Congratulations to the Marriotts Ridge High School music department on an outstanding showing at the Heritage Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn., on April 19.

All of the school's ensembles earned either a gold or silver rating, and many of them received Adjudicator Awards, for which the instrumental groups scored 92 points or more out of 100, and the choral groups scored 95 points or more.

Additionally, the school came home with the Sweepstakes Award (highest average scores) in both the instrumental and choral divisions, and the Grand Sweepstakes Award for the event's highest overall score. Following is a summary of the accolades:

• String Orchestra — gold rating; Adjudicator Award


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• Symphony Orchestra with Chorale — gold rating; Outstanding Orchestra Group; Adjudicator Award

• String Ensemble — silver rating

• Symphonic Wind Ensemble — gold rating; Outstanding Concert Band/Wind Ensemble; Adjudicator Award

• Concert Band — silver rating

• Percussion Ensemble — silver rating

• Big Band Jazz — gold rating; Outstanding Jazz Ensemble; Adjudicator Award

• Jazz Combo — silver rating

• Mustang Chorale — gold rating

• Madrigals — gold rating; Adjudicator Award

• Women's Ensemble — gold rating; Outstanding Choral Group; Adjudicator Award

• Men's Ensemble — gold rating

Several students also won awards for outstanding solo performances. Kudos to Jon Eves, tenor saxophone solo; Tyler Fitzpatrick, guitar solo; Minji Kim, violin solo; Tracy Kim, piccolo solo; Morgan Krieger, vocal solo; and Anna Rimlinger, vocal solo.

Meanwhile, the Marriotts Ridge Dance students performed at Disney World — also on April 19 — after a video audition earned them an invitation. This incredible opportunity allowed the students to experience the day of a professional Disney performer, with back-to-back routines and many costume changes.

The students are now ready to delight the public with two dance concerts, scheduled for May 16 and 17, at 7 p.m. This year's theme is "A Time to Dance."

All numbers are choreographed by either the students or Dance Director Patricia Spruill, and the MRHS BBoyz Club will make a special guest appearance. Tickets cost $8 at the door. For more information, call 410-313-5573.

News flash! Karen Wright, one of the coordinators for West Friendship Elementary School's Spring Festival, passed along that this year's event will feature several outreach activities in addition to the usual fun and games.

For instance, the school's Wellness Committee will sponsor a special game to raise cancer awareness and money for Tanner's Touch pediatric cancer fund (www.tannerstouch.com).

The Spring Festival is Friday, May 10, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. To learn more, email karenw@futures-inc.com.

Looking for something different to do with mom this Mother's Day? The Howard County Conservancy will host a Mother's Day Special on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., in lieu of its monthly Wonder Walk.

Bring mom out to tour the gardens, and enjoy tea and scones in the farmhouse. The address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock, and the cost is $5 per person or $10 per family. Register online at http://www.hcconservancy.org.

This month, the historic Town of Sykesville will begin offering several free summer programs, including the Tunes under the Main Street Moon concert series on the second Friday of each month, 7 to 10 p.m., in the Main Street Gazebo.

Shops will remain open late during the event, which will also include complimentary wine and refreshments. A local blues band, Hotwire, will lead off the series May 10.

Sykesville Cinema Outdoor Movies will begin at dusk on the second Saturday of each month, starting with "Finding Nemo" on Saturday, May 11. The venue is South Branch Park, located on the Howard County side of the river, at the end of West Friendship Road.

Finally, the Sykesville Concerts in the Park series will take place on the third Friday of each month, 7 to 9 p.m., at Millard Cooper Park, Route 32 and Springfield Avenue. The first concert, on May 17, will feature Stephen Heller (www.stephenpaulheller.com) performing an eclectic mix of pop, rock and oldies with his band, the Royal Phonics.

For more information about Sykesville events, contact Ivy Wells at 410-795-8959 or ivy@sykesville.net.