The Bands Played On (Sort Of)

Dear editor,

Since 1999, the Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival has welcomed local and international jazz musicians and performers to St. Mary’s County. Festival organizers laid ambitious plans for 2022 including three days of events. A key event on Friday was a free concert by the Eric Byrd Trio in Leonardtown Square followed by a soiree at the Rex featuring the 4 The Road band.

Saturday’s concerts were to be held outdoors at the St. Clement’s Island Museum overlooking a gorgeous expanse of the Potomac River and St. Clement’s Island—but they never happened. The event was thwarted by record rainfall and road closures according to Mike Koppel of the 7th District Optimist Club. 

But the sun was shining in Leonardtown on Sunday for jazz brunches in the Square, jazz cruises at the Wharf and at an event in the nearby Port of Leonardtown Winery.

“While it did rain and some events had to be postponed, we are proud to be a part of a town that rallied and had jazz performances in our various Leonardtown venues,” said Tory James of Antoinette’s Garden. “We give a huge shout-out to our local Arts and Entertainment District for always finding ways to incorporate the arts into Leonardtown.”

The Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival is presented by the Friends of the St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums. It is the signature event of the group and raises funds to support programs at sites managed by the museum division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks. 

Rain or shine a trip to St. Clement’s Island Museum is well worth the drive any time of year. Colonists arrived at this site in 1634 on the Ark and the Dove, following a treacherous Atlantic crossing, braving storms and pirates. The location was as entertaining as the festival. We’re already planning to return next year.

—Theresa Sise and Paulina Phillips