Homecomings can spark a surge of emotion — and creativity. Just ask David Bielenberg, Max Talisman and Elliot Peeples. Growing up in Maryland influenced the work of these three artists, including two who are returning to the area.
After leading the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, David Bielenberg is returning home with a new position as executive director of The Children’s Chorus of Maryland (CCM).
“I couldn’t be more excited to come home to Baltimore to help lead CCM as it builds on a strong history of excellence in music education and performance for children,” said Bielenberg, a Baltimore native.
Before earning advanced arts degrees from NYU and Goucher College, Bielenberg got his artistic start as a young choral singer at Baltimore’s St. David’s Episcopal Church.
Now, he has more than 20 years of experience in music and arts leadership, including a stint locally as executive director of Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District. More recently as executive director of the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, Bielenberg secured so much COVID-19 relief funding and support, the organization’s net assets grew more than 300 percent in three years, according to a statement from CCM’s board of directors.
“With David’s vast experience leading multiple choral arts organizations combined with his personal and professional passion for music, his strong track record of fundraising and his kind heart, Children’s Chorus of Maryland will continue to thrive and grow for years to come,” said Jeanine Christian, CCM’s board president.
Bielenberg succeeds Andrea Burgoyne, a CCM veteran of 29 years, who is retiring at the end of the month. Burgoyne was appointed executive director in 2016.
Maryland native Max Talisman is super proud of his new film, “Things Like This,” which wrapped filming in April and is currently being submitted to festivals. The writer, director and star of the film describes the cast as “fierce,” and the story as necessary.
“I just can’t wait for the world to see this film,” said Talisman, who has taken his creativity from Maryland to New York and Los Angeles. “There’s a big group of people who need to see this film to see themselves represented on film, and I’m thrilled for that.”
Talisman said he had very clear intentions with the storyline and characters that appear in this romantic comedy.
“One of the things I was really excited to do with ‘Things Like This,’ is tell a queer gay story that wasn’t about coming out, but also where the characters’ queerness and the fact that they were falling in love with a man… wasn’t out of the ordinary,” he said.
The 29-year-old said he also wanted to send a message to millennials and Gen Z’ers who are grappling with “the anxiety of falling in love, and the fear, and the unwillingness to let ourselves fall until we just let go.”
The filmmaker and Orioles fan attributes his artistry and overall self-confidence to growing up in Maryland.
“Where I’m from… allowed me to really come into myself and be who I am and learn to be confident in who I am, and I was able to translate that into film and into the projects that I’ve been working on,” Talisman said. “So, I’m really grateful that I grew up where I did and that Maryland had such a huge impact on me.”
Talisman said he will post updates on social media about how to stream the film. Follow @themaxtshow on Instagram and Twitter.
The Brood X cicadas emerged late spring and early summer of 2021 and it’ll be about 16 years before they return to Maryland with a buzzing bang. However, musician Elliot Peeples has found a way to memorialize these periodical insects.
Peeples, a native of Ellicott City, has a special relationship with the Brood X cicadas.
“[The Brood X cicadas] showed up when I was 3 years old, and when I was 20 years old and 37,” said Peeples, who uses they/them pronouns.
When the Brood X cicadas rose from the ground in 2005, the then 20-year-old musician and college drop-out, was looking for a way to experiment with their artistry. With a self-created studio at their dining room table, for a month, Peeples opened the window and recorded a minute of the cicadas’ song.
Their band, Petal Blight, then created the tune “Cicada Mask.”
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Fast forward to 2021, Peeples was living in California, divorced and figuring out life amid the pandemic. They purchased a school bus and made a cross-country trip to their hometown.
Once they arrived in Ellicott City, Peeples realized that the cicadas weren’t the only beings re-emerging.
“I was watching people coming out of their homes for maybe the first time to enjoy the spring air, or maybe the summertime after a pandemic,” they said.
Peeples visited seven locations to find cicada content, including: the “Welcome to Historic Ellicott City,” sign; the bridge outside the B&O Railroad Museum; the Tiber River; Tiber Park; the burned stone buildings surrounding River Road; Buzzard’s Rock; and the gazebo at Font Hill Wetland Park.
The result of the footage, captured on a GoPro Max camera, is an edited video with 10 minutes per location, which allows audiences to have an immersive experience at each sight.
“I have a record, at this point, for rare etymological phenomena. So if you couldn’t make it out there, if you’re from there and miss the sound of cicadas, if this is a thing that you hold in your heart weirdly, like I do, then it’s something you can connect with,” they said.
For more information on how to view the cicada video, go to twolsonet.com.