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County provides fertile ground for the arts


Arts centers

Howard County Center for the Arts

8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-2787, or

Howard County Center for the Arts houses visual arts studios, classrooms, a 114-seat black box theater, meeting space for affiliated arts organizations and space for resident art groups in the 27,000-square- foot facility.

Participating music groups include the Howard County Regional Youth Orchestra, which conducts weekly rehearsals in the theater from September through June.

HCCA offers year-round classes in the visual, performing and literary arts for all ages.

Classes for adults include "Watercolor Painting," "Beginning Beaded Jewelry," "Faces of Women" and continuing "Drawing/Painting Model Sessions."

The center also offers children's art classes, such as "Drawing and Painting Skills," "Exploring Art," "Pre-ballet and Jazz" and "Hip-Hop Dance." The summer arts camp has several one- and two-week sessions in July and August for ages 4 to 14.

HCCA is also the home of the Fabulous 50+ Players, a musical theater program that puts on at least six productions a year.

The program is open to anyone 50 or older, with opportunities on the stage and behind the scenes.

The center is also home to the No Boundaries Musical Theatre Company, a partnership between the Howard County Arts Council and Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. The organization, for young adults with disabilities, rehearses in the theater Tuesday evenings from September through May and holds a performance in the spring.

The center showcases about 500 artists each year in its gallery program.

Exhibits change every eight weeks, and a reception is held for each new exhibit.

Artists are local, regional, national and sometimes international. Shows range from single-artist exhibits to partnerships with the Howard County Department of Education, which juries a show of student work from kindergarten through 12th grade. The works are showcased at the center each year for six weeks.

Through April 22, Gallery I will show the works of students in kindergarten through 12th grade in a partnership between the Howard County Arts Council and the Howard County public school system.

Through April 22, Gallery II will show an exhibit of contemporary works in clay by Nathalie MacDonald, Jacqueline S. Johnson and Yelena Sheynin, presented as part of the National Council for Education on Ceramic Arts Conference in partnership with Baltimore Clayworks.

From May 6 through June 17, Gallery I will show the work of HCCA resident artists and Gallery II will feature the narrative paintings of Amy Funderburk and Bruce Erikson.

In July, Gallery I will showcase the contemporary figurative drawings and paintings of Tom Block, Jessica Damen, Kristin Powers Nowlin and Randy Simmons. Gallery II will showcase the work of artists with developmental disabilities in two exhibits, Art Enables and No Boundaries, presented in partnership with Howard County Recreation and Parks, Therapeutic Recreation.


Howard County Poetry and Literature Society Mailing address: HoCoPoLitSo, ILB 239, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia 21044. Information: 410-772-4568, www., or e-mail hoco

For more than 30 years, the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society has offered the community the opportunity to hear the works of distinguished poets and writers.

With its snappy acronym - HoCoPoLitSo - and commitment to poetry and prose, the nonprofit arts organization presents readings and other literary events to the public, bringing in three to four writers and poets each year.

Founded in 1974, HoCoPoLitSo has been called "a model for community literature programs" by the National Endowment for the Arts and is frequently noted for excellence by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Artists who have visited include Isaac Bashevis Singer, Allen Ginsberg, Saul Bellow, Stanley Kunitz, Seamus Heaney, Michael Dirda, Lucille Clifton, Edna O'Brien, Edward Albee, Taylor Branch, Germaine Bree, Frank Conroy, Garrison Keillor, WS Merwin, Mark Strand, Swedish poet Thomas Transtromer and Iranian poet and author Reza Baraheni.

HoCoPoLitSo also sponsors a poet-in-residence at 11 Howard County public schools and produces The Writing Life, a local cable television series from Howard Community College's HCCTV.

On May 6, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World and Lost in the City, will give a public reading at Howard Community College in Columbia. For more information, call 410-772-4568.

The poet laureate for the state of Maryland, Michael Glaser, will be the poet-in-residence for each of the Howard County high schools before the end of the school year.

HoCoPoLitSo also has produced more than 75 editions of The Writing Life, which are available on videocassette. About four to six shows are produced annually, and air on cable television stations in five Maryland counties and in Baltimore. Each 30-minute show runs for a month. This month, poet Gwendolyn Brooks is featured.

When events require tickets, they are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to HoCoPoLitSo, ILB 239, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia 21044, or by calling 410-772-4568.

