On the Scene

New Delaware State News column spotlights entertaining people, news

By Craig Horleman
Posted 7/1/22

With a fresh-look Delaware State News comes a new column in Finally Friday! called On the Scene.

With Best Bets moving to a different format elsewhere in this section, On the Scene will serve as a landing spot for information about area entertainment that isn’t geared toward planning your weekend.

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On the Scene

New Delaware State News column spotlights entertaining people, news

Posted

With a fresh-look Delaware State News comes a new column in Finally Friday! called On the Scene.

With Best Bets taking on a different form, On the Scene will serve as a landing spot for information about area entertainment that isn’t geared toward planning your weekend.

Is there a new director of your favorite museum? Is there a local band putting out a record? Some beer releases coming up? Will there be a local face on an upcoming TV show?

On the Scene will talk about the people and places that make the local arts landscape what it is, along with a few oddball moments along the way.

DJ Batman mourned

We start off the first column on a somber note, with the news that Michael Beatty, aka DJ Batman, passed away recently.

Mr. Beatty died June 12 at age 73.

For years, he was best known as a club DJ in Ocean City, Maryland.

According to his obituary, “Offering to play some music for his friend that opened a new bar in OC on Memorial Day weekend in 1981, he fully expected to only play that weekend as a favor to his friend, but fate had other plans.

“His unique format and crowd participation caught on immediately and resulted in a 40-plus year career that included over 8,000 bookings at over 500 different venues, including over 25 colleges throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.”

His love for radio began in Ocean City, as a part-time disc jockey on WETT in 1966.

Mr. Beatty’s career reached a high point in 2011, when he was hired by Ocean 98 in Ocean City for a weekend position spinning tunes, mostly from the 1960s, his favorite era.

A memorial service for Mr. Beatty was held June 23.

Moving day

The Rehoboth Beach Historical Society took possession of a large piece of local nostalgia this week.

The legendary Dolle’s sign was installed on the western side of the Rehoboth Beach Museum at 511 Rehoboth Ave. on Wednesday, with Rogers Sign Co. of Milton doing the honors.

“The Dolle’s sign has been a Rehoboth Beach icon for decades,” said Mayor Stan Mills. “And while change may be inevitable, it will be wonderful to have an old, familiar friend welcoming people as they enter Rehoboth Beach. I’m so pleased that the Rehoboth Beach History Museum stepped up to preserve this rather large piece of Rehoboth-cana and has found a highly visible, distinctive way to display the sign.”

Nancy Alexander, director of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and Museum, agreed.

“The Dolle’s sign is an iconic symbol of Rehoboth Beach,” she said. “The historical society is grateful to (Dolle’s owner) Tom Ibach for donating it to the society, and we are grateful to the city of Rehoboth Beach for cooperating with us in having the sign mounted on the museum building.

“The Dolle’s sign represents many happy memories for people who visit the city. Whether it is their first visit or one of many over the years, the sign is a symbol to so many people that vacation has begun.”

More than 250 donors contributed more than $35,000 to help bring the sign to the museum.

Dolle’s Candyland, a spot for sweet treats at the corner of the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk and Rehoboth Avenue, closed in 2021 after 94 years. Its bright-orange sign was removed from its post overlooking the beach in December.

Fields leaving Grand

Brian DiSabatino, chairman of The Grand Opera House board of directors, announced this week that executive director Mark Fields will be retiring in September after nearly 16 years of leadership. Mr. Fields will stay in place for the intervening three months to help the organization prepare for the transition.

“Mark Fields was certainly the right guy at the right time for The Grand,” Mr. DiSabatino said in making this announcement. “During his entire tenure he showcased not only The Grand, but the relevancy of the arts in Delaware. Carrying us through the most difficult time in our history, he’ll be able to look back fondly that he left The Grand as an amazing beacon of hope, joy and community. We are wishing him all the best in retirement.”

Mr. Fields explained his decision, saying, “I am so proud of the tremendous progress that The Grand has achieved since the onset of the pandemic, and I feel like now is a good time for me to step away, and for new leadership to take The Grand’s mission of service to the community even farther.

“I can’t imagine another professional experience that will be able to compare to the time I have spent here at The Grand. It seems right to go out on such a high note.”

Mr. DiSabatino said the board of directors would immediately form a search-and-transition committee to identify and appoint a new executive director.

New conductor

Michael Repper, an internationally recognized conductor, pianist and recording artist, has been appointed music director and conductor of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Repper, 31, currently is music director of the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, where his recording of works by Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman and Florence Price recently topped the Billboard charts in the traditional classical-albums category. He also serves as music director of the Northern Neck Orchestra in Kilmarnock, Virginia, and the Ashland (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, and as principal conductor of the Central Ensembles of Sinfonía por el Perú in Lima.

Mr. Repper is the Mid-Atlantic Symphony’s third music director in its 24-year history.

The group is the only professional symphony orchestra serving southern Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

To share news from your entertainment group or an item for On the Scene, contact Craig Horleman at chorl@iniusa.org. Follow @CHorlemanDSN on Twitter.