Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock: Singers from six schools will team up for a stirring concert

Can you imagine hearing more than 400 student voices raised together in song? Since 2011, Marriotts Ridge and its feeder schools have gathered early in January to wow the community with a free choral cluster concert.

Each of the schools — Manor Woods Elementary, Waverly Elementary, West Friendship Elementary, Burleigh Manor Middle, Mt. View Middle and Marriotts Ridge High — will perform two pieces separately, and then they will join for a stirring finale.

The 2013 concert will take place on Friday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Marriotts Ridge auditorium, 12100 Woodford Drive, in Marriottsville.

It's that time again, when one reevaluates the year and decides to make some positive changes. One popular New Year's resolution is to help others.

If you are looking for a way to make a difference within the community, consider contacting Neighbor Ride, Howard County's volunteer-based transportation service for seniors. Drivers help older residents maintain their independence by transporting them to appointments, shopping areas, religious services, social gatherings, fitness activities, and more.

Volunteers may choose rides that are convenient to their schedules and locations, and parent drivers are welcome to bring their children. For more information, contact Rosemary Noble or Patrice Cerwonka at 410-884-RIDE or, or go to

Another popular New Year's resolution is to get fit. Don't know where to begin? Consider an introductory course in T'ai Chi Chih (pronounced tie chee cha), an ancient Chinese exercise that helps reduce stress and improve flexibility and balance.

Sharon Sirkis will teach "Introduction to T'ai Chi Chih" on Saturday, Jan. 19, 1-3 p.m., at the Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours. The cost is $20; make sure to wear comfortable clothing.

Bon Secours will also offer a weekend retreat, "The Gift of Being Called: Conspiring with God's Voice," Friday, Jan. 25, at 5 p.m., to Sunday, Jan. 27, at 11 a.m. This retreat costs $225, and participants should bring a journal.

To register for events at Bon Secours, call 410-442-1320. The address is 1525 Marriottsville Road, in Marriottsville, and the website is

Calling all artists! The Howard County Conservancy has announced its fourth annual juried artshow, themed "Art and the Art of Stewardship: Connections," which will run March 14 to April 18.

Artists are invited to submit their original works of outdoor sculpture or two-dimensional art/photography for evaluation. These works should demonstrate stewardship of the Earth, with a focus on the infinite variety ofart, nature, and that moment of connection.

The judges — Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum; Greg Mort, internationally acclaimed artist; and Anne Raver, New York Times contributor — will assess all works for acceptance and awards. To apply or learn more, go to Call 410-465-8877 with any questions.

I wish you and yours all the best in 2013. Happy New Year!

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