Carver Celebration in Towson places art and school spirit in spotlight

With just days to spare, students of every academic prime at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology are well into preparations for the Carver Celebration on Saturday, April 21, an annual fundraiser held for the school by the Carver Center Foundation.

"Our big fundraiser of the year is the Carver Celebration, which is a great way for people to come out and see what's going on at the school" said David Flinchbaugh, president of the Carver Center Foundation. "A lot of the students in all of the primes participate in the Celebration."

Flinchbaugh, of Lutherville, said the celebration's purpose is two-fold.

Not only is it a fundraiser that the foundation puts right back into the school — it paid for all of the freshmen to take the PSAT this year and is funding the robotics team at this week's National Championship in Anaheim, Calif., among other things — but it also raises awareness of just where the money will be going.

On Monday morning, Glenna Blessing's senior dance class was working on, among other things, two dances that some students will perform at the celebration.

One of the dances, "Odyssey," is more of a modern traditional piece in which the dancers take the audience on a journey from start to finish, Blessing said. The other, "Vibe," is more high-energy and gets the audience involved.

Amber Moreland, 18, of Parkville, is one of the seniors performing at the celebration.

She has been to the event before and having seen most of her peers' performances at other school functions, she had previous partook mostly in the food prepared by the school's culinary arts students.

For both Moreland and Anastasia McKenzie, 19, of Perry Hall, it will be the first time performing at the Carver Celebration.

"It's a really big deal," said Moreland, who will perform in both "Odyssey" and "Vibe."

Plenty of other students and their talents will be showcased as well.

Ninth graders Tres McMichael, 15, of Pikesville and Nasya Jeffers, 14, of Owings Mills, will be among the cast members of the schools' production of "Little Shop of Horrors," which the school staged in February.

As freshmen, the two are honored to have been chosen to perform in the event.

"This is one of the best things that really showcases our school," Tres said.

Emil Sueck, a 16-year-old sophomore from Monkton, will sing a selection from "Little Shop of Horrors."

His decision to sign up was a last-minute one, but said with a lot of his theater work wrapping up, he relished the opportunity to perform a little more.

Likewise, seniors Rebecca Adelberg, 17, of Lutherville, and James Ruth, 17 of Dundalk, along with junior Emily Golden, 16, of Timonium, are excited for the opportunity for the "little reunion" of the cast.

It's not all fun and games, however. Instead of performing it with their sets and blocking as they would during the full performance, the group has to adapt the performance numbers for more of a concert setting.

Ruth called the transition a "bit of a challenge," but the students have a pair of two-hour rehearsal periods allotted for after school Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20.

"If I didn't think they knew what they were doing, there would be more," said Allyson Haley, producer of the show.

Ruth and Adelberg are also part of a group that will be performing a number from the musical, "Les Miserables."

Not all of the acts that Haley is overseeing are terribly conventional. The emcee will be a puppet named Morty, who was built by sophomore Michael Paradiso, 15, of Pikesville.

"I love to showcase different types of talent, and he has an amazing talent that we haven't seen before," Haley said.

During a conversation last Friday, Haley and Michael discussed the possibility of making a puppet based on Statler and Waldorf, the two "old men" in the balcony from "The Muppets."

Michael was more than happy to oblige.

"I liked 'The Muppets' when I was little," he said. "Always have, always will."

He's studying design and production at Carver and though he's been a puppeteer all of his life, Saturday will be a big crowd for he and Morty.

"I'm a little nervous, but I think I'll get the hang of it after a while," he said.

The Carver Celebration 2012 will be held Saturday, April 21, 7-10 p.m., at the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, 938 York Road, Towson. Advance tickets are $50 general; $25 for Carver Center students, faculty, staff and alumni. To order, go to Some tickets will also be available at the door Saturday night for $75.

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