STEVENSVILLE Some big doings are being planned to observe the 40th anniversary of the Christ Episcopal Church Day School big doings that reach all the way to Nashville, the home of country music.
The school was Kent Island's original preschool, said local Realtor Linda Austin, who has had children there and who is working hard on behalf of the anniversary celebration that will take place during an April 13 Spring Gala at Christ Church.
A highlight of the observance will be the silent and live auctions to take place at Shand Hall on the Christ Church campus that day, and that's where the Nashville connection fits in.
Noting that the auction will "have something for everyone," Austin said two guitars have been donated one made by PRS Guitars on Kent Island and autographed by "our own" Paul Reed Smith, and one from Nashville that once was owned by country music legend Merle Haggard.
The Merle Haggard guitar is being provided through Lynette Diane Lorenz, a graduate of Queen Anne's County High School, who has made a name for herself in Nashville as the writer of lyrics of many country music songs.
"Linda and I attended Queen Anne's County High School. We were acquaintances, but we never lost contact," Lorenz said in a telephone interview from Nashville. They were communicating on Facebook, recalled Lorenz, when "Linda said, 'Can you help?' and I said I would."
Austin initially thought a signed CD or two might be offered for the auction, which would have been great, but instead it turned out to be much more than that.
The result is that Merle Haggard's 12-string acoustic guitar has been autographed by many of Lorenz's well-known acquaintances in the country music industry, including Billy Johnson, who signed it just before he died.
Lorenz visited the Christ Episcopal Church Day School when she recently returned to the area with Rich Perry and Adolfo Lee Mayo to assist in the recording of her new single, "Harley Honey." They also visited Matapeake Elementary School.
"We are all about the children and encouraging their love of music," Lorenz said.
She began writing in elementary school and said she was encouraged to continue by Art Coughlin, her ninth-grade English teacher in Queen Anne's County, who she said inspired her. She recalls sitting on the Romancoke and Matapeake piers while writing song lyrics.
Lorenz is planning to relocate back to Kent Island in May and says she wants to play a part in the community she loves so much. "I want to get involved with kids and continue songwriting," she said.
There also are a number of other auction items, including tickets to Walt Disney World, a fishing trip, an adventure in Belize, restaurant certificates, class projects, trips and getaways, Austin said.
Alumni and parents of alumni are urged to look through their files for photos of past classes at the school to be shared at the gala.
Christ Episcopal Church Day School was founded in 1971 as an "outreach program to the community," according to its website. It was certified by the Maryland Board of Education Non-Public School Division in 1988.
It is a nonprofit with a budget generated solely from parent tuition, and it makes a monthly donation to the church to help offset utilities costs, the website states.
"I'm very fortunate to have had my kids go there," said Austin, an unabashed champion of the day school.
Tickets for the 40th anniversary gala are on sale now through the school at 410-643-8248 or by sending a check to P.O. Box 141, Stevensville, MD 21666. Tickets bought before March 30 are $40 each, and after March 30, are $50, and can be purchased at the door.