Arts grants

The Columbia Foundation, 10227 Wincopin Circle, Suite G15, Columbia. Information: 410-730-7840, or www.columbia

Founded in 1969 by James W. Rouse, the Columbia Foundation is a community organization that supports new and existing services and programs, including human services, educational programs, community affairs and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.

Grants are awarded in two cycles. In the fall, operating grants are allocated for such expenses as rent and telephone service. Project funding is set in the spring. Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-2787; or

Local arts organizations short on funds often turn to the Howard County Arts Council. The council was established in 1981 by grass-roots activists and local artists to foster the arts and arts organizations.

The council was designated as the fiscal agent for county government funds for the arts in 1984. It manages four grant programs and for the 2005 fiscal year distributed more than $315,000 to 41 arts and cultural organizations, including Rep Stage, Candlelight Concert Society and the Columbia Orchestra.

For information and application information, contact the arts council or visit its Web site. The deadline to receive funding in 2006 for the community arts development grant program is May 4, and the deadline for the Artists-in-Education program, which gives money to local PTAs to bring artists to schools, is June 8.

Visual arts

Artists' Gallery 10227 Wincopin Circle, Columbia. Information: 410-740-8249.

Artists' Gallery is a cooperative that showcases the works of its members.

Instead of open monthly shows, artists are chosen by a jury and become members. They are entitled to bring in one to two pieces each month that are guaranteed to be displayed. Typically, one or two members are featured each month, with works from the other members also on display. Sometimes an invited guest is featured.

Members pay $30 a month to hang their work, plus $120 in annual membership dues. The gallery receives a 20 percent commission on each piece sold.

Because the members run the gallery, they take turns staffing the facility.

The show changes every month with a reception to launch the exhibit.

Most member artists live in Columbia, but they come from as far away as Anne Arundel County. Their works include paintings, photographs, fire-brushed and embossed copper, watercolors, acrylics, oils and pastels, stained glass and painted furniture.

Through Friday, Jing Jy Chen of Laurel will showcase her Oriental brush paintings.

From March 28 through April 29, Debbie Hoeper's watercolors will be on display. A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 1. From May 2 to 27, the gallery will feature an exhibit of Sheila DeLaquil's watercolors. A reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 6. All receptions are free.

From May 30 through July 1, the gallery will highlight the painted furniture and oil paintings of Kelmie Snider and the pastels of Barbara Steinacker. A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 3. Slayton House Gallery Wilde Lake Village Green, Columbia. Information: 410- 730-3987.

Slayton House Gallery has been operating since at least 1979, in coordination with the Howard County Center for the Arts and under the direction of the Wilde Lake Village Board.

The gallery, reopened in March 2004 after renovation, has improved lighting and hanging systems. Most of the art displayed in the gallery hangs on the wall, but sculptures also are occasionally featured.

Through April 16, the Baltimore Watercolor Society will show its work. April 21 to May 14 will feature the works of Mary Marple and Marita Gebhardt, both watercolorists. From May 19 through June 11, Bill Stromberg will show his oils and watercolors, and Andrei Trach will show oils. Columbia Art Center 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia. Information: 410-730-0075.

The Columbia Art Center serves as Columbia's community art center.

It offers art through classes, exhibits, lectures, gallery sales, equipment and space rental.

Classes for beginners through advanced artists are available for students as young as 6, and are offered in subjects that include ceramics, painting and drawing, photography, stained glass, tai chi and jewelry design.

The 30-year-old center also offers workshops and a summer arts camp for first through eighth grades.

Classes run from five to 10 weeks. Sessions are quarterly: fall, winter, spring and summer.

The center also has two galleries, the Main Gallery and Window Gallery, which exhibit the works of local, regional and national artists.

Through March 27, the Main Gallery is featuring the Western Maryland Potters and the Window Gallery is holding a student and faculty clay exhibition.

From April 7 through May 8, a faculty and student exhibition will feature works in all media, including glass, fibers, ceramics, paintings, photography, sculpture and jewelry. The Howard County Art Guild Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-730-6257.

The Howard County Art Guild, founded in 1993, is an organization of artists who meet every other month at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City.

It conducts workshops to promote the works of local visual artists.

To help aspiring artists get a taste of what it is like to be professional, the guild sponsors three annual judged shows.

