MARYLAND HALL for the Creative Arts, the former Annapolis High School, is a perfect example of putting an outmoded building to good use.

When the high school moved to a new location on Riva Road, its old home could have been left to rot. Vision, energy and persuasiveness prevailed, however, and a rich community resource was created, taking full advantage of the spaces in the building.

The hall is a work in progress, physically and conceptually, and the latest adaptations, a climate-control system and state-of-the-art sound system, will be showcased May 17 when the Naval Academy Band opens a new Summer Performing Arts Series with a free concert.

Linnell Bowen, executive director of Maryland Hall and a major force in Annapolis nonprofit circles, takes particular delight in the May 17 concert. One of her favorite students from the days when she was a history teacher at the original Annapolis High School, Ralph Gambone, Class of 1965, is now Lt. Cmdr. Ralph Gambone, the new conductor of the academy band. The concert is his homecoming, she said.

"He was nurtured in this building, and he's back," said Bowen, happy for her former student's accomplishments. "He learned his music here, and he always wanted to come home."

Bowen said she hopes many Annapolis High alumni will be on hand.

The auditorium where Gambone and his band will perform is as much of a draw as the band itself: "The new sound system will blow you away," she said.

The system was donated by Bose Corp., in conjunction with Sam's Club.

Though the concert is free, seats are reserved and tickets are required.

The three other concerts in this series, with their ticket prices, are: Hard Travelers, June 13 ($15); John Eaton, July 11 ($10); and Annapolis' own Footworks, Aug. 15 ($10).

Maryland Hall members can purchase the series for $30. Single-ticket sales begin Thursday. Information: 410-263-5544.

Maryland Hall is the beneficiary of another corporate community campaign: The Fresh Fields store is to donate a percentage of its total receipts Wednesday. Shoppers will have the opportunity to learn about the many programs of the cultural center and do it some good.

Young runners

The Annapolis Striders launches its eighth annual Junior Striders Track Series on Saturday, with registration at 5: 30 p.m. and races at 6 p.m. There is a track and obstacle course for ages 5 and younger, 6 to 8, 9 to 11 12 to 15. All junior finishers receive ribbons, with awards for the top five in each age group.

Races also are May 17 and 31, June 14 and 28 and July 12. Runners who participate in three meets receive a T-shirt. The series is free, though a $1 donation per meet is welcome. A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for a child to participate.

The meets are held at the Bates Middle School track.

Running is a natural thing for children, but it's never too early to learn how to do it safely and effectively. Practice sessions for junior striders are planned at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Bates.

It probably isn't too late for parents to learn to run safely and effectively, either. So the Striders offers its beginning running program, with no age divisions, at the same place and time, with another session at 8 a.m. Saturdays. A T-shirt will be awarded to all who complete the 10-week course.

Instruction includes sessions on running shoes, preventing and treating injuries, cross-training, monitoring heart rates, running safely and keeping running fun.

Participants should be able to walk briskly for 20 minutes and have the approval of their doctor.

The initial challenge will be to run for one minute, walk two minutes, then repeat the cycle five times, with a final one-minute run. Each week, running will increase and walking will decrease. The goal will be to participate in the Striders' Women's Distance Festival 5K (3.1 miles) or the Run After the Women 5K.

The program fee is $10, payable at the first session May 6. Information: Evan Thomas, 410-760-9188.

Pub Date: 4/28/97

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