Grammy-winning high school jazz artist Michael Leonhart has ties to Baltimore

SYLVIA BADGER

March 04, 1992|By SYLVIA BADGER

You may have read that Michael Leonhart, a 17-year-old trumpet player, recently won the first-ever Grammy for Best High School Jazz Musician. What a great honor for Michael, the son of former Baltimorean and well-known jazz bass player Jay Leonhart, and the rest of his very musical family. His Michael's sister, 19-year-old Carolyn, is a college student and jazz vocalist who recently cut a record for distribution in Japan.

Their dad, Jay, a studio musician and writer who plays regularly at the Blue Note in New York City, grew up in Homeland and attended Loyola high school and college. He got his start playing with the Pier Five Dixieland Band, and since that time has played with many of the greats -- James Taylor, James Brown, Judy Garland, Carly Simon and Duke Ellington.

He comes to Baltimore often to visit his musical sister, Valerie Leonhart Smalkin, wife of federal Judge Fred Smalkin. Valerie and her partner, Pam Minor, are the KinderSingers.

As a matter of fact, the children's entertainers are performing at the St. James Academy in Monkton Friday evening for parents and their children, ages 3-10, who will come for dinner and the concert. Valerie's most popular prop is her Silly Goose puppet.

She also has some exciting news.On May 1, a cassette she wrote the music for, "Chadwick Sings: A Little Bay Music," is due to be released. It's based on the main character in the book "Chadwick, the Crab," which was written by Priscilla Cummings and will be sold with the tape.

*

After 12 1/2 years years as Baltimore County's executive director the Commission on Arts and Sciences, Lois Kahl Baldwin was nudged into retirement, thanks to budget cuts. For 11 of those years, Pam Forman was her secretary and it was Pam who decided to throw a going-away party for her longtime friend and boss.

Oregon Ridge was the perfect place, because Lois has spent many summer nights there overseeing "Music Under the Stars," the BSO summer concert series.

Lois greeted one and all in a snappy red dress that looked great with the lovely string of pearls and pearl earrings, given to her by those attending the party.

Nearby stood her beau, Dr. Gregg Rhodes, an Easton physician; her lunch bunch, Judy Sussman, Nancy Slaughter and Georgette Frederick; and her daughter Nancy Baldwin and Nancy's boy friend, Dick Deurer, an artist; stepmother Lucy Kahl; brothers Michael, Peter and Judge Chris Kahl, and his wife, Judy, and nephew, Christian H. Kahl II, and his wife, Margy.

Baldwin's life has had many facets and friends from all those facets were there -- Charles Robinson, Councilmen Mel Mintz and Doug Riley, Maurice and Betty Baldwin, Harvey and Jeanne Jones, Harriet Iglehart, Pat and Walt Purcell, Bob and Edwina Hunter and Al and Evelyn Matthews, who worked with her for years on the Sunday in the Park Festival, which they have every intention of doing again without the county's money and if Lois will agree to manage the event.

The music by Downtown Rhythm Express and Gamber Station, the latter band led by Pam's attorney husband, Jeff Forman, was great.A trip to Italy is first on her retirement agenda. and After that she plans to try her hand at writing fiction and accept a few of the art-related consulting jobs she's been offered.

* Lynda O'Dea is well-known for making the Preakness Corporate Village such a success and for the splendid job she did creating the Laurel and Pimlico sports palaces. She's also doing her best to make people aware of lupus, a disease of the immune system from which she suffers.

Last Saturday evening, more than 300 people gathered at the Pimlico Sports Palace for the Maryland Lupus Foundation's Leap Night Las Vegas. Some who joined O'Dea and Joe De Francis for a night of gaming and simulcast horse racing were her close friends Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg and his wife, Anita; Dot and Henry Rosenberg; and King Leatherbury, renowned horse trainer. The lupus foundation is $20,000 richer, thanks to her efforts.

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