The guild presents continuing shows at Barnes & Noble in the Long Gate shopping center in Ellicott City and Riverside Roastery in Dobbin Center, Columbia. The art changes every one or two months.

Guild meetings are held at the Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of odd-numbered months. Meetings feature artists or speakers who discuss a topic of relevance to the art world.

The next Howard County Art Guild meeting is scheduled for March 28.


Columbia Festival of the Arts 5575 Sterrett Place, Columbia. Information: 410-715-3044, or

Founded in 1988 as a local grass-roots effort, the Columbia Festival of the Arts is the region's biggest extravaganza, showcasing national and international performers and drawing an average of 35,000 festivalgoers to its indoor and outdoor events.

The program blends headliners, rising stars and cutting-edge performers in a variety of theatrical programs and master classes. Recent performers have included Aretha Franklin, Marcel Marceau, Bobby McFerrin, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Washington Ballet, Israel's Haifa Festival Orchestra and Mikhael Baryshnikov.

This year, the festival will be held June 10-19 in various venues throughout Columbia. Sunset Serenades Centennial Park South, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-7275. Text telephone for the hearing-impaired: 410-313-4665. Inclement weather information: 410- 313-4451.

Sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, and corporate sponsors since the early 1990s, 10 concerts are offered at 7 p.m. Wednesdays beginning in mid-June at Centennial Park South in Ellicott City.

Acts have included swing, country, jazz, blues, reggae and classical music, plus comedy and at least one children's performance.

Concerts typically draw 800 to 1,000 people a week. Audiences bring picnic dinners and lawn chairs or blankets. Part of the terrain is on a hillside overlooking Centennial Lake. Lakefront Summer Festival Columbia Town Center Lakefront. Information and inclement weather cancellation: 877-713-9674.

Whether it's to listen to a bluegrass band or watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, audiences flock to the Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival.

Every year, from late June through early September, the Columbia Association sponsors free entertainment nightly at the Town Center lakefront.

The free events include performances of jazz, rock 'n' roll, bluegrass, country, rhythm and blues, honky-tonk and Western swing. In addition to live musical performances, the festival features movies, free dance instruction and line dancing. Sunday concerts begin at 6:30 p.m., and all other nights they begin at 8 p.m.

A complete schedule is printed in the June edition of CA Monthly. Howard County Arts Council Performing Arts Showcase Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-2787; or

For two days each year, artists from the Mid-Atlantic area have eight minutes each to audition to perform at Howard County schools and for organizations and festivals.

The showcasing artists are selected by a panel that reviews the applications. The showcase is an opportunity for the PTAs, libraries, senior centers and other organizations to decide whether they want to hire the performers for workshops, performances, demonstrations and in-school residences. This year's auditions were held earlier this month. Celebration of the Arts in Howard County Howard County Arts Council. Information: 410-313-2787; or

The Howard County Arts Council celebrates the arts with an annual gala that features visual, performing and culinary artists.

The Celebration of the Arts in Howard County will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 16 at Jim Rouse Theatre in Columbia. Tickets are $75 and $50. The reception, featuring a jazz band, silent auction and treats from local restaurants, will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and performances will start at 8 p.m.

The gala usually raises about $70,000. About $30,000 goes to grant programs, while the balance helps support outreach such as Head Start artists in education programs and the Fabulous 50+ Players, a musical program for seniors.

The four-hour, black-tie-optional event draws 700 to 800 people. It kicks off with a reception and silent auction of 80 works of art. About 24 restaurants in Howard County and nearby areas donate food.

Changing entertainment features local artists or arts groups performing on the Main Street Stage from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the reception. This year, the gala will present a "Rising Star" competition at 8 p.m.

The council auditioned performers ages 18 to 35 for the competition. The nine finalists will perform onstage and the audience will select the winner, who will be awarded a $5,000 professional development grant.

Dance Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center Information: Xiao Fang Xu, director, 410-381-0270 or www.

For a sample of Asian culture, go no farther than the Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center. Based in Columbia, the center includes a dance school and a performing arts troupe.

Classes are taught at Atholton High School, the east Columbia library and the Ballet Academy in Beltsville. Hua Sha, which means Chinese, was founded in 1996 by Xiao Fang Xu, the center's director and choreographer, who has danced for more than 40 years.

Born in Shanghai, Xu trained at the Shanghai Dance School in China, specializing in ballet, Chinese classical and folk dance. She danced in 15 countries for the Arts Delegation of China and was one of the dancers who welcomed President Richard M. Nixon during his first state visit to China.

