Vol. 8, No. 33
Aug. 17-23, 2000
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Singing in the Rain

Into each life some rain must fall, but too much has fallen in mine

That's the summer theme song of many a regional event planner. Last year, the Annapolis Symphony sang that sad song twice. First, June rain drowned the Symphony Friends' annual Jazz Fest. Reprising that debacle, a September storm washed away their Labor Day concerts in the park.

This remarkable summer, rain drenched the 1,800 guests and volunteers at Rod 'n' Reel Restaurant's 19th annual Celebration of Life Gala August 3 in Chesapeake Beach. Come August 13, it dampened the amphibians who gathered at historic Sotterley Plantation in St. Marys County for the wistfully named Under the Stars concert with The Manhattan Transfer.

But it takes more than a little rain - more, even, than a lot of rain - to douse our spirit of having fun while doing good.

Everytime it rains, it rains pennies from heaven

Rain it did on the Gala. But by the time the clouds unzipped, all were full and the sprawling dessert buffet was picked clean. "We had the largest crowd ever and raised the largest amount of money ever," said Gala organizer Mary O'Dell. "At $192,000 and rising, the total is up $6,000 from last year's all-time high."

Rain it did at Sotterley Plantation. A cloud-swept day gave way to a hearty evening drizzle, so that the weather-proof crowd settled in for a long, damp voyage. Good thing this is Bay Country: Yellow slickers and big golf umbrellas spread like mushrooms over Sotterley's rolling lawn as dripping clouds rolled over.

"All you all right?" Transfer founder Tim Hauser asked the 20 percent smaller-than-hoped for gathering of 1,000.

"We're fine," returned the damp, satisfied murmur.

I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I'm happy again

After the vocal quartet, backed up by an instrumental quintet, crooned and scatted their second song, "Operator, Get Me Jesus on the Line," the rain eased into a comprehensive mist. That truce held for a single, energized 45-minute set, coming to a close as the Manhattanites wove "Singing in the Rain" into "Last time, last time I saw Jeannine."

Only after the stage was cleared and chairs returned to their bags did the skies open up.

Let's hope pockets did, too. "Due to the weather, we did end up dampened," said Sotterley's Carol Wilson, who says the Sotterley Foundation is still counting the take.

But if it had to rain, Wilson allowed,"the timing couldn't have been better. Right when the concert ended, that's when the bottom fell out and the lightning started. With all that power surging around, it could have been serious stuff."

Every cloud has a silver lining, so wait until the sun shines through

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly