean that (1) Halloween is upon us, and/or (2) many sugared treats are about to be consumed by youngsters. 
 Here are some upcoming dates. Read on after for more Molasses Creek news.
November 4 (Fri), 8:00pm – 10:30pm Molasses Creek at the Pittsboro General Store, Pittsboro, NC.

November 5 (Sat), 11am – 11:45 am NC Museum of History, Raleigh, NC ~ Bicentennial Plaza Stage.

November 5, 8pm – 10pm (Sat) Green Grass Cloggers 40th Anniversary Concert, Wright Auditorium, UNC Greenville, NC Tickets available at Wright Auditorium, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, with Molasses Creek of Ocracoke, NC, & The Freight Hoppers of Bryson City, NC! ONLY $10.00! General seating! Details to come! Till then, catch us at gigs currently listed on our calendar, plus more as they come together.

November 10 (Thur), 7:30 – 9:00pm Molasses Creek "Soup to Nuts" show WHQR, Wilmington, NC. For more information visit

November 11 (Fri), 8:00pm– 10:00pm Molasses Creek in Concert w/John Golden & Geoffrey Morris, Scottish Rite Theater, Wilmington, NC. Ample free parking. Tickets at the door are $15, $10 for seniors and students.

This last Friday, islanders gathered for the annual Halloween School Carnival at Ocracoke School, a fundraiser in the brand new school gym.  The night began with a costume parade around the school circle, followed by carnival games (Pick your lucky duck, cork rifle target practice, bean bag toss, etc), a hot dog and Mexican food sale, cake walk, and monster movies.  The evening raises a good bit of money for the school and has the added benefit of stretching the Halloween holiday a little bit longer.   Today is only a half day at school, allowing the witches, superheroes, and buckets of toxic slime (Fiddler Dave’s son Lachlan) several hours to create and destroy their costumes before trick-or-treating begins.  Door to door visiting usually wraps up safely by 8:00 PM so that there is plenty of time to find a safe place indoors before the egging begins (a teenage island tradition).
Molasses Creek tours to Avalon Theatre, Carroll County Arts Council, and Towson Public School

Loading up for the trip
Approaching the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel.  You mean that is going over us?!
Avalon Theatre, Easton, MD
Two weeks ago, Molasses Creek traveled up to the DC area for several performances.  We began on the eastern shore of Maryland in the wonderful town of Easton, home to the Avalon Theatre.  Over the years, the Avalon has hosted many incredible performers (Kingston Trio, Bela Fleck, Tony Rice, Jay Unger & Molly Mason, the list goes on).  Molasses Creek gave a performance and squaredance at the Avalon’s Stoltz listening room, and ducked in to a local elementary school for a concert for 4th & 5th graders.

The Avalon Theatre is housed under the Avalon Foundation, a non-profit organization that sponsors a lot of creativity in the region ~ music and theater performances, art exhibits, a radio and TV station, live music at community events, and performances in the schools.  Many thanks to Ryan, Tim, Suzy, and crew for their warm welcome.

Farmer's Market in Easton
Gerald and Fiddler Dave's berth
            While in the area, we were graciously hosted by Marcy & Lou’s friends Catherine and Tom Hunt-Alspach at their beautiful home in Oxford.  Gerald and Fiddler Dave even got to sleep on their beautiful boat, although it was a bit blustery to take it for a sail.

Carroll County Arts Council
Fiddler Dave ~ "Darn! I left my animated shorts at home!"
            After Thursday and Friday concerts, Molasses Creek traveled to Westminster, MD on Saturday to perform for the Carroll County Arts Council.   The near-sold out show was a great success, and we got to cross paths with many friends from area.  Marcy almost gave husband Louie a haircut with some stage shears.  Thanks to Sandy Ox and all the folks at the Arts Council for creating such a warm welcome! 
Hike to Chimney Rock
View from the top!
Also while in town, we were invited to a fabulous lunch by Tom and Judy Reilly, and their friends Issac & Kathy.  We had crossed paths with them at Deepwater Theater and the Ocrafolk Festival on Ocracoke Island, and it was a real treat to get to know them and their beautiful town better.  Thanks for hosting us!
Westminster is also home to Common Ground on the Hill (, an organization that brings together performers and audiences to promote “human understanding, tolerance, fulfillment, and enjoyment.”  Our friend and fellow performer, Bob Zentz, has been telling us about Common Ground for years.  We enjoyed our visit to their home and look forward to many happy returns.
On Sunday, we visited with Marcy’s sister and husband near Frederick, MD (what lovely baked goodies!) and on Monday morning traveled to Towson High School in northern Baltimore for a visit to the student classes of Dave Rhen, musician and music educator extraordinaire.  Dave has performed mighty fine sax with the Ocracoke Jazz society on his frequent visits to Ocracoke Island.  While in residence, we discovered that musician Noah Paley’s daughter Alice was a senior this year at Towson High.  We were inspired by the generosity and creativity of the teachers & students, and the arts supportive environment at Towson.  Keep up the great work Dave!

