Dock of the Bay
Volume VII Number 39
September 30-October 6,1999
The Doctor's Orders: Take a Concert ASAP
You've got a blank in your life and your weekend calendar. How should you spend your Friday or Saturday evening?
A. At a self-help lecture.
B.At the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's first concert of the season.
C. In the hot tub with a friend.
Any of those choices might do the trick, but the medicine the doctor ordered will take you to the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. That's if your doctor is Doctor of Musical Arts Rachel Franklin.
"Great music is going to make your life better. Go out and hear it as soon as possible," advises Franklin, who is an international classical and jazz pianist as well as a lecturer on music.
The music you'll hear live this weekend if you follow her prescription emanates from the strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments of an orchestra of 70 professional musicians under the direction of Maestro Leslie B. Dunner, who returns to Annapolis for his second season as conductor and music director. You'll hear a violin-playing guest, as well, in the second of the three pieces.
Like a play, a concert leads you on a dramatic adventure.
The weekend concerts open with an overture, borrowed from the comic opera The Bartered Bride by early 19th century Czech composer Frederick Smetana.
"It's a great opener, light, upbeat and happy, to wake us up and get us feeling good for what's coming," says the orchestra's principal flute player - that's flautist to the informed - Kimberly Valerio of the eight-minute overture.
In case we're not fully informed, Valerio, 29, of Arnold, joins Franklin in guiding us through the season's opening concert. The Chicago native is new to the orchestra this year, though not to Chesapeake Country, where she settled after studying at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Her husband, Tony Valerio, is the orchestra's fourth French horn.
After the energizing overture, Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto raises our pulses.
This 20-minute concerto begins with two "immensely beautiful lyric movements before rising to a last movement that keeps going and going and going," Franklin says.
It's so tough and fast that a special guest has been invited to play it. Still in her early 20s, soloist Jennifer Koh is something of a prodigy, like the violinist for whom the concerto was composed.
"It's very technically demanding for it's physically difficult to coordinate when we have to play so fast," explains flautist Valerio. "It's very impressive to hear the violinist play."
You - and the players - get an intermission before moving to the concert's final act, Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. Like many symphonies, this one tends to start subdued, rises and builds to something exciting, pulling you in like a story as you read along.
The 43-minute symphony is one of Valerio's favorites: "A very romantic symphony, full sounding with lush chords and large orchestra." By romantic, she doesn't mean you'll fall in love. Your heart strings are likely to throb in a different way, rising to the large, full sound.
"It's a very emotional piece, not that it makes me sad or happy but that it's moving, building a huge climax and gorgeous ending," says Valerio.
Sibelius, who was born in 1865, composed his music for practical purposes as well as art, striking a chord as his Finnish countrymen tried to liberate themselves from Russian domination. Composed in 1902, this is his second symphony. It doesn't have a specific story, Valerio says, but "suggests Finland's landscape, so that you feel forests, mountains, lakes and wildlife."
Valerio's flute isn't showcased. But if you listen carefully, you'll hear her in a few small solos in slower movements. Expect the flutes "to be lower, more mellow, not high and piercing."
How will people feel at the end?
"Definitely uplifted in spirit," says Valerio. "It's the type of music that gives me chills."
That's what you'll hear Fri. Oct. 1 and Sat. Oct. 2. Concerts continue in November, January, February and May.
Learn more about the music and its power from Franklin, who introduces each concert in the symphony's five-concert, eight-month season an hour before the music starts.
"Great music's a huge life enhancer, and I love to tell people why it's dramatic and exciting," says Franklin.
Saturday concert-goers can begin their evening with dinner lectures at a local restaurant.
Pre-concert talks are free. Individual concerts range in price from $21 to $30, and season tickets range from $100 to $145 with Saturday night and center seats commanding higher prices. Students of all ages pay only $7. Symphonic Suppers, by reservation, add $35 to the price of any concert. Concerts begin at 8pm in the auditorium of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Make your single or series reservations in advance: 410/263-0907.
