Plans for the 2021 season of the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival were noted during the organization’s annual meeting, which was held virtually Nov. 19.“2020 has been a difficult year, but it’s given us all time to reflect and to look back at what is important to us,” said Mary Callis, executive director. “The arts are one of those things that is very important to us, and we’ve missed so much, so we’ve reimagined how we’re going to experience the arts. The COVID-19 Pandemic has given us a time to pause and re-imagine how we can continue to serve our community through performing arts.”

The 2021 season will open with A “Sofa Series” of virtual concerts: Jan. 23, National Players’ “As You Like It;” Feb. 7, Barron Ryan performance Where Classical Meets Cool; and Feb. 28, Charlotte Blake Alston, African American Storyteller. Charlotte Blake Alston is a returning performance to the GLAF stage. This will be a different medium for her performance as it will be completely online or virtual.

The first virtual performance will be “As You Like It”, one of Shakespeare’s comedies; a female-driven story combining classic elements of romance and hidden identities. Banished from the only home she’s ever known, Rosalind assumes the identity of a man and escapes to the Forest of Arden with her cousin Celia and their fool Touchstone. While there, they run into other exiled folks from the old court, including the dashing and brave Orlando, who won Rosalind’s heart prior to her banishment, but he was too tongue tied to express his love in return. Determined to woo him, Rosalind persuades Orlando in her male disguise to win her heart. For only if Orlando loves her as a man will Rosalind know he truly loves her.

National Players meld classic language with contemporary staging of Shakespeare’s imaginative tale about city folk venturing into the woods. A romantic comedy about gender roles, losing oneself, and discovering oneself anew.

On February 7, you can enjoy Barron Ryan’s unique take on music. His love for music has always been divided. The son of two musicians, he grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Chopin to James Brown. So when it comes to his own performing, he’s not content drawing on just one influence. He combines them all into a musical adventure that’s vintage yet fresh, historical yet hip, classic yet cool.

On February 28, you can watch Charlotte Blake Alston breathe life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments such as djembe, mbira, shekere or the 21-stringed kora. Her repertoire is wide and programs are adapted to any grade level or age group.

Charlotte is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist, librettist and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. She is the host of Sound All Around, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Preschool concert series and has appeared as host or narrator on the orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991. She has been a featured host, storyteller and narrator on the Carnegie Hall Family and School Concert series’ since 1995. She has made multiple appearances in such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. Her international appearances include performances or festival appearances in Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Beijing, China; Basel, Switzerland and the Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival in Ireland.

All three Sofa Series performances are free to the first 100 homes that register. You MUST email the GLAF office at to receive your free access to this virtual performance.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage in January 2021! In the MSO Live! Virtual Concert Hall, you always have the best seat in the house – 24 hours a day. Enjoy live performances by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra from the comfort of home or on the go.

The Virtual Season Subscription includes access to six performances:
The Four Seasons on January 30, 2021
Shostakovich & Mozart on February 13, 2021
Classical Prodigies on March 13, 2021
Ports of Call on April 10, 2021
Magic at the Symphony on May 1, 2021
Brown & Beethoven on June 5, 2021

The MSO has been inspiring audiences in our community since 1982. Today, the artistic level of its performances has grown to be worthy of some of the best orchestras in the country.

Join Music Director Elizabeth Schulze for a season filled with some of the world’s greatest music performed by the most talented and versatile musicians in the region. The Maryland Symphony Series will be available at a 30% discount savings to the GLAF audience at Contact the GLAF office for the discount code and more information:

Live performances are tentatively being planned at Wisp Resort: June: West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; July: Pittsburgh Symphony Soloists; and August: Bettman and Halpin. Times and dates are yet to be determined to be in compliance with local and state health regulations. The Clipper City Brass Quintet is planned for Nov. 13 at Garrett College.
Andrew Harvey, board chairman, also noted, “You will see a common theme throughout everything that we’re talking about tonight, and that is ‘thankful,’” he said. “Because truly this year, from everything that we have come through and are currently going through, from the bottom of our hearts, we are thankful for a lot of things.” He noted that board members are excited for the partnerships that are in place to ensure a bright future.

GLAF is extremely thankful for its donors, patrons and business sponsors, which include First Energy Foundation, Garrett County Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett College, Community Trust Foundation, Wisp Resort and Maryland Humanities. In addition to Andrew Harvey, board chair GLAF board members include Sue Arnson, vice chair; Fred Fox, treasurer; Amy Bortz, secretary; John Pucciano, special adviser; Sean Beachy; Betty Ellington; Sheila McCracken; Judi Merriman; Luanne Ruddell; Fred Sharer; Suzie Sincell; Mary Helen Spear and Barry Winberg.

Sue Arnson presented information about an upcoming online auction, with all proceeds going to GLAF. Five artists will be featured over the next four or five months at “I’m really excited about the fact that GLAF is going to do a cooperative venture with the artists of the community,” Arnson said. “I think it’s a real positive step forward in partnering with these people.”

Plans were also noted for performances for school students, and a business portion of the meeting was also held. On December 4th a virtual performance with Charm City Junction was presented to area 2nd and 3rd grade students. Details are being finalized for a special holiday treat to reach every fourth and fifth grade student in Garrett County with Pirate School! a madcap, swashbuckling solo show created and performed by veteran New York actor David Engel. Set to an original cartoon-inspired musical score, complete with sound effects. Pirate School: Follow Your Compass is a pro-kid, character building production where students experience simple solutions to resolving conflict and the important concepts of respect, responsibility, compassion and courage are underscored.

GLAF extends its sincere appreciation for the Garrett County commissioners as well as Senator George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel for their ongoing support of the arts in Garrett County.