Maryland Hall's friends hold remodeling benefit Concert hall needs better acoustics

June 18, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

Anyone who's ever sweated through a May concert at Maryland Hall knows the old, poorly ventilated structure is no place to take in a concert during the summer.

Acoustics -- don't even ask. The fraction of musical sound that makes it off the cavernous stage seems to head immediately for the nearest velour curtain to die. "Singing in Maryland Hall," conductor Ernest Green once told me, "is like singing into your sock."

But the good news is that those who know and love the hall best -- its administrators and the talented performers who play, sing and dance there regularly -- are committed to its improvement.

That commitment took tangible form Sunday evening at fund-raising concert given by four of the area's premier performing ensembles. Each of these has an interest in the eventual "climatization" of the building, which the hall's Executive Director Michael Bailey estimates will cost around $250,000. Acoustic improvements could run even more.

Audience members, many of whom had dined at dinner parties in area homes as part of the evening's festivities, were enthusiastic in their support for the hall and for Sunday's performers.

Members of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra contribute spirited overtures by Rossini and Strauss, and the Ballet Theater of Annapolis danced to Tchaikovsky, Satie and Copland. The bTC Annapolis Chorale contributed opera choruses by Verdi and Donizetti, with Ernest Green was on the podium throughout the proceedings.

But the nicest touch came from the youngsters of the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater's "Talent Machine" cast, who sang selections from "Les Miserables" and "Gotta Dance."

Though the kids are based at the City Dock, not in the venerable structure at Greenfield and Constitution streets, the point was clear: These are the artists who will be performing one day in the acoustic splendor and year-round comfort of a refurbished Maryland Hall.

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