This year's fundraiser for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society had an added kick. During the cocktail hour at the Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, the air was abuzz with excitement over Mark Nadler, this year's featured performer at "A Ruby Cabaret." Nadler is known for his own personal brand of zippiness.
"Mark is one of the nicest guys in the business. He's also very funny. He's one of the great personalities in the music business," said Tom Hall, BCA music director, as he and BCA executive director Linda Moxley greeted guests.
"He's going to be high-energy fun. He's one of those who can play piano backwards and tap-dance," added Ellen Bernard, BCA board president.
Sure enough, during his rendition of "Mr. Bojangles," Nadler did indeed break into a tap dance — while singing and playing piano.
The crowd was wowed. "And I thought last year was amazing," said Steve Schwartzman, of the law firm of Hodes, Pessin & Katz.
There was no disagreement among the guests, who included longtime BCA supporters such as board members Arnold Paskoff, Richard Dellheim and Peter Savage, community volunteer Terry Morgenthaler and MPT personality Rhea Feikin. Meanwhile, first-time guests like Cover Girl Cosmetics brand manager Dan Karches, Coldwell Banker associate broker David Wilson, and his wife, Bijoux Inspired Jewels sales associate Claudia Wilson, were hooked.
"I'm a groupie now. He was fantastic," said Arts Consulting Group vice president Lee Kappelman, fellow Ruby Cabaret first-timer.
As Nadler chatted with audience members after the show, he confessed he was a groupie of a certain Baltimorean, Duff Goldman.
"I was the first person in New York to throw a 'bark mitzvah' for my [late] dog. Now I have another one. And in two years, I'm giving a 'bark mitzvah' for him — with a cake from Charm City Cakes."
Sloane Brown may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.