BSO gala hits right notes with $375,000


Beaytiful, elegant and in good taste are just a few of the compliments being used to describe this year's BSO Gala at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall last Saturday night. And it was none other than this year's low-key chairs of the gala, Wendy and Ben Griswold, who set the tone for an evening that raised a record $375,000 for the orchestra.

Among the thousand guests at the party were Georgia and Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles' owner and this year's gala sponsor; Gov. and Mrs. Parris Glendening; Mayor and Mrs. Kurt L. Schmoke; Carol and George McGowan, past BSO gala chairs; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pisch, he's the new BSO development director, who just arrived from North Carolina; Pam and Arnold Lehman, he's director of the Baltimore Museum of Art; Linda and Stanley Panitz, she's done a great job with the BSO's new education initiative; Julie Mercer, president of the BSO's Top Brass and a VP at Doner; Pat and John Gidwitz, he's the BSO executive director; and Rosetta Stith, director of the Pacquin School, who goes every year and takes several of her girls with her.

There were lots of comments about maestro David Zinman, who looked quite trim and most dapper after his eight-month hiatus.

Seen having dinner at Boccaccio's Restaurant recently were State School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and her lumber czar hubby, Lou, with Lowell Milken, brother of Michael, and their mother, Fern.

The Milkens were in town to congratulate the five Maryland educators, who won the 1995 Milken Family Foundation National Education Awards.

The winners receive $25,000 each, no strings attached and believe it or not, the winners arrived at the Department of Education building last week having no idea as to why they were summoned.

The winner's are George L. Boarman, Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George's County; Kenneth Gill, Elkridge Landing Middle School in Howard County; Faustena "Penny" Vahsen, Magothy River Middle School in Anne Arundel County; Peter R. Litchka, North Carroll High School in Carroll County; and Miriam B. Dyer, Colonel Richardson High School in Caroline County.

They'll be honored at a state banquet in October, and will travel to the national education symposium in California in May with Dr. Grasmick, to collect their checks.

More than 800 people were at the recent dedication of the Rebecca M. Clatanoff Pavilion, Anne Arundel County Medical Center's facility for women's health in Annapolis.

The Naval Academy Band and the dynamic Dixieland Band, led by Annapolis physician-musician Dr. Rick Hochman, enlivened the celebration.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend arrived with the governor's best wishes for Chip Doordan, Anne Arundel Health System president and CEO. Others spotted were State Secretary of Higher Education Pat Florestano; Anne Arundel County Exec John Gary; former county exec Bobby Neall; the Medical Center's vice president Lisa Hillman, and her husband, Dick, former Annapolis mayor; surgeon and avid sailor Dr. Steve Hiltabilde; Dr. Ed Morris and his wife, Mary; Anne Arundel County's economic development whiz, Mike Lofton; and Dr. Jim Rivers, and his wife, Deedee, he's the center's new director of women's services.

Heard it through the grapevine:

* That when "Buskers' " star Tommy Tune was taking his bows opening night at the Mechanic Theatre he blew a kiss to the first lady of theater in Baltimore, Clarisse Mechanic . . .

* That Orioles star Rafael Palmeiro and his wife were seen checking out Oriental rugs on sale this week at Alex Cooper's rug emporium in Towson . . .

* That WPOC-FM selected the winner of its "If You Wanna See 'Em, You Gotta Be 'Em," contest for a trip to Nashville to see the Country Music Association Awards Show Oct. 4. The winner was Cheryl Quinn, who gave a stunning lip-syncing performance of Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine." . . .

* That when Maryland native Taylor Barton left for Paris, she had no idea that she would one day write poetry which would be set to music! But that's exactly what happened and the result is that she and her band, Generic Blondes, have made a debut CD, "Mean American Dream." Her gigs have been varied, like performing on "Saturday Night Live," and she once landed a role playing a cheeseburger. If you'd like to hear what Barton and her Generic Blondes can do, stop by the Horse You Came in On in Fells Point tomorrow night. They're supposed to begin playing at 7 p.m.

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