A long-time dream is about to become reality for ballet instructor, June Smart, who teaches ballet at Linden Hall in Dorsey's Search Village Center.
She's forming a professional ballet ensemble that will be based at Linden Hall.
"The ballroom here provides an excellent atmosphere and is large enough to fulfill our needs," Ms. Smart says.
She says the ensemble will be composed of both professional dancers and experienced amateurs who are seriously striving to become professionals. "I envision an ensemble of eight to 10 people, who will dance with guest performers brought in from other ballet companies."
If things move along smoothly, Ms. Smart says auditions could begin as early as this spring, but she admits that schedule may be a bit optimistic.
"We plan to incorporate the ensemble as a nonprofit organization," she says. "Then, hopefully, we can subscribe tax-deductible memberships for the financial support we need."
It is an ambitious project, but if hard work and determination are equalizers, June Smart will probably succeed.
While she lays out plans for the ballet ensemble, Ms. Smart continues to teach ballet classes at Linden Hall.
Those interested in joining one of her classes can pick up a copy of class schedules and register at Linden Hall, or call 730-4005 for additional information.
An unusual holiday tradition will continue this year in the Hawthorn neighborhood of Hickory Ridge.
On Christmas Eve, residents living on Snow Crystal, Misty Arch Run, Cloudland Court and some of Sunny Spring will again illuminate their streets with lanterns made from white paper bags, sand and candles.
The event, now called the "Holiday Illuminaire" by the participants, began six years ago when Mike and Leora Caporaletti decided to do something different for the holiday season.
"We got the idea of the bag lanterns from our daughter," says Mike Caporaletti. "She saw some made by some kids in the Font Hill development. We borrowed the idea and took it a step further."
That step was a big one. Mr. Caporaletti was able to talk some neighbors on Snow Crystal to join in and make enough lanterns to illuminate their entire cul-de-sac. He also coordinated the effort to illuminate several adjoining neighborhood streets. In the years since, more streets have been included.
"Last year we expanded to include some of Sunny Spring," Mike says. "This year, we've purchased enough candles, bags and sand to make almost 1,200 lanterns."
He says that because of donations, and the help of many neighbors, there will be enough lanterns this year to illuminate additional streets along Sunny Spring between Hickory Ridge Road and Owen Brown Road.
The lanterns will be placed along the curbs of neighborhood streets and are scheduled to be lighted at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The lanterns will burn for eight to 10 hours if the weather cooperates. In case of bad weather, the lantern-lighting will be postponed until Christmas night.
If you wish to view the Holiday Luminaire on Christmas Eve, drive south on Sunny Spring off Hickory Ridge Road until you see the lanterns.
The display is best viewed by driving slowly through the %J cul-de-sacs with only the car's parking lights on.
If you are among those who have yet to finish Christmas shopping, you are probably beginning to feel the first twinges of nervousness. Unless you get into a store and start buying things within the next 24 hours, you'll probably find yourself in the throes of a full-blown panic attack.
Deep down, you suspect it might already be too late.
You know you should have finished up at least a week ago, and realize there is no chance that the stores will have any of the good stuff left. Most of all, you dread the idea of fighting the crowds of other last-minute shoppers for the well rummaged dregs that remain on the shelves.
Of course, the true Christmas shopping procrastinators, those who have yet to even start shopping, won't panic until Friday afternoon. So, if you happen to be out pre-post-Christmas sale browsing, its best to just stay out of the way of these half-crazed souls. Their manic movements and wild-eyed expressions will make them easy to spot.
Caroling has long been a part of the holidays.
For many, the carols that celebrate the birth of Jesus and the songs extolling the joy of the holiday season, are as much a part of the celebration as Santa and the traditional sharing of gifts.
A number of groups will be making rounds and offering carols throughout the Columbia area during these last days before Christmas.
Some of them will visit nursing homes and others who would otherwise not be able to hear carols being sung.
One such group, composed of members of the St. John Lutheran Church in Wilde Lake Interfaith Center will be offering a selection of carols to patients of Howard County General Hospital tonight at 7 p.m.
They also will be passing out presents to the patients.
And, in the spirit of giving . . . .
This is a good time to donate blood to the American Red Cross. The holidays are traditionally a time of critical shortages at the blood banks.
Donations of blood may be made at the American Red Cross Blood Donor Center located in Suite G-4, at 10 Corporate Center in downtown Columbia.
The center is open Mondays through Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For information, please call 800-272-0024.
And last . . . for those who dread the cold and snow of winter, cheer up.
Although yesterday was the winter solstice and the official beginning of the winter season, you will be comforted to know that springtime is only 88 days away.