In 1985, Xu attended Ohio State University as a visiting scholar and taught at Brigham Young University, then settled in Columbia in 1993.

The touring company has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Walters Art Museum and Artscape in Baltimore, the Dance Festival sponsored by the Maryland Council for the Arts, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and at Asian Pacific festivals.

The company often appears at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for the Asian Heritage Festival. It will offer a program of Chinese dance and music at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Jim Rouse Theatre.

Arts centers

Eva Anderson Dancers LTD Studio is at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, and office is at 5452 High Tor Hill, Columbia, 21045. Information: 410-997-3899.

Eva Anderson Dancers LTD is a regional company that has performed throughout the state, nationally and internationally.

The company incorporates classical modern, classical ballet and classical African-American dance in its works. Modern and ballroom dancing are also taught to the public.

The company has received numerous awards for excellence from many organizations, including the Maryland State Arts Council, Abell Foundation, Choice Hotels International, and Bell Atlantic Foundation.

Founded in 1974 as the Baltimore Dance Theater under the auspices of a neighborhood parents club, it was an after-school program for inner-city youth at Dunbar High School in Baltimore.

After the company incorporated as a nonprofit group in 1980, Anderson became director.

In residence at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, the company established an annual season of six to eight concerts that are performed at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Jim Rouse Theatre. The repertoire includes choreography by Anderson and dance artists Rod Rogers, Eleo Pamare, Elizabeth Keen, Yuli Vazouif, Blondell Cummings and Lourdes Bastos.

The company also performs commissioned works by renowned composers. The group has toured in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Germany, Austria and Italy. The 31st season of the company will begin with a performance at 4 p.m. April 10 at the Jim Rouse Theatre.

Tickets are $15. Group discounts are available. Howard County Ballet 3240 Corporate Court, Suite E, Ellicott City. Information: 410-465-8233, or www.howard

The Howard County Ballet was established in 1995, and is a nonprofit regional ballet organization that offers performing and master class opportunities for youth and adult dancers. Performances include guest artists and students. The company conducts open auditions for dancers in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Based at Aesthetics dance studio, the ballet performs one winter and one spring production each year, plus a children's concert in the fall. The spring production in 2005 will be Hansel and Gretel at the Jim Rouse Theatre in Wilde Lake on May 21 and 22.

The Nutcracker is usually presented shortly before Christmas at the Jim Rouse Theatre. Since 1998, the company has performed with its own orchestra. Led by musical director David Zajic, the Howard County Ballet Orchestra is a community organization formed to support the dance company. Dance Dimension Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Green, Columbia. Information: 410-730-3987, or 301- 490-0252.

Dance Dimension is the resident dance company of Slayton House in Columbia.

Founded by award-winning dance educator Marilyn Byers in 1982, the school is an outgrowth of the Howard County Gifted and Talented Dance Program that she designed to meet the needs of the youth.

Dance Dimension's school of modern dance includes a mini-company, apprentice group and a performance company. The mini-company teaches elementary school-age children the fundamentals in dance technique.

The apprentice group is for middle school pupils and the performance company is geared for high school and college students.

In 2001, Byers premiered FreeFall, a professional dance company of Dance Dimension alumni, local professionals and national dance luminaries.

FreeFall has performed at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland.

Byers, who is also artistic director of the Johns Hopkins Dance Company, was awarded a Kennedy Center Medal for Excellence in the Arts and Education in 1987. In 1993, Gov. William Donald Schaefer designated Dance Dimension as cultural ambassador for the state.

Dance Dimension presents two annual community performances in Howard County and performs at elementary schools in the Baltimore-Washington area. Ballet with Cindee Velle Long Reach Community Association, Long Reach Village Center, Columbia. Information: 410-465-7674, www.cindeevelle

Lessons, competitions and performances are all on the schedule at Ballet with Cinde Velle.

Lessons are offered in ballet, tap and jazz, for age 3 to adult.

Performance opportunities include student concerts, competition teams and the Columbia Chamber Ballet, which is the school's resident company.

The company performs locally and is known for its annual Nutcracker performances. The ballet company performs eight to 10 performances on three weekends in December of excerpts from The Nutcracker in a 45-minute traveling production.

