Al Loyd is the chairman of the Friends of Lurman Woodland Theatre.
Catonsville Patch: Where did you grow up? What brought you to Catonsville?
Al Loyd: I grew up in Brooklyn Park, in Anne Arundel County, but now I live in Hanover, Maryland.
Patch: How long have you volunteered with the Lurman?
Loyd: Emory Knode at Appalachian Bluegrass was one of the founders of the latest summer concert series, and it was through him that I got involved. I joined the committee in 1993 or 94 and found it to be a great group to work with. I deeply respect and appreciate all of the Lurman volunteers – past and present. I think it was 1996 when I became chairperson, and I have been ever since. At this point, my primary responsibility is booking the music. I love it, but I’d like to see more people getting involved.
Patch: Tell us what’s involved with booking the music.
Loyd: From year to year, in the fall, we look back at the past summer and determine which concerts were a success and which weren’t. We judge success by the number of people who turn out and the quality of the performance itself. We usually invite back about half the bands; there are a lot of favorites. People give us references and people come forward and say, “We want to play.” We try to get a mix of returning bands and new music, and we try to have different types of music.
Patch: Have you had any groups make unusual demands in their contracts?
Loyd: Some of the bigger groups will send contracts which ask for dressing rooms and meal vouchers and coffee, and we say no . . .it’s pretty much a notch above field conditions at the Lurman.
Patch: Are there needs at the Lurman that the Catonsville community should be aware of?
Loyd: Minimally, we need the community to continue to come to our concerts and put money in the bucket! Audience donations are an important part of our budget.
On a deeper level, we need more involvement. We have about fifteen to eighteen people on the committee, but the more people we have, the easier it goes. We especially need people to staff the shows: help with parking, the concession stand. We have some other particular needs as well: we could do more with coordinating student community-service hours, we need help with site maintenance and facilities improvement.
We have a great committee, many of whom many been dedicated to the Lurman for decades. We have evolved over the years, but with new faces will come fresh ideas and new enthusiasm.
Patch: How is the Lurman funded?
Loyd: We count on donations, sponsorships, and grants. We couldn’t do the series without the annual grant from the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences and the generous support from many local organizations and businesses. This year we received a new grant from the Allstate Foundation.
Patch: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Loyd: The many summers of music at the Lurman.
I’m also proud to be alive. I’m a stage-four, colon cancer survivor and right now, I’m cured. It changed my whole life.
Patch: Tell us about someone who had a strong influence on you, personally or professionally.
Loyd: My parents, Wilson and Nina Loyd, taught me to do the right thing and to be honest. My wife and daughter, Dale and Jenn, and my two brothers, Wayne and Greg, are a huge source of love and support to me.
Patch: What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
Loyd: I have a good work ethic. They say if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.
Patch: What’s something that’s challenging for you?
Loyd: It’s hard to step back.
Patch: What is one of your unachieved professional goals?
Loyd: I’m pretty satisfied. It’s a good life. Every day is a gift.
Patch: Tell us about one of your hobbies.
Loyd: I am a hobbyist musician. I play the guitar and I sing, but between working full time and the Lurman and my family, there’s not much extra time.
Patch: What kinds of music do you listen to?
Loyd: Bluegrass and classic rock and roll. I was really looking forward to The Gigs and they were rained out at the Lurman this summer, but they played at Frederick Road Fridays a few weeks ago. They’re one of my favorites.
Patch: What is your favorite thing about Catonsville?
Loyd: Appalachian Bluegrass. I love that place. I used to go in every Tuesday night for a jam session. Catonsville has a very vital music scene; it’s a great village.