Helen Schlossberg and Gil Cohen fill an empty nest with...


April 11, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Helen Schlossberg and Gil Cohen fill an empty nest with the 0) sound of music

When Helen Schlossberg and Gil Cohen became empty nesters, they faced what many parents do: the sound of silence. Their daughter, Ellie, wasn't practicing the bassoon in her room; their son, Jeffrey, wasn't composing at the piano. No one was singing.

"We missed having music in the house," says Ms. Cohen, "so we decided to import our own."

Not just any music, either. Five times a year, BSO musicians, Peabody students and other performers turn the Cohens' Mount Vernon condominium into a recital hall. The concerts serve as dress rehearsals for musicians preparing for a performance, while the Cohens and 30 friends get to hear high-caliber music.

There's an informal feel to these concerts, with guests occasionally sitting on the floor and performers sometimes ad-libbing. The record for the longest concert is held by a Washington pianist and cellist, who, after playing classical music, segued into a jam session of jazz, blues and show tunes for four hours.

Although the Cohens appreciate the arts, they never considered a career in the field. (Ms. Cohen, who's in her 50s, works for Goucher College; Mr. Cohen, who's in his 60s, is an executive with a paper and chemical company.)

Their children are a different story, though. All four are involved in the arts, including their son, Jay Schlossberg Cohen, director of the Maryland Film Commission, and Debby Lee Cohen, an animator in New York.

For many people, living through high school is enough. Why, then, did photographer Michela Caudill choose to return more than 35 years later?

She was on a mission: to document life for inner-city high school teens, circa 1992.

Wherever Southern High School students went, Ms. Caudill followed. Armed with a camera and a tripod, she visited classrooms, watched basketball games and even went to the prom.

"I wanted to try as much as I could to get beneath the superficial, to see what inner-city high school kids are about," says Ms. Caudill, 53, who lives in Federal Hill.

The public can judge whether she succeeded. Her 52-picture show is now on exhibit at the Top of the World Observation Level and Museum at the World Trade Center.

It took time to get students to forget she was there.

"I had to get to the point where teachers felt comfortable and where the students wouldn't mug for the camera," she says.

Although Ms. Caudill has moved on to another project -- taking pictures at the Woodbourne Center, a facility for troubled youngsters -- she still thinks about this experience, particularly when she passes Southern High.

She says, "You want to see, if you walk down the halls, somebody will say, 'Camera Lady, we missed you.' "

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