A new session of dance classes for age 3 through adult will begin April 4. The school will hold its annual student dance concert June 10 and 11 at Smith Theatre at Howard Community College in Columbia. Tickets are $12 for orchestra seating, $11 for mezzanine, and a $1 discount for seniors and students. Summer sessions of dance classes for age 3 through adult begin June 13. A three-week dance camp for grades 1 through 8 will begin Aug. 1.


Toby's Dinner Theatre 5900 Symphony Woods Road, Columbia. Information: 410-730-8311, 800-88TOBYS, or

For more than three decades, Toby Orenstein has combined her theatrical and education training to create a string of theatrical organizations in Columbia that entertain as well as educate. She is the founder of Toby's Dinner Theatre, the nonprofit Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, the Young Columbians and the Labels Project.

Every year since Toby's has been eligible, the theater has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Awards based in Washington - amassing 29 nominations. Recently, Orenstein was inducted into the Howard County Women's Hall of Fame and honored as one of 16 women who changed the face of theater in the Baltimore area.

Toby's Dinner Theatre has 5,300 subscribers, with patrons from across the United States who have attended Toby's as members of tourist groups. The dinner theater's regular customer base is from Maryland, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Toby's scheduled performances through 2005 are: Beauty and the Beast, now through July 3; Grease, July 7 through Sept. 4; Aida, Sept. 5 through Nov. 20; and Mame, Nov. 24 through Feb. 19, 2006. In addition, the musical Seussical, based on Dr. Seuss characters, will be performed on selected summer dates.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees Wednesday and Sunday. Doors open at 6 p.m. for evening shows, 5 p.m. Sunday and 10:30 a.m. for matinees. Tickets range from $25.50 to $44. Group rates and subscriptions are available.

Orenstein, who attended New York's High School of the Performing Arts, graduated from Columbia University with a degree in theater and a minor in education. In 1970, she founded Columbia Center of Theatrical Arts, a nonprofit children's acting school and summer camp that boasts movie actor Edward Norton as an alumnus. The school is now called Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts.

Theatrical Arts Productions, an arm of Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, produces shows for school field trips presented at various theatrical venues.

Participating schools are from Baltimore City and Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Productions include Ben Carson, M.D., an autobiography of the Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric neurosurgeon; Number the Stars; Holes; Goldilocks; and Three Billy Pigs Gruff.

After each production, actors return to the stage for a forum with the audience.

Toby's also hosts summer performing arts camps each year. This year, three-week sessions run from June 20 to July 8 at Glenelg Country School and from July 25 to Aug. 12 at Reservoir High School. A two-week session will be held at Glenelg on July 11 to 22. The two Glenelg classes are for students ages 6 to 11. The program at Reservoir is for 12- to 18-year-olds. At the end of each camp session, students put on performances. Rep Stage Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Box office: 410- 772-4900. Information: 410-772- 4900, or

Rep Stage is an award-winning professional theater company in residence at Howard Community College, performing familiar and obscure works. The company has been nominated 35 times for Helen Hayes Awards, and has won six times.

The company was founded in 1993 by Valerie Lash, artistic director and producer; Kasi Campbell, associate artistic director; and Robert Marietta, production manager. Rep Stage draws audience members from Baltimore, Washington and Virginia.

The college is building a new Visual and Performing Arts Instructional Building, which will include a designated performing arts space. The state-of-the-art building will connect to the Smith Theatre, which Rep Stage also uses.

Rep Stage performances are funded in part through grants from the Columbia Foundation, the Howard County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council and individual and corporate donations. Howard County Summer Theatre Information: Marla Blasko, president: 410-461-3830.

Howard County Summer Theatre, the second-oldest community theater in the county, is as much renowned for its family atmosphere as for the splashy musical it produces each summer at a high school.

HCST was founded in 1975 when three women - Elise Best, Jean Grennan and Hazel Philbrick - approached Mo Dutterer, then a music and drama teacher at Dunloggin Middle School in Ellicott City, about starting a musical theater group so their three teens would have something to do during the summer.

They recruited Dutterer to direct, sent out audition notices and presented Guys and Dolls. Since then, HCST has evolved into a theatrical company made up of participants with a wide range of ages and talents.

Each summer, about 150 people from Howard, Carroll and Baltimore counties join the production team onstage and behind the scenes. Productions such as Fiddler on the Roof and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat had more than 100 cast members. The director is Tom Sankey, director of the drama program at Mount Hebron High School.