 Ocrafolk School completes a 5th successful year
By Fiddler Dave

Photo by Ann Ehringhaus

Swearing that they wouldn’t eat again for a month, elated Ocrafolk Schoolers headed out from Ocracoke Island this last Friday afternoon after an amazing week of learning, food, fellowship, and near perfect fall weather.  Twenty-nine students joined instructors to focus on a subject of their choice:

~ Island Photography with Ann Ehringhaus
~ Island Cooking (and eating) with Debbie Wells
~ English Paper Piecing with Debbie Block
~ Exploring Ocracoke Music with Gary Mitchell
~ Ocracoke Sampler: Ocracoke’s History, Culture, & Seafaring Traditions with Philip Howard, Dave Frum, and Capt' Rob Temple

Each class could only fit around six students, so the Ocrafok School provides a unique opportunity for visitors and residents to engage with teachers on an intimate level.  

Morning music with John Golden & crew
            After checking in, everyone gathered on Sunday evening at the Pony Island Restaurant as owner (and fisherman) Vince O’Neal welcomed visitors with a meal of the finest fresh fish and hush puppies on the eastern seaboard.  The next morning we arrived bright and early for an incredible breakfast at Michael and Paula Schramel’s Flying Melon Restaurant, mustering energy for a tour of the Ocracoke Lighthouse and Springer’s Point Preserve (a famous haunt of Blackbeard the pirate).

John Ivey Wells gives a tour of Old Drum Fish
Ocracoke Traditional Old Drum Meal
Edwardo's Empanadas
Preparing the Tomatillo Sauce
Fish Cakes
            Monday afternoon we met with our instructors to begin class.  I joined Debbie Wells and the cooking class at the historic Soundfront Inn to plan for the week of oyster stew, traditional Ocracoke Old Drum, Fig Cake with homemade coffee ice cream, lemon chess and chocolate pie (guest instructor Jen Esham), pan seared scallops, crabcakes, shrimp empanadas (guest chef Eduardo Chavez), vacherins with custard and raspberries, pound cake, oyster po boys, fennel slaw . . . hmm, my mouth is watering. . . .how on earth could I still be hungry!

Gary Mitchell and Steve Tweedie
            The music class visited with local musicians & historians Martin Garrish and Jackie Willis, sat in on a Molasses Creek rehearsal, toured the radio station and Soundside Studios, and worked on a recording of their own.
            English Paper Piecing sequestered themselves on the beautiful upstairs porch of the Soundfront Inn, hand quilting away and telling stories.
Dave Frum shows off the morning's catch
            Island Photography and the Ocracoke Sampler spent much of the stunning week outdoors on Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands.  The sampler class also kayaked, fished & clammed, sailed with Capt. Rob on the schooner WINDFALL, and made their own fig cake and meal wine.
            The Ocrafolk School is an event housed under Ocracoke Alive, a not-for profit 501(c)3 with a mission to enrich the Ocracoke Island community by encouraging and sponsoring cultural, artistic, educational, and environmental activities including the production of plays, musicals, musical events, exhibits, schools, workshops, and festivals.  Next year’s Ocrafolk School is scheduled for October 21-26, 2012.  New class information will be posted in January of 2012.  To join the Ocrafolk School email list to be notified of updates, send a message to and ask to be included on the mailing list or visit  

Ocracoke’s Charles Temple on Jeopardy
Don’t forget to watch Jeopardy on November 2 to cheer on Ocracoke’s hometown hero, Charles Temple.  Charles won the Jeopardy Teacher’s tournament earlier this year to qualify for a spot in the Tournament of Champions.  Go Charles!

Ocracoke Alive Membership Meeting Fast Approaching

If you are on Ocracoke Alive on Tuesday, November 15, we encourage you to come out for the Fall Membership Meeting of Ocracoke Alive, our new arts organization that houses the Ocrafolk Festival, Ocrafolk School, Winter Concert Series, and Ocracoke Artist in Residence School Programs.  The meeting will be at 7:00 PM at the Ocracoke Community Center.


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