A SHOW JUST FOR Ensemble readies a special act NORTH -- Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

During the rest of the year, the 25 members of the North Carroll Ensemble perform their show tunes for the Lions Club, or a retirement home, or some other small group of . . . well, strangers.

But next Tuesday night is special. That's when the ensemble, also called the show choir, puts on its annual community concert at 8 p.m. in the North Carroll High School auditorium.


"I think it's more exciting because we get to play for people we know," Jenny Miller, 16, a senior and the group's pianist, said of the pending concert. Jenny is the daughter of John and Carole Miller of Emory Road.

In the audience will be the ensemble members' parents, their friends, their neighbors, and even strangers who otherwise wouldn't get to hear them.


"Anyone can come -- you don't have to be a member of the Lions Club," said Chuck O'Day, the show choir's choral director.

Senior Jason Swam of Millers, a singer and dancer in the ensemble, enjoys playing for all audiences, but prefers the larger ones such as the one that's expected at Tuesday's concert.

"There's a difference when you look out and see a big audience," said Jason, son of Carroll and Norma Jean Swam. "It makes you do a better job."

The clubs and retirement homes that make up the ensemble's year-round schedule pay the group's expenses, Mr. O'Day said.

Most of their gigs are in Carroll County, but the ensemble also recently played at a Gaithersburg retirement home where the grandfather of one of the performers lives.

The show choir is an offshoot of the 200-voice chorus that Mr. O'Day also directs at the high school. The smaller ensemble features 20 singers and dancers, and a five-piece band made up of two guitars, a piano, a synthesizer and drums.

The girls in the ensemble wear red sequin tops and swingy, knee-length skirts. The boys wear tuxedos.

In Tuesday's show, the students will sing and perform a variety of music, centering around a rock and roll and Top 40 section.


They'll also sing songs from the movies "Flashdance," "Footloose" and "The Addams Family."

From the latter film, they will sing the offbeat title song, starting out in the style of the TV show theme and breaking into the more hip version done last year by rap artist Hammer.

The rousing patriotic finale will include both contemporary songs as well as George M. Cohan's "You're a Grand Old Flag."

Tickets for the show will be available at the door.