HCST puts on one production each summer. Details of the 2005 production are not set, but it will be an ambitious multigenerational musical production, said Marla Blasko, organization president.

The 2004 show raised $5,000; half went to Grassroots, a Howard County crisis intervention center, and half went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Audition information: 410-465-8623. Drama Learning Center 9130 Red Branch Road, Columbia. Information: 410-997-9352,

Drama Learning Center, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, offers classes and workshops in all facets of the performing arts. Students can perform at the center's fully equipped theater, which has seating for 100.

All ages and abilities are welcome, with performances including students as young as 3.

The center recently teamed up with Mo Dutterer, founder of the adult acting company Shadow Block Productions. Dutterer has been teaching, performing and directing in Howard County for three decades.

This is the second season for Shadow Block. Violet, directed by Dutterer, will be presented April 28, 29 and 30, and May 1, 5 and 6. All shows start at 8 p.m. except the May 1 show, which will start at 2 p.m.


Howard County Center of African-American Culture 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia. Information: 410- 715-1921.

With nearly 300 artifacts, Howard County Center of African-American Culture in Columbia includes a museum exhibition of African-American history in Howard County and of the families who lived there.

The 26,000-square-foot facility also houses a cultural center and library highlighting the contributions of African-Americans in Maryland and elsewhere.

The museum is divided into several rooms to resemble an African-American home in Howard County from the 1850s to 1920s: parlor, kitchen, dining room and back porch. Each room is filled with furnishings and artifacts of that era, including an ironing board more than a century old; four butter churns; and an armoire with a shawl and top hat that belonged to the Snowdens, who owned an African-American funeral parlor. The oldest piece is an 1850s wicker wheelchair.

The cultural center includes a collectibles room, a music room, sports and military room and gift shop. The collectibles room includes memorabilia of African-Americans; African-American inventions and a stamp collection showcasing African-Americans; and an art gallery with about 50 prints and paintings. A music room features posters, instruments and recordings of spirituals and jazz.

In 2003, the center moved many of its books to Howard Community College. More than 5,000 books are at the new library, which is on the second floor of the library building at 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. The children's library and the adult and children's rare book collections remain at the center. The rare books, including early editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as works by African-American authors, can be used for research upon request.

Half of the collection belongs to Wylene Burch, who established the museum in 1987. She began collecting in 1963 while living on a military base in Berlin, where her husband was stationed.

The center's first home was at the Historical Society of Ellicott City in 1989. After several moves, the center relocated in 1996 to the Red Cross Building in Columbia.

The center also founded the Howard County African-American Artist Alliance, which meets at the center quarterly. Members display their art in a free annual exhibit in June at Howard Community College.

The center conducts children's programs twice a year. "Heritage of Excellence," for middle school pupils, focuses on the history of African-Americans. Classes meet Saturdays for eight weeks from January to March and from September to November. The program includes five weeks of theory and three weeks of field trips. The fee is $30.

The center also features the talents of Howard County children, ages 6 to 12, in an annual talent show. This year's show will be presented April 16 at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre.

The center conducts the Bookends book club at 7 p.m. the second Monday of every month. Each December, the center celebrates Kwanzaa with music, dancing and storytelling.

An annual anniversary celebration is held at Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center and is open to the public. This year, it is scheduled for May 1. Tickets are $150 per person.

Two Howard County citizens are honored for their service to the community.

The center is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday; and Sunday by appointment. The research library at HCC is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The research library is free. Tickets for the center are $3, $2 for children 6 to 16, and free for children younger than 6.


Columbia Pro Cantare For tickets, write to Columbia Pro Cantare, 12339 Pleasant View Drive, Fulton, 20759. For information: 410-799-9321, 301-854-0107, or

Columbia Pro Cantare, Columbia's chorus, was established in 1977 by artistic director Frances Motyca Dawson.

Its first concert was in 1977 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Goucher College. Since then, Pro Cantare has performed vocal and choral compositions from the 10th to the 21st centuries. It has included Czech, Hungarian and Polish music, and continues to perform music of different ethnic origins.

The chorus presented a concert of Jewish music two years ago, a concert of African-American music last year and will perform a concert of Irish music in May. Concerts range from oratorio and opera to show tunes and spirituals.

