Elly Tillis, left, the captain of the Marriotts Ridge senior dance company, will be studying this summer with Alicia Graf-Mack, an alumna of Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland, in Columbia.
Elly Tillis, left, the captain of the Marriotts Ridge senior dance company, will be studying this summer with Alicia Graf-Mack, an alumna of Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland, in Columbia. (Submitted photo)

Last month, the Marriotts Ridge High School music department competed against high schools from across the country in the Fiesta-Val Music Festival in Myrtle Beach, S.C. They returned home with a record 38 awards!

Following is a list of the ensemble awards, where "Superior" designates the highest possible rating, and "Excellent" designates the second highest:


String Orchestra: first place with a Superior rating; String Ensemble: first place with an Excellent rating; Symphonic Band: first place with a Superior rating; Concert Band: first place with an Excellent rating; Percussion Ensemble: second place with a Superior rating; Big Band Jazz: first place with a Superior rating; Jazz Combo: first place with a Superior rating; Mustang Chorale: first place with a Superior rating; Madrigals: first place with a Superior rating; Women's Ensemble: first place with a Superior rating; Men's Barbershop: first place with a Superior rating.

Additionally, Marriotts Ridge earned Champion status for the jazz, treble choir, mixed chorus, and concert band/wind ensemble divisions, and Grand Champion status for both the choral and instrumental divisions.

We're not done yet! The brass section, rhythm section, and first violins all earned Outstanding Section awards, and the following individuals received recognition for Outstanding Solo Performances: Woojin Han (violin), Hannah Moock (violin), James Martinson (jazz trumpet), Avery Reidy (jazz guitar), Philip Romano (jazz alto sax), Jonah Sengupta (jazz tenor sax), Brian Warsaw (trumpet), Mimi Rinaldi (French horn and vocal solo), Bethany Henderson (choral accompanist, vocal solo choir and vocal solo band), Aileen Amador (vocal solo), Brian Gilbert (vocal solo) and Anna Rimlinger (vocal solo).

Finally, each of the Marriotts Ridge music directors — Rosemary Lather (orchestra), Nick Ellis (band) and Terry Eberhardt (choral) — earned an Award of Distinction for a Notable Contribution to Music Education.

What an impressive showing. Kudos to the entire Marriotts Ridge music department.

Speaking of well-deserved recognition, Elly Tillis, the captain of the Marriotts Ridge senior dance company, was selected this year as an all-state dancer. Elly auditioned in January and became one of 25 Maryland students to perform last month in front of Fine Arts Coordinators and Supervisors from across the state. Selection for this prestigious group indicates a high level of technical and artistic achievement, strong leadership qualities and a passion for dance as an art form.

Elly has studied dance for more than 12 years and hopes to make it her career. She takes classes in contemporary, lyrical, tap, jazz, theater, and ballet styles of dance and has also auditioned and been accepted into summer "intensives" at the American Academy of Ballet in New York City, Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, and Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

This summer, she will study with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in New York City. Elly's dedication extends to her schoolwork, too. Despite her busy schedule, she still maintains gold honor roll status at Marriotts Ridge.

Great job, Elly, and best of luck in realizing your dreams.

The Marriotts Ridge High School dance program will present its spring concert in the school auditorium Thursday and Friday, May 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $8 at the door. Students have choreographed all of the numbers, which reflect the theme "Hang up and Dance." The show's finale will center around cell phones.

For more information, call dance director Patricia Spruill at 410-313-5573.

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13 and the best gift may be one that is non-material or handmade — or both! Dads and other loved ones can treat mom twice by bringing the kids to the Howard County Conservancy for a "Fresh Bouquet and Card Making" Wonder Walk on Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m. Mom receives a little time to herself, plus a touching card or bouquet crafted by her child's own hands.

All Wonder Walks and Wonder Talks are free. For more information, go to http://www.hcconservancy.org, or call 410-465-8877. The address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Woodstock.

On May 19, the Glenelg High School Jazz Ensemble will hold its popular "Jazz Under the Stars" picnic and concert beginning at 5 p.m. at Chapel View Farm, 5640 Jennings Chapel Road, in Woodbine. This year's guest artist is Damon Foreman (www.damonforeman.net). Bring the whole family, plus lawn chairs or blankets, and prepare to experience the evening — a delicious catered dinner, a beautiful rural sunset, and of course, some foot-tapping, swingy jazz.


Tickets are available through Wednesday, May 16 and can be purchased online at http://www.instantseats.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.venue&VenueID=115. All proceeds will benefit the Glenelg Marching Unit. The cost is $30 for adults and $17 for children ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free.

Marriottsville, Sykesville, and Woodstock all have the distinction of falling within two counties, but Sykesville remains unusual because its historic Main Street area spans both Howard and Carroll Counties. Of course, the Howard side of Main Street is called "West Friendship Road," and it accesses South Branch Park, the site of the Sykesville Apple Butter Markets. Other Main Street events take place on the Carroll side of the river, with parking at South Branch. The two counties clearly maintain a healthy partnership.

Therefore, residents on both sides of the line can rejoice that Sykesville Main Street recently received 2012 National Trust Main Street Accreditation. In 1980, the National Trust Main Street Center was established through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help revitalize older, historic districts. Main Street communities can receive accreditation through this program if they meet 10 performance standards that demonstrate comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts. Sykesville Main Street has met these standards and thus boasts a healthy, thriving community. Congratulations!

Reminders this week are plentiful, so here are the highlights:

• The Preakness Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place at Turf Valley on Thursday and Friday, May 10 and 11 from 4 to 9 p.m. with balloon launches at 6:30 p.m. on the 10th, 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the 11th, and 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. Admission is free, and parking will be off-site at the Howard County Fairgrounds. Call 410-465-1500, ext. 2874 for more information, or go to http://www.turfvalley.com.

St. James United Methodist Church will host its annual "Spring Fling" on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 12470 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Marriottsville. The event includes a yard sale, a plant sale, and a bake sale, plus food and children's activities. Proceeds will support the annual Camp Hope youth mission trip.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, at 2892 Route 97 in Glenwood, will hold its Gigantic Benefit Yard Sale from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday the 12th and its Flower, Herb, and Vegetable Sale from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on both the 12th and 13th. Proceeds will benefit the annual Youth Pilgrimage.


• All Howard County residents are invited to share their thoughts on county matters at the first meeting of the Howard County Citizen's Association, scheduled for Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring, in Columbia. Go to howardcountyhcca.org/contact-us to learn more or leave a comment.

• Discounted registration for Marriotts Ridge High School summer camps ends Tuesday, May 15. Go to the Boosters Club website at http://www.mrhs-boosters.com to read about the camps or register online.

In closing, I'd like to extend Mother's Day greetings by sharing a humorous quote from author Peter De Vries: "A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once and by car forever after." Happy Mother's Day to all of the loving and busy moms in our community!