A Dining Review of a(MUSE.) in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

The Art of the Meal: Chef Hari Cameron and crew display culinary artistry at a(MUSE.) in Rehoboth.


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Heritage Pork features a crusted Berkshire pork chop with Brussells sprouts, apples, onions, mustard and chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. Photo by Thom ThompsonAt a Glance

a(MUSE.)
44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107
amuse-rehoboth.com

Prices
starters and small plates $5-$14,
entrées $11-$18, desserts $7

Recommended dishes
Cool Hand Fluke, Day Boat, The Beach

 

 

Chef Hari Cameron approached the table with a warm but weary smile. The evening sun cast a warm glow onto his black-rimmed eyeglasses and tattooed forearm. He spoke softly. “We’re about 45 days into service now,” he said. “I don’t have kids of my own, but I’ve been told that’s the rapid diaper-changing stage.”

The chef had every right to sound slightly delirious. In those 45 days, he’d given himself just three days off. He looked exhausted. Ragged. Sleep deprived. But like a new dad, Cameron also looked profoundly satisfied with his new creation, a(MUSE.), his labor of love on Rehoboth Beach’s colorful Baltimore Avenue.

Chef-owner Hari Cameron helped put Rehoboth’s Nage on the map. Photograph by Thom ThompsonCameron, a native of Georgetown, had spent the previous eight years at Rehoboth’s excellent Nage Restaurant, which provided a foundation for locally driven, progressive-leaning coastal dining. But because of my few prior interactions with the chef, it was clear that his culinary mind was moving at a different speed. He’d speak excitedly about a shipment of earthy heirloom sunchokes, or his new temperature-controlled sous vide cooking bath. Cameron was, of course, the only chef who thought to bring a liquid nitrogen tank to the Rusty Rudder’s Country Chili Cook-Off.

And perhaps the most fun element of his new restaurant is the chance to share in Cameron’s excitement for food, an unbridled dining nerdiness that drips from every absinthe foam and sweet corn emulsion.

The enthusiasm speaks even louder in Cameron’s cooking—his lively, erudite, and often brilliant cooking—and makes a(MUSE.) one of the most inventive and exciting new restaurants in Delaware.

Cameron’s kitchen staff, which also includes his brother Josh, excells at creative transformations of ingredients, which it presents mostly as small plates that range in size from two-bite snacks up to heartier, conventional entrée sizes. The menu organizes dishes from small to large and encourages much exploration and sharing.

Server Cassidy Dobratz sails through the bright, contemporary, cozy dining room.  Photograph by Thom ThompsonNo matter the size, the food at a(MUSE.) acts as a gallery for Cameron’s artistry and imagination, and cleverly titled dishes like Cool Hand Fluke look as though they belong in New York’s  Museum of Modern Art. Fresh flounder crudo, pounded flat, is wrapped around tiny drums of golden and red beets like ocean-scented crepe paper. Interspersed fell dehydrated flakes of potato and candy-striped beets that delivered texture. Bright sprinkles of watercress reclined atop it all.

It isn’t exactly French Impressionism, but Cameron’s knack for expressing color and movement in a single plate of ingredients is uncanny. Consider the vivid red sorrel and foraged purple sage that nested on tender pan-roasted quail. The tuxedo of foliage, bitter and clean-tasting, tamed the perched quail while, beneath it, a crunchy bed of broad beans and a few piquant forkfulls of house-pickled veggies lent textural contrast.

Rare is the opportunity to get amped about tomato soup, but a(MUSE.)’s playful version was like a roadside farmer’s stand in a bowl. Bisected red and yellow cherry tomatoes, green long peppers and smooth almonds bobbed in a rich, soulful serving of peak-season tomato soup. A snappy goat cheese croquette and floating islands of fluffy tomato foam helped create yet another dramatic presentation that burst with color.

The American Classic appetizer—poached shrimp with horseradish, lemon, capers and a surprising sorbet of cocktail sauce.  Photograph by Thom ThompsonCameron, an avid food blogger and student of Nathan Myhrvold’s influential “Modernist Cuisine,” occasionally explores the mysterious corners of molecular gastronomy and its trappings: sous vide machines, freeze dryers, N2O siphons and other culinary gadgetry. But in Cameron’s hands, plates never devolve into the overly cute, complicated or soulless gimmicks that such tampering can render. Instead, the flavors at a(MUSE.) remained clean and luminous.

Perhaps he has Nage and its stalwart devotion to flavorful coastal dining to thank for a(MUSE.)’s approachability. Or perhaps its his Forage Team—which cuts loose on the Delmarva Peninsula for wild edibles like mushrooms and tree nuts—that keeps the gang grounded. Even a(MUSE.)’s more esoteric creations are forged in tradition. Potted Chicken, a rich appetizer, arrived in a glass jar with layers of shredded chicken rillettes, foie gras mousse and face-puckering whiskey gelee that combined on toast points into a rich, salty schmear.

Even more conventional beach fare was re-cast in a(MUSE.) duds. Hulking chunks of Hickman’s prime beef splayed across grilled summer squash, zucchini and peach that hovered over luscious jus to create a cross-stitch of heavy and light elements that oozed lusciousness. Ditto The Yardbird, a beautifully caramelized bone-in organic chicken breast whose salty essence dripped onto wilted rainbow chard and smoked potato nuggets.