The chorus has performed in venues ranging from the opening of the Inner Harbor in 1980 to the 80th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia at the National Cathedral in Washington - at the request of the Czech Embassy.

Pro Cantare also produced the musical celebration of Columbia's 20th anniversary, "Hail Columbia," which featured Columbia founder James W. Rouse narrating Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Pro Cantare has 135 choral members, from teens through seniors, from Howard and nearby counties, as well as Baltimore City. They rehearse at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Hammond High School in Columbia. For events that include the full chorus, professional soloists and an orchestra are hired.

In 1995, the company added the Columbia Pro Cantare Chamber Singers, a smaller ensemble of about 24 vocalists who can sing works that are too complex for a larger chorus and with more flexibility for performing in smaller venues.

The Columbia Pro Cantare performance season runs from September through May. A free lecture usually is held before each Howard County concert.

Each year, generally on the first Sunday in December, Pro Cantare presents Handel's Messiah. This year's concert is scheduled for Dec. 4 at the Jim Rouse Theatre.

The May 7 concert, called JazzMaster, will feature the choral music of Dave Brubeck. It will be begin at 8 p.m. in the Jim Rouse Theatre. The Oct. 29 concert, a succession of glorias, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., also at the Jim Rouse Theatre.

The cost is $23 for general admission, and $20 for seniors and students. The cost is $16 each for a group of 10 people or more. Sundays at Three Chamber Music Series Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia. Information: 410-381-5773, 410-730-8206, or

Sundays at Three originated in 1996 as an offshoot of the defunct chamber group Music in Common to perpetuate the vision of the chamber group's founder, cellist Daniel Malkin, that local talent should be appreciated.

Music in Common had been performing in Columbia when the Rev. Jim Shields, then pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, offered Malkin use of the sanctuary.

The Columbia church had been designed to present music and small dramas when it was built in 1993.

Sundays at Three presented its first concert in 1996 with violinist Hilary Hahn. The church seats 250 in the sanctuary.

Eight concerts are presented each year, from September through May. Concerts are held at 3 p.m. Sundays.

The organization pays the church a nominal fee for the facility and piano.

Before each piece, the musicians talk about the music they will play. After the show, they mingle with the audience over refreshments.

On April 24, the All-BSO String Ensemble will explore folk traditions in the string quartet with Ellen Pendleton Troyer on violin, Ivan Stefanovic on violin, Christian Colberg on viola and Dariusz Skoracewski on cello.

The May 26 concert, "Sweet Sixteen," will feature music composed by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn when they were 16. Musicians will be Ronald Mutchnik, Clay Purdy, Lisa Vaupel and Celeste BlasM-i on violins; Julius Wirth and Jackie Capecci on violas; and Kerena Moeller and Kiersten Walsh playing cello.

Tickets are $15, and $10 for students. Students younger than 18 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Candlelight Concert Society 8726 Town and Country Blvd., Suite 102, Ellicott City. Information: 410-480-9950, or

Candlelight Concert Society offers a mix of programs for classical music enthusiasts, as well as a Performing Arts Series for Children.

The society presents a series of nine chamber music concerts by professional, world-class ensembles. In 1978, Candlelight Concerts added a recital series. Its music season, from October through May, includes nine chamber music concerts.

The organization expanded its activities in 1997 and implemented a Community Outreach Concert Program of "mini-concerts" brought to Howard County schools, hospitals, nursing facilities and assisted-living residences.

Visiting artists also perform.

On April 9, the society will present the Onyx Brass Quintet. On April 30, the American Chamber Players will perform.

Concert tickets are $29, $26 for seniors, and $12 for full-time students 24 and younger. Tickets for the Performing Arts Series for Children are $9 per performance. Shows in the children's series are held at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Smith Theatre on the Howard Community College Campus and are about 50 minutes. They are not recommended for children younger than 4. The Columbia Orchestra P.O. Box 2323, Columbia 21045. Information: 410-381-2004, or

The Columbia Orchestra is a volunteer community group formed in 1977 by about 20 string players as the Columbia Chamber Orchestra. It performed the first year without a music director. In its second year, the group enlisted Yong Ku Ahn, a Peabody Conservatory violin professor who lived in Columbia, to direct. He led the ensemble for 10 years, until his retirement in 1988.

After Ahn retired, the board decided to expand to a full-size orchestra with wind and brass players. The orchestra hired a part-time director and invited wind and brass players to join.

