They'll be singing and jamming at the North Carroll Senior Center NORTH -- Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro


May 12, 1993|By PAT BRODOWSKI

The North Carroll Senior Center in Greenmount often vibrates with good sounds. The latest musical fest is a Country Jamboree to be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Anyone of any age can take instrument in hand to strum strings, harmonize, sing or jam with the North Carroll Retirees String Band. The retirees, a trio of two electric guitars and a banjo, have become popular at senior events throughout the county.

"Come play what you want to play," said North Carroll Senior Center manager Dorothy Houff. "Anyone who has an instrument can come in, sit down with the guys and play. It's free for all."

Last week, during the band's usual Tuesday afternoon rehearsal, a woman with an electric guitar joined the group.

"She sang. They were really good," said Mrs. Houff.

From that brief encounter sprang the idea for Sunday's jamboree.

The center's kitchen will sell small fare, like that tasty homemade barbecue and potato salad, plus hot dogs and chips.

Country music by the retirees also makes everyone's shoes dance each month when the center invites the public to its hoedown country dances. Promenade over to the next hoedown, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 23.


If you first met Little Orphan Annie in the daily newspaper comic strip (it began in 1930), you'll need no introduction to "Annie" the musical made 40 years later or "Annie" the movie 10 years after that. The production is coming to life on stage at North Carroll Middle School this week.

The two-hour show will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, at the middle school on Route 30. Tickets are $3 for adults, $2 for students.

"The people involved in the show feel if you're going to do it, do it right -- and our students take that attitude," said Ken Berry, the language arts teacher who, as director, began in January to devote after-school hours three or four times a week to coaching the student actors, ages 11 through 14.

He doesn't consider this "a middle school production, but as a production with the same expectations as if it were put on at the high school level," he says.

"I want people to say, 'That was a good show,' not 'That was a good middle school show.' A lot of times we tend to lower standards. I push the kids to get the very best out of them . . . a show to be proud of."

This show puts 57 students on stage in leading roles, dance production or chorus numbers. An additional 60 or more students are involved with art work, set construction and as stage hands.

"It's a good show for this age level, I think," said Mr. Berry. "In our previous plays, kids were playing young adults. In this show, quite a few are playing kids their own age. It gives a lot of the students an opportunity to be more expressive."

In fact, everyone is portrayed by a student, from Oliver Warbucks down to Sandy, Annie's pet pooch.

After a student suggested that the dog be played by a child, Mr. Berry decided "it would give unique personality, beyond any animal's capacity," to the role. Eric Konzal, in furry suit and makeup, plays the friendly mutt.

Mr. Berry called seventh-grader Jenni Knight, who plays Annie, "a real crackerjack. And she has a beautiful voice." During "Annie," a large production number, she'll stride up the center aisle through the audience to the stage.

Mrs. Hannigan, the matron of the orphanage, is acted by Courtney Mattingly, who "is so good at portraying character, is very believeable in the role although she's shorter than Annie," he said.

Brent Putman, playing Franklin Roosevelt, spent hours watching a video performance before tackling the role on stage.

Jesse Smith plays Rooster, the boyfriend and criminal sidekick of Mrs. Hannigan.

"Rooster, the bad guy, had to work on characterization and the New York accent. That's a real challenge for kids this age," said Mr. Berry.

Jeremy Gill plays Daddy Warbucks, with a uniquely full head of hair. Other roles are taken by Mindy Shackleford as Grace Farrell; Arianna Broumas as Lilly; Brian Sirman as Bert Healy, a radio personality; and Tim Schestag as Drake, the head servant.

Filling the ranks of assorted orphans are Melanie Weingert, Nikki Jackson, Amber Seipp, Joy Edwards, Janice Topper, Delynn Powelson, Julie Tringali, Diana Schmidt, Heidi Casper, Jackie Nave, Jessica Sundgren, Sarah Edwards and Dawn Straitz.

While developing their characters, members of the cast also improved their sense of history.

"Many of the students didn't know who Franklin Roosevelt was, and they had a vague idea of what the 1930s and the Great Depression were," said Mr. Berry. "One theme Annie tries to get across is to have positive spirit during unhappy times -- the anticipation of happiness."

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