Atholton students perform with orchestra in 2 nations

Bassoonist Joy E. Fraser and clarinetist Jason K. Shafer returned June 29 from Russia and Estonia, where they performed with the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra. The young musicians are rising seniors at Atholton High School.

The student orchestra, which requires an audition for membership, was directed by Jason Love, who also conducts the Columbia Orchestra.


Fifty-five students and 25 adults traveled June 21 from Washington Dulles International Airport to Moscow, then by way of Helsinki, Finland, to Estonia, where the orchestra gave its first concert. From there, the group went by overnight train to St. Petersburg, Russia, where the orchestra performed Russian and American music for an audience of about 600 in the Smolny Cathedral, built in the 18th century and now used as a concert hall.

"Cultural exchanges are a big part of our mission," Love said. The orchestra performed with Galaktika, the Russian girls' chorus that was invited by the orchestra and the Children's Chorus of Maryland to participate in the Vivat! St. Petersburg festival last year in Baltimore.


"Music really is an international language, and even though it was difficult for the students always to communicate with each other - you know, regular speaking - that goes away when it comes to music-making," said Love, who was pleased to have his students see the enthusiasm of the audience for great music. "It was a way of strengthening ties between our two communities."

"It was quite a trip - for the kids, probably almost a once in a lifetime, or certainly in their lifetimes the most significant kind of trip they've taken," said Jason's father, Ken Shafer, who was a chaperon.

Becky McLaughlin of Hammond High School, who plays French horn, and violinist Erin K. Hedden, who recently graduated from River Hill High School, also participated.

- Fay Lande

'Dinosaur Babies' to open Rainbow Theatre season

Rainbow Theatre at Slayton House, in Wilde Lake Village Center, will open its 2004-2005 season with two performances of Dinosaur Babies by DinoRock Productions.

The play about baby dinosaurs and family behavior, which features hand, rod, string and body puppets, will be presented at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 10.

Tickets are $4.25 in advance; $5.25 at the door. Group rates are available.


Information: 410-730-3987.

Around Town

For children: The central library is offering programs of stories, activities, crafts and play for young children. "Play Partners," a drop-in program for infants and toddlers to age 23 months with an adult, will be held at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18 and 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Aug. 19. Registration is required for the Friday sessions, held at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Aug. 20. "3, 2, Fun!" a program of stories, activities and games for preschoolers with an adult, will be offered at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday. "All Together Now," for preschool through early elementary-age children, is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Aug. 18. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas to the evening session. "Super Saturdays," stories and songs for small groups and families of young children, is offered at 10 a.m. Saturdays through Aug. 28. 410-313-7880.

Landscaping: The central library, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, will present a master gardener program on landscaping without grass at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registration is required. 410-313-7860.

Afternoon teas: Reservations are required by Friday for the Town Center Community Association's "Parent and Child" afternoon tea, to be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at Historic Oakland in Town Center. The menu will feature scones, sandwiches and dessert. A fancy-hat contest is planned. The cost is $18.90. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Afternoon tea is served from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. the last Thursday of each month. Reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance. Historic Oakland is at 5430 Vantage Point Road. 410-730-4801, or visit www.his

Heritage: The Howard County library system and Vantage House Retirement Community will hold the next in a four-part series of book discussions about the nation's cultural heritage, "Let's Talk About It! The Cultural Fabric of America," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Road. The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan will be the topic. Poems of Rita Dove and Gwendolyn Brooks will be discussed Aug. 31. The discussions will be led by poet Karen Arnold. Registration is encouraged. Books and resource material will be available. 410-564-3059.


Laser show: Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Center will sponsor a Motown Laser Show at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 in Slayton House Theatre. Proceeds will be used to pay for a Slayton House sculpture. Tickets are $11; $10 for Columbia lien-payers. 410-730-3987.