The Beat Goes On
The local live music scene is rich and varied, but those who fill the air with song have one thing in common: a passion for pleasing audiences
By Mary Ann Benyo | Photograph by Chuck Snyder
From the September 2015 issue
On a warm summer evening, gentle lounge music floats across the boardwalk from Victoria’s Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. Lively steel drums bring a Caribbean lilt to the deck of the Rusty Rudder overlooking the bay in Dewey Beach. And rock, blues and jazz pulsate from bar bands throughout the beach area as patrons laugh and chatter, enjoying the chance to mingle, dance with friends, or just soak up the sound.
The appeal of live music, especially in summer resorts, is self-evident. But the nature of that appeal varies from style to style, place to place, and audience to audience. Speaking of pianist Jeff Irwin, whom the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel hired more than 20 years ago to play at Victoria’s, Jennifer Zerby simply says, “The guests have certainly enjoyed him, so we kept him all these years.” One key to that longevity is the intimate, personal touch Irwin brings to every performance. Explains the hotel’s marketing director: “A lot of our guests are repeat guests and they look for him. He gets to know them. They walk in and he starts playing their favorite songs.”
A similar dynamic exists with bar bands, though they typically please fans on a larger scale, sometimes hundreds at a time. “There’s nothing like seeing somebody perform their songs live,” says Vikki Walls, the entertainment director for Highway One, which owns and operates 10 bars and restaurants throughout the area. “The energy, the people singing along. … It’s wonderful to hear them on vinyl or a CD or download, whatever. But when it comes to seeing that band you love? Actually seeing them play their instruments? That’s what it’s all about.”
Where Things Are Looking Up
Telescope atop Dewey home is a result of owner’s dream to peer into outer space
Joseph Corbi was in his 90s when he suddenly took an interest in astronomy.
“There is a lot going on in outer space,” he told his son, Curt, one day about 13 years ago. “I think that we need to keep an eye on it.”
“OK, Dad,” Curt recalls replying. “How are you going to do that?”
“I think that I’m going to buy a telescope.”
Curt, who was living with his dad at the time in the family’s Dewey Beach home that overlooks Rehoboth Bay, thought nothing more about their conversation.
“And then one day, about three months later, this big truck pulled up in the driveway,” Curt says. The driver unloaded a 14-inch (the diameter of the lens) reflecting telescope, made in California by Meade Instruments and weighing, Curt guesses, several hundred pounds.
“I had no idea that he had ordered it,” he says. “It was huge! It sat in the box for six months while we thought about what to do with it.”
Shoreline changes that follow beach replenishment projects spark complaints from wave riders — and safety concerns from others
By Lynn R. Parks | Photograph by Chuck Snyder
From the August 2015 issue
Jim McGrath isn’t certain of the exact day. But sometime in July 2014, he wandered down to the beach from his Bethany Surf Shop and noted how rough the surf was.
“There must have been a storm out in the ocean,” he says. “Whatever it was, the swell was big and there were some really nasty shore breaks.”
The waves were crashing onto the sand with such intensity, he recalls, that “people were getting hurt like crazy.” He told a nearby member of the Bethany Beach Patrol that the beach should be closed. “Swimming in that was a good way to get killed,” he recalls.
And sure enough, a short time later the beach was closed. Lifeguards posted signs warning that it was not safe to venture into the water.
Of course, Delaware’s Atlantic beaches have always had their occasional days of heavy surf — days that wave riders of all sorts welcomed with relish. But in recent years the state’s shoreline has changed so much that a day at the beach, heavy surf or not, sometimes isn’t as much fun as it used to be, McGrath asserts.