A symphonic pops concert at 7:30 p.m. April 9 at the Jim Rouse Theatre will feature music from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and some of the Beatles' greatest hits. A concert at 7:30 p.m. June 4 will feature the Columbia Orchestra's second 2005 American Composer Competition winner.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $5 for full-time students. Columbia Concert Band Information: Roger Lark, president: 410-465-7862, or

Founded in 1983, the 85-member nonprofit community Columbia Concert Band includes engineers, professors, students, homemakers and former military band musicians.

In 1989, the band expanded and formed the Columbia Jazz Band. The two groups perform nearly 25 concerts a year. Concerts are free, and most are performed in Howard County.

Both bands perform annual formal concerts in the winter and spring, plus a string of smaller shows. Band members range in age from high school students to seniors in their 80s.

The Columbia Concert Band's repertoire includes traditional concert pieces, from marches by John Philip Sousa to the works of 20th-century composers such as Percy Granger, who arranged several pieces for concert bands.

The band also plays show-tune medleys for its summer performances. Led by music director Michael Blackman, a music teacher in Howard County schools, the concert band will perform its annual free spring concert in early June. Every May, the concert band plays at HCC's commencement.

HCC students who play in the band earn college credit. The band also sponsors a Concert for Young People in the fall. During the one-hour performance of Disney medleys and light marches, the director showcases each section of the concert band. After the program, youngsters may go onstage and talk to band members.

During the summer, the concert band performs at the Columbia Lakefront Concert Series and at Centennial Park's Sunset Serenade concerts. In addition, the band will sponsor a Maryland Community Band Day on July 31 at the lakefront.

The band also has performed at Community Band Day, which features performances by Maryland community concert bands.

The band presents its annual winter concert in December. In 1995, the concert band performed several concerts with Phileutonia, a symphonic band from the Netherlands, around the state and at Baltimore's Inner Harbor to commemorate July 4. The next year, 63 band members played with Phileutonia in the Netherlands.

The jazz band has about 35 members. Directed by Pete BarenBregge, a former saxophone-flute soloist and former director of the Air Force's Airmen of Note, the jazz band performs two formal concerts during the year and many informal programs in Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

Rehearsals are held Mondays at Hammond Middle School in Laurel. The Columbia Concert Band rehearses from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Columbia Jazz Band rehearses from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Film series

Marvelous Movies and More Slayton House Theatre, Wilde Lake Village. Bernice Kish, gallery director and village manager. Information: 410-730-3987.

Marvelous Movies and More is a classic movie series at Slayton House in Columbia. In its 13th year, it offers an array of classic movies from the 1920s through the 1950s.

They include comedies, dramas, Westerns, musicals, foreign films and silent movies. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. Each film is followed by a 30-minute audience discussion led by guest presenters. There is also a dessert buffet.

The series was founded by Bernice Kish, Wilde Lake Village manager, and David Pierce, who was moderator for the discussions for nine years before moving to London, where he is curator of the National Film and Television Archive at the British Film Institute. Film historian Mike Giuliano is the moderator.

The program for each season runs from September through June. Each program features nine films and includes silent movies, accompanied by pianist Ray Brubacher of the American Film Institute. On April 15, the film will be The Thin Man, with William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Admission is $7 per film, and $6 for senior citizens and students.

The organization holds about seven puppet shows a season for children, called the Rainbow Theatre, also at the Slayton House Theatre. Each show is about an hour long, and the cost is $4.25 in advance, $5.25 at the door, and discounted for groups. On April 22, Barry Louis Polisar will present a "concert based on delightful books." On May 13, Carousel Puppets will present Yankee Doodle Revue. Shows are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. Columbia Film Society Information: Helen Ruther, treasurer: 410-730-7261.

The Columbia Film Society was founded in 1968, when there were no movie theaters in Columbia. The founders wanted to see foreign films, so they created their own venue. The society shows foreign films and documentaries at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre. A third showing was added to the monthly presentation about five years ago, and organizers still must turn people away.

Tickets may only be purchased by subscription, which costs $35 for nine art films. The series runs from September through June. Showings are one weekend each month at 8:30 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The society has about 1,200 subscribers.

About 200 people came for the first showing of the Japanese art film Yojimbo. The group moved from Bryant Woods Elementary School to Slayton House, before it began renting space at HCC in 1980.

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