Bits & Pieces
Power to the People
So many Marylanders complained about lengthy power outages during Floyd's wrath that Gov. Glendening wants the Maryland Public Service Commission to find out why.
In a letter last week, Glendening told the commission to investigate public utilities' emergency plans. "This year, Maryland has experienced two major utility outages affecting hundreds of thousands of families throughout the state. In both cases, the restoration of service was unacceptably slow and appeared uncoordinated," the governor wrote bluntly.
A full report on utility disaster and emergency plans, timely response, utility service line inspections and adequate staffing is due on Governor's desk by the first of December.
Bear-ing Up Against AIDS
Last Christmas, 1,700 teddy bears made their way into the arms of children, men and women suffering from AIDS throughout Maryland, Washington and Virginia.
Love & Action, an Annapolis-based national ministry to those suffering from the virus, first launched Kim's Teddy Bear Campaign four years ago.
Named after Kim Davison, an HIV positive Naval Academy midshipman who died three years ago, the project collects donations of stuffed animals to be delivered to homes, hospitals and nursing homes during the Easter and Christmas holidays.
"They all wanted something to hold onto," says Love & Action executive director Barbara Tucker. So far, more than 200 teddies have been collected for Christmas 1999.
Bay Life: Pizza Division
The Tooheys, of Guido's Pizza.
What's the common denominator of pizza, volunteering and math? If you are lucky enough to attend school in the Lusby area, it means a field trip to Guido's restaurant. Located "between the lights in Lusby," this delightful Italian eatery satisfies the appetites of the mind as well as the tummy.
Since 1993 John Toohey, a native of Brooklyn, New York, and his wife, Connie, have built a reputation for catering to all ages. Not just catering delicious food at their restaurant, Guido's, but also catering to the people of Southern Maryland. In between raising pizza dough and raising their children - John, eight, and Liane, 10 - the Tooheys devote many volunteer hours to the community. Most of those hours are dedicated to children's causes and needs.
Named Volunteers of the Year at Patuxent Elementary for the 1998-99 school year, John and Connie have a passion to give what little spare time they have to the local children.
"Kids do better when parents are involved and take an interest," Connie says. "You may touch the life of a child who may not get that extra praise or positive reinforcement at home."
Nominated one of Calvert County's Most Beautiful People for all her volunteering efforts, Connie has also served as leader and co-leader of her daughter's Girl Scout troop. She is the treasurer for both her son's Cub Scout pack and Appeal Elementary PTA.
"There are times when it comes to helping children that I just can't say no," Connie laughs.
That trait runs in the Toohey family. Despite putting in so many hours at the restaurant, John still wanted to be close to kids. He began by inviting the children at a couple of day care centers to Guido's for a field trip. The little ones got to tour the kitchen and make their own pizza. Guido's became a favorite trip.
Patuxent Elementary teacher Jim Fields persuaded Toohey to combine pizza making with learning. "He was trying to teach the children in his class fractions. Having to measure out the dough and figure out the division of the toppings really worked out great," says Connie.
Today over 500 students from pre-kindergarten to third grade make the trip to Guido's each year. They each create a pizza by rolling the dough, pouring the sauce or adding the toppings. The completed lessons are then eaten.
John also manages to make time to volunteer in first grade classes each week. His mission is not mozzarella but to help teach youngsters to read. He also raises funds to support the Patuxent High Band and sits on the Calvert County Juvenile Justice board. In case he's saved a few spare moments of the day, he fills those as chair of the Democratic Central Committee for Calvert County.
"We do enjoy family things too," Connie says. "We love to go to the beach, and my daughter and I love to play tennis. It is hard for us to have normal weekends, because that is our busiest time at the restaurant, but we manage to find the time."
So don't be surprised, when you pay a visit to the family Italian restaurant, to find not only an authentic meal in a warm and inviting atmosphere but also a slice of good will served from hearts large enough to serve an entire community.
