Singing, dancing, learning Peabody opens program to public

January 11, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A dozen boys and girls sat on the floor in a circle, first wiggling their toes, and then their feet, legs and arms, to the tempo of music. They stood, stretching for the sky.

The children, all students at the Columbia Academy, a private school, were next led through a series of jumping, hopping and skipping exercises by their instructor.

They appeared to have a good time as they demonstrated for an audience of about 60 people yesterday what they have learned from music and dance instruction.

The demonstration -- followed by entertainment by a group of folk dancers and a jazz ensemble -- was part of an open house to unveil the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University's newest programs for Howard County.

On March 1, the preparatory will start providing dance and music lessons to the public, ranging from beginning music lessons for 2-year-olds to folk dance courses for senior citizens.

"I think it's important for everyone to have music and the arts in one's life," said Fran Zarubick, dean of the Peabody Preparatory. "You're never too old to start. It's never too late."

Ms. Zarubick noted that an 82-year-old man takes trumpet lessons and that a physicist is learning to play the piano at the preparatory's Baltimore location to relax after her rigid laboratory work.

About 2,700 people are enrolled in the preparatory's programs at its branches in Baltimore, Towson, Pikesville, Randallstown and Annapolis.

The preparatory facility in Columbia could serve as many as 1,000 students.

The preparatory has been providing dance and music courses as part of the regular curriculum at the Columbia Academy since fall.

L Those classes will continue after the public program starts.

Dozens of people, many with children, attended the open house to pick up pamphlets, roam about the school's facilities and discuss programs with instructors.

Lindsay Martin, an 8-year-old from Ellicott City, came to the open house with her mother, Ellen Martin, to get information on the preparatory's dance classes.

"I just like the movement," Lindsay said, noting that she already takes some dance lessons. "I just like to dance."

Mrs. Martin said she likes having the programs available in Howard so that the family doesn't have to travel to Baltimore for lessons.

She added that she expects to take her daughter to the tryouts necessary for enrollment in the preparatory.

She's always dancing," her mother added, as she and her daughter looked over pictures of performances by preparatory students. "We just hope they have something for us."

Ms. Zarubick said the preparatory has received numerous requests to open a Columbia branch over the years.

But not until last year, when approached by administrators at the Columbia Academy, did the preparatory find a location for its programs.

The courses available at the Columbia branch include Kindermusik, a two-year program to prepare children for advanced music lessons. Other music programs include group and individual piano lessons, singing classes and jazz improvisation courses.

A variety of dance programs also are available.

The cost of the 12-week programs varies, ranging from $22.50 for folk dance workshops to $180 for Kindermusik to $270 for half-hour, individual music lessons.

Raymond Chapman, founder of the Columbia Academy, said the school and the preparatory planned to provide the public programs last year but first needed to expand facilities to have room for the classes.

The academy constructed a dance floor and eight studios for music lessons on the first floor of the school's building, off the interchange of Routes 29 and 108.

The academy, which has about 200 students in preschool, kindergarten and first and second grades, was established in 1991 with the goal of merging academics and the arts, Mr. Chapman said.

"We feel that puts us on the cutting edge," he said.

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