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Katie Santilli to dance ballet at Kennedy Center

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Young ballerinas are dreamers. They dream of dancing the part of Clara in "The Nutcracker." They dream of dancing with an important company at the Kennedy Center. Those dreams are ideals their parents tolerate.

Katie Santilli is a ballerina who is living her dreams. At 12, she's an honor student with an A average at Glenwood Middle School. This holiday season, Katie will dance the role of Clara with the Central Maryland School of Ballet. She'll also dance with the Joffrey Ballet at the Kennedy Center in "The Nutcracker," not only as a mouse, but in the important role of Polichenelles.

When Katie's father took her for an audition with the Joffrey, he reported there were "hundreds of people -- a steady stream of people -- coming down the stairs in tears."

Katie shed no tears; she passed her audition gloriously. She studies ballet with Deborah Bailey, owner of the Central Maryland School of Ballet in Laurel. Katie dances at least five days each week, because she is also a member of the Carroll County Jazz Ensemble.

Her performances with the Joffrey at the Kennedy Center Opera House are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 11, 8 p.m. Dec. 14, 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 18.

She will dance the role of Clara at Hammond High School with the Central Maryland School of Ballet Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Those performances will also feature Patrick Johnson and Tassia Hooks of the Harlem Dance Theatre.

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Glenelg High School's play, "Les Miserables," tops the list of best bets for this weekend's entertainment in western Howard County.

Adapted by Tim Kelly from the Victor Hugo novel, this exciting story follows the convict Jean Valjean for 20 years of his life, as he is constantly chased by Inspector Javert.

Director and drama teacher Ron Oaks began rehearsals with his cast of 45 students in late September. Now they are ready to wow you with some interesting characters, fabulous costumes by Linda Simms, and impressive special effects, most notably in the barricade scene. The stage craft class built a 40-foot by 20-foot tenement as a backdrop. Art students added details and paint to make a marvelous set for the play.

Glenelg graduate Deena Kouyeas and the Glenelg Madrigals provide the music that sets this play apart. Alumna Jennifer Blizard choreographed this production, and Greg Kemper, who graduated from Glenelg seven years ago, is the assistant director.

Leading the Glenelg thespians in "Les Miserables" are Tom Kouyeas as Jean Valjean, Jason Murray as Inspector Javert, Mike Unglesbee as Victor Hugo and Becky Reinhardt as Fantine.

Other roles are played by Brad Rigler, Becky Goldsmith, Lauren Taylor, Mary Marland, Bill Benz, Lauren Pater and Dave Willis.

"Les Miserables" is appropriate fare for adults and middle and high school students. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets, which you may purchase from a student in the play or at the door, are $5. Call 313-5528 for more information.

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Winter concerts in our area are coming up soon. Don't miss seasonal music and the accomplished performances of our young musicians. It's a miracle to think that fourth-graders didn't know how to hold their instruments in September.

The Glenelg High School Winter Concert is Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. at the school. The symphonic band, directed by Barry Enzman, the choir, and the Madrigals, both under the direction of Nancy Buckle, will combine to offer a festive evening of music.

Tickets are $4, and proceeds support the music department at Glenelg. Tickets are available from band or choir members, or you may call 313-5533 for recorded information. Poinsettias used to decorate the auditorium will be available after the concert.

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At Glenwood Middle School, the wind ensemble and band director David Apple will present their free winter concert at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 16 at the school. You'll hear all band instruments, not just the winds, as the wind ensemble plays popular concert and seasonal music. This experienced musical group has players from grades six through eight. Phone 313-5520.

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Mount View Middle School bands will give their premier performances under the baton of director Shelly Williams at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 20. The wind ensemble and the concert band will play holiday music and music by prominent composers of band and orchestral literature in an exciting first concert. Call 313-5545.

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Mike Blackman, director of bands at three local elementary schools, announces winter concerts at Bushy Park, Dec. 13; at Lisbon, Dec. 21 and at West Friendship, Dec. 22. The beginning and advanced bands at all three schools will perform. The elementary school concerts, which are free, begin at 7 p.m. Call your local school for more information.

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Principal Kaye Cornmesser of Clarksville Elementary School invites Clarksville parents to "Coffee with the Principal" from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m. Dec. 9. Mrs. Cornmesser will hold an informal coffee. She hopes to discuss the parent volunteer program and issues parents introduce. Call 313-7050.

Be sure to save some time in this hectic season for coffee and conversation with the Howard County Board of Education. From 10 a.m. until noon Dec. 11, the board will meet with citizens in the West Friendship Elementary School media center. The fourth in a series, the meeting will give the community an opportunity to chat informally with Board of Education members.

Call 313-6600 for more information.

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River Hill Garden Center in Clarksville is sponsoring a food drive for Grassroots as part of its holiday celebration through Dec. 24.

You may drop off nonperishable food items outside the front door of the Garden Center, or give your donation of food or money to any of the friendly River Hill staff.

Bring the kids and your camera, for Santa Claus is coming to town from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, and from noon until 4 p.m., Sunday.

After a visit with Santa, the children can enjoy a free ornament-making activity from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.

The Linden Linthicum Methodist Church bell choir will perform at the garden center at 1 p.m. Sunday. You can hear a classical guitarist Saturday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Listen to a flute duo Saturday from noon until 1 p.m. and again Sunday from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Boy Scout Troop 757 will be there selling hot sandwiches, and the Garden Center will treat you to free hot cider and cookies. Call 531-3303 for more information and directions.

Last call for citrus orders for the holidays. The Glenelg High School Marching Unit will take your order for navel oranges or pink grapefruit by the bushel or half-bushel through Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. Prices range from $9.75 to $18. Order through a student, or call Denise Schmidt at (301) 854-6415 after 6 p.m.

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Tomorrow at Glenelg Country School the Middle School Music department and 40 middle school students will present "Oliver." Their first presentation at 12:30 p.m. is for the students, and parents will enjoy the evening performance at 7:30 p.m.

Glenelg Country School students and staff are collecting food this week for local food banks.

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Webelo Cub Scouts of Den 9 in Pack 737 from Clarksville Elementary School call themselves the Sharks. In the scouting tradition of sharing, they organized the collection of food for 11 needy families for Thanksgiving.

Each of the 11 dens in the pack contributed food, which the Sharks collected, sorted, bagged in hand-decorated bags, and delivered to the Salvation Army or a needy family. The Sharks, Timmy Ousborne, Benny Ousborne, Mikie Rexroad, Adam Corbett, Ethan Montgomery and Brad Capel, are now collecting gifts for needy children for the holidays. With the support of their pack, they hope to deliver 115 gifts through the Salvation Army angel program.

If you wish to donate a gift through the Sharks, call den leader Cindi Ousborne at 410- 531-6284.

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