For a 'taste' of Guido's, turn to Not Just for Kids.
-Lori L. Sikorski
A snooty guy in a tux swirls a tiny, fluted glass and gives it a faint sniff. This is the stereotype of a wine enthusiast, a picture wine seller Debbie Laco would like to erase. "You don't have to know anything about wine to enjoy a good one," she says.
Laco's company, Grayson Distributing, is the middleman supplying handcrafted regional wines from 24 vintners to Winefest on the Beach at Ocean City's Inlet Park October 1 to 3.
Forget about the mass-produced vinegar served in plastic cups with Velveeta cubes at all those chintzy receptions. Winefest on the Beach offers an array of superior wines by small East Coast wine makers from Compton, Rhode Island, to Richmond, Virginia.
"Festivals are an ideal opportunity to find out what you like in a wine," says Laco, who admits that swirling and sniffing wine is actually key, not simply an effete flourish. "Especially in wine, taste has a lot to do with smell. You swirl the glass to release the aroma. What you catch might be the scent of berries; for a cabernet you might get chocolate and even tobacco notes; and in white wine you can pick out apricot, pineapple or lemony scents."
Eighteen dollars gets you your own wineglass plus samples of many fine and unusual wines. "Go experience a whole lot of things you never realized were out there before," Laco urges.
Health conscious? Many varieties of New York reds contain lots of resveratrol, a substance believed to fight heart disease and cancer. Brotherhood wines takes good health further by adding ginseng to their red for their own creation, "Ghengis Khan." Or try Sheba Tej, an Ethiopian honey wine boasting no sulfites.
In a larger way, Winefest on the Beach is one result of a grassroots push for a variety of decent and distinctive local wines and beers in an age of mass-produced brands. "One of the great things about Winefest on the Beach is that it's the only way many of these great small wine makers and microbreweries can get this kind of publicity," says festival organizer Alise Engstroem.
Designated drivers receive an armband that will get them all the free Cokes they can drink. "You've got the beach, the wine, the music. It's just an all-around good time," promises Engstroem.
For a full-fledged event Engstroem has invited many sellers of many types of food. To a crowd estimated at 4,000 to 6,000, regional acts Bird Dog and the Road Kings, the Dan Haas Band, Detour, the Monroe Dylan Band, Zion Train and Fran Scuderi perform on a bandstand set on the beach with the ocean as a backdrop. "We had it placed so the sun will set behind the acts," said Engstroem.
The festival opens Friday, October 1 at 3pm and continues until 8pm. Saturday's hours are noon to 8pm and Sunday's 12:30pm to 6pm.
Learn more about Winefest on the Beach and its wineries and breweries, plus get a $3 coupon by visiting their website: www.winefest.com.
Way Downstream ...
In Virginia, some residents of Craig County are concerned about the plans by a company called Pharming Healthcare to begin breeding transgenic cows - cows with genetic materials transferred from other animals, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports ...
Atlantic states appear to be experiencing a common fish problem - unusually high mortality rates for striped bass, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission reports. The problem is especially high for rockfish that are five to seven years old, prime size for anglers ...
During California's Coastal Clean-up Day, people received prizes for the most unusual trash. The grand prize, $500, was awarded to a man who found a gravestone - from San Antonio. Other unusual items included a bottled love letter, false teeth and a carved pumpkin full of eggs ...
Our Creature Feature comes from Merced, Calif., where people are getting very tired of a certain bird - the turkey vulture. Many people around the town of Merced argue that by eating roadkill, these huge birds play a vital role in the ecosystem.
Others are tired of their droppings and, to put it bluntly, their vomit. So they've persuaded city officials to begin firing explosives to drive away the town's 200 vultures. But the San Francisco Chronicle reports that people don't want to be around for the explosions because the birds throw up in the air when frightened.
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Volume VII Number 39
September 30-October 1, 1999
New Bay Times
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