Some say Senate Minority Leader Jack Cade plays the upper house likea Stradivarius. Now, he will get a chance to lead the whole orchestra. Not the General Assembly. A real orchestra.
Tomorrow night, theBear of Severna Park will be the guest conductor for the Anne Arundel Community College Orchestra during a benefit concert and reception called, "A Night in Vienna."
Cade, a fifth-term senator from District 33, may be best known for devouring bureaucrats during state budget hearings.
But the 61-year-old Republican will lead the 59-member orchestra through the "Radetzky March," a New Year's favorite in Vienna, shortly before intermission Saturday.
"It's probably a safe one to use for a guest conductor," said Cade, who has taken music and piano lessons at the college for several years. "They can bang away for three minutes and get itright no matter what I do up there."
Asked about the contrast between his image as a blustering State House bully and that of a cultured musician, he said: "What, you mean p----- can't like music?"
The sold-out concert at the college's Pascal Center for Performing Artsis part of a fund-raising campaign for the Music Department. The performance will include pieces by the Strauss family, and selections from "The Merry Widow," "Die Fledermaus" and"The Sound of Music."
College officials said yesterday that the campaign had exceeded their $10,000 goal, raising $11,500 so far.
The Anne Arundel Community College Foundation set out to raise $10,000 to purchase the school's first soundproof practice room for music students.
Janice Macauley,director of the Music Department, said students currently practice in hallways and empty classrooms. That is distracting not only for themusicians but for students in other classes as well.
Macauley said the tight budgets adopted by the state and county governments prompted the college to launch the "Keynote Campaign."
"In a sense, I guess the Music Department is lucky it has space at this point," Cade said. "Practice rooms and other equipment you can't always get through the budget."
School fund-raisers said they will continue the campaign though they reached the initial goal. The school needs at leastfive practice rooms, music computers and new instruments, they said.
Cade, who spurned piano lessons as a child only to renew his interest in middle age, said he agreed to conduct only as a way to garnerpublicity for the fund-raising effort.
"I would prefer to see more publicity given to the orchestra and concert rather than anything about me," said Cade, a real estate consultant. "I think the orchestrais kind of a unique blend of the Anne Arundel County citizenry.
"They are not all students; there are doctors, teachers and other professionals. All walks of people from different walks of life, coming together in a community orchestra."
Macauley said Cade "has really taken the project under his wing. We asked him to conduct as a way ofthanking him. So this is his conducting debut."
Could this be theharbinger of new career?
"He's an excellent student," said Macauley, who gave Cade a "quickie" lesson on conducting. But "I don't think the state will want him to quit his day job."