Honoring singer John Charles Thomas


John Charles Thomas was part Enrico Caruso, part Bing Crosby.

A Peabody Conservatory student from 1909 to 1912 and a sometime Eastern Shore resident, the renowned baritone was as adept singing spirituals and folk songs, which he did on such now-golden radio programs as the "Bell Telephone Hour" and the "Westinghouse Program," as he was singing opera.

Now, the Peabody has mounted two exhibitions on the life and career of Thomas, who died in 1960, marking the centenary of his birth in Meyersdale, Pa. The exhibits, "John Charles Thomas: An American Classic," are running simultaneously at Peabody's Galleria Piccola and the Historical Society of Talbot County in Easton through Oct. 17 before traveling to the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum in January.

Put together by Peabody archivist Elizabeth Schaaf, the Baltimore exhibit consists mainly of photographs and text while the larger Easton exhibit also includes costumes, memorabilia and cassettes of Thomas' radio programs.

In addition to the exhibits, three special events are planned in connection with the centenary celebration:

*The Historical Society of Talbot County will sponsor a birthday party on Sept. 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Neall House in Easton, featuring a 1940s-style radio show. The gala is free but reservations are required. Call (301) 822-0773.

*The Peabody will hold a free symposium on Thomas on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. in the conservatory's North Hall.

*A Thomas Centenary Concert, featuring the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera's Gordon Hawkins, will be held Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. at Friedberg Hall. Tickets are $10, $5 for students and seniors. Call 659-8124.

The Peabody's Galleria Piccola is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free. Call 659-8257 for more information.

The Historical Society of Talbot County is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free. Call (301) 822-0773 for more information.

Symphony tickets

Individual Baltimore Symphony Orchestra tickets for concerts during the first two months of the 1991-'92 season go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. Until now, tickets have been available only to BSO subscribers and donors.

Non-subscription tickets to Johnny Mathis' appearances Oct. 3-7 go on sale Sept. 22 at noon. Individual tickets for performances Nov. 15 through Jan. 13 go on sale Oct. 27; tickets for Jan. 17 to Feb. 29 shows go on sale Jan. 5; tickets for March 6 to May 9 concerts go on sale Feb. 23; and tickets for May 15 to June 5 concerts go on sale May 3.

The BSO instituted a system of staggered individual ticket sale dates so it could offer "miniseries" subscription packages of three or four concerts throughout most of the season. In previous years, subscription sales have ended with the opening of the season.

For more information, call 783-8000.


The following auditions are coming up:

*The Harford Dance Theatre, for its holiday production of "The Nutcracker," Saturday at Harford Community College's Susquehanna Center, by appointment. Call 836-4112.

*Kinetics Dance Company, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road. Call 461-9907.

*The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Chorus, by appointment, for the 1991-'92 season. Call 379-0549.

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