Classic flavors and pristine ingredients paraded along the heavier portions of a(MUSE.)’s menu, like seared dayboat scallops, caramelized to a beautiful brown and paired with guanciale bacon and sweet local corn. The brisk crunch of brioche-breaded snapper benefited from a stab into cooling tomatillo salsa and color-speckled heirloom tomatoes.

Earth tones combined through contemporary design elements create a suitable atmosphere for food that is at once earthy, down to earth and stratospherically creative.  Photograph by Ron DubickBut like any good fireworks display, a(MUSE.) knew to save the biggest bangs for last. The restaurant’s small dessert menu packs a major wallop, amplifying the kitchen’s best tendencies ever more.

Heavenly Lavender Fields infused locally grown lavender into dark chocolate ganache, ice cream and housemade marshmallows, each floral bite tempered gently by droplets of local honey. Peaches and Cream presented a study in ripeness and the summer fruit’s inherent sugar content. Just one plate offered variations that were bruléed, sorbeted, balsamic-macerated and rose gelee-enveloped—each slice more sublime than the last.

Then came The Beach, an edible diorama that’s destined to become a restaurant staple. Between the toasted-wheat ice cream dunes, hazelnut praline and cocoa nib sand, salt water taffy pearls, and beach glass made from nitrogen-frozen grapes, lies the best a(MUSE.) has to offer: creativity and vision synthesized through local flavors.

With dishes like these, it’s eminently easy to appreciate the artistry of a(MUSE.). It’s considerably harder to apply the time, mindfulness and devotion necessary to create such works.

On our final visit to a(MUSE.) we noticed a wall that had been papered entirely with pages from a book. When we finally got close enough to it, the wall revealed all there is to know about Rehoboth’s best new restaurant—even the walls have been plastered with “The Joy of Cooking.”


 

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February 2018

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

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The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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Delaware Art Museum
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The Philly Home + Garden Show will return to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks February 16-18. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits including a full scale model smart home,...

Cost: 10

Where:
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave
Oaks, PA  19456
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Sponsor: MarketPlace Events
Contact Name:

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By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society in partnership with The Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice are proud to present the inaugural Rehoboth Beach African-American Film Festival. The mission...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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"Choir Boy" presents a complex look at race and sexuality. Shows are at 8pm on February 16 and 17; there is a 2pm matinee on Sunday February 18. Buy tickets online at www.WilmingtonDramaLeague.org.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Tickets are $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students. Tickets are available at the door. Cash or check only.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a four-session diabetes educational program, The Diabetes Connection, on February 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Pre-registration is required. As...

Cost: Call for cost.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
Website »

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By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Show More...
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

FREE COMMUNITY EVENT: MID-WEEK WORD REFRESHER Come join us at the Mid-Week Word Refresher every Wednesday at Faith Victory Christian Center from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Refreshments will be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Faith Victory Christian Center
301 Commonwealth Avenue
Claymont, DE  19703
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Sponsor: Faith Victory Christian Center
Telephone: 302.354.6726
Contact Name: Alvin Walker
Website »

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By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Join DCH, New Castle Conservation District staff, and Delaware Cooperative Extension to grow and learn together through an entire season! Classes are designed for a beginner, but seasoned gardeners...

Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

Where:
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Center for Horticulture
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Ruth Arias
Website »

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Clearing the mind and learning to think not thinking is Zen awareness. Taking the appropriate action in this moment is Zen. Once you know this in your body, walking, standing, sitting down,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: UUFN
Telephone: 302.368.2984
Contact Name: Richard Field
Website »

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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

This community event invites attendees to sample healthy dishes prepared by local restaurants and vote for the most creative, tastiest, and best preparation. The first 200 registrants may also sign...

Where:
STAR Health Sciences Complex
540 S. College Ave
Newark, DE  19713
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore connections between people and plants in these four inspiring presentations. Special thanks to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring this  year’s refreshments. Individual lecture pricing:...

Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

Where:
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Center for Horticulture
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Mackenzie Knight-Fochs
Website »

More information

Tickets are $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students. Tickets are available at the door. Cash or check only.

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Ronald Barron was principal trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2008. He joined the orchestra in 1970 after being a member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and also...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 12th Annual Chinese New Year at the Delaware Art Museum! This celebration includes traditional Chinese art activities, artist demonstrations, a lion and folk dance, a Chinese yo-yo...

Cost: Free; donations accepted

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

For this Saturday’s activity, visitors will have fun with fluid dynamics and hydraulics - Pascal would be proud! Visitors of all ages are invited to discover solutions to science and engineering...

Cost: Free with admission; Adults: $14, Children 6-14: $5, Children 5 and under: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Website »

More information

Lights of Life Goes Disco Nights is Delaware’s premier breast cancer fundraiser to benefit the local programs and services of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. Join us for a glamorous, fun...

Cost: *VIP $125.00; *Silver Mirror Ball $50.00

Where:
Dover Downs Hotel
, 1131 North Dupont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition
Telephone: 302-778-1102
Contact Name: Eliza Mohler
Website »

More information

The Newark Symphony Chamber Orchestra presents a performance of Johann Baptist George Neruda, Trumpet Concerto in E flat, with Wendell Banyay, Trumpet.  Also to be featured will be Gabriel Faure,...

Cost: 0 - $20

Where:
Newark United Methodist Church
69 E. Main St.
Newark, DE  19711
View map »

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