Towne Salute: Marian Albert Lesher of Chesapeake Music
Sep 22, 2017 12:00PM ● Published by Caley Breese
Mariana Albert Lesher found her passion for music as a youth and continues to have it play a part in her life today by volunteering with Chesapeake Music.
Lesher grew up in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. She attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and received her master’s degree from the University of Baltimore. She has lived in Easton for 22 years and has been volunteering with Chesapeake Music for nearly 17 years.
“When I first got involved, it came out of a connection with Don Buxton (Chesapeake Music’s co-founder and Executive Director) through a different organization—a different nonprofit in the community which my friend was running at the time,” Lesher remembers. “I’ve always done backstage theater work—through middle school, through high school, through college—it was just something I did.”
Lesher explained that Buxton had approached her because he really wanted some backstage help, something she had experience with, so that he could be up front with the audience, where an executive director should be at a concert.
“So that’s where the connection was made,” Lesher smiles. “I started working on the Chamber Music Festival concerts, and that was a pleasure because it allowed me to talk to and interact with the musicians in a different way. I was backstage with them; I got to know them a little better.”
Lesher‘s role has developed greatly and she is now also a member of the Board of Directors.
“You run errands, you do whatever. You want them [the musicians] to have as good of an experience because they’re turning around and providing the wonderful experience for audiences. It just sort of evolved from there.”
Chesapeake Music has been operating for more than 30 years and has several events, including a Chamber Music Festival and a Jazz Music Festival. These festivals take place over the course of one to two weeks and are conducted at various venues and locations around the Eastern Shore. The musicians that perform at these festivals are top professionals that come in from all over the country, even the world.
“When you look these people up [the musicians] and you see what they have done and where they have been, it’s pretty impressive and an honor and a privilege to have them come here and enjoy coming here.”
The nonprofit organization also has a YouthReach program, which is a program in the schools that involves musical instruction for students.
“Throughout the different committees, we really want to encourage bringing music and arts to the schools,” Lesher says. We’re very fortunate right here in the county and the school system—which my kids are both part of—to have a really incredible [program].”
Lesher has been involved with Chesapeake Music for many years and has really seemed to enjoy watching the organization grow.
“Like I said, [there is] a great group of volunteers, an incredibly high-functioning board, which in the non-profit world is a privilege. The energy and watching the group grow—I’ve just really built up a rapport, a friendship with the musicians that I was supporting through concert management,” she smiles. “It’s evolved. It was evolved over the years and added to what it is capable of doing. So that’s where we are as an organization right now; it’s not just the Chamber Music Festival—look at everything else that we’re doing.”
For more information on Chesapeake Music, visit chesapeakemusic.org