Youngsters unable to appreciate mom's slice of 'American Pie' GLEN BURNIE

NEIGHBORS

August 18, 1993|By BONITA FORMWALT

Driving down Ritchie Highway -- or more accurately puttering down Ritchie Highway -- I casually reached over and inserted a cassette into the tape player.

"Oh no," they groaned.

What, what! Had the "CHECK ENGINE" light started flashing on the -- again? Did the safety pin holding up the visor snap and pierce a passenger? Did that smirking kid on the bike pass us again?

"Please Mom, not 'American Pie' again. It's summer. The windows are down. People will hear you."

So much for my fan club. I'm willing to acknowledge that while my singing isn't quite on the same level as Barbra's or Bette's, it comes from the heart. Anyway, it's my car and I can do what I want.

Ignoring their pleas, I turned up the volume and began to sing, "A long, long time ago. . . ."

My offspring slunk down into their seats sharing a glance that leads me to believe my golden years will be spent alone watching "Wheel of Fortune" reruns with my poodle, Buttons.

"And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance . . . ," I sang on.

Didn't they understand that Don McClean's song was the anthem of my youth? A generation sitting around the cafeteria arguing over the meaning of the lyrics.

(Years later I realize that we were absolutely clueless. Even now I remained confused. But then, I didn't understand the monkey scene in "2001 -- a Space Odyssey," either.)

"In a pink tuxedo and a pickup truck. . . ." I was on a roll.

I paused long enough to remind them that I had just spent 45 minutes at a Sam Goody record store trying to find a rap tape that I could listen to without blushing.

Directing the --board map light so I was properly illuminated I continued, "I met a girl who sang the blues. . . ." It had become a test of wills.

As the last note warbled into silence, I peered over the back seat awaiting a response.

They were listening to their Walkman. With earphones.

Sing out, Glen Burnie.

*

The harmony of music, faith and religion are a part of the vision Joseph Myering has for the community. He is fortunate to be able to share that vision as the director of a school of music at the Abundant Life Church.

Conceived by the Rev. Dan Mucci, the senior pastor, the Abundant Life Church School of Music and Fine Arts is in its second year of operation. The curriculum has expanded this year, offering classes in music fundamentals, voice, flute, piano, brass and guitar. Classes are also available for basic introduction to theater arts and mime. Private lessons are offered depending on evaluation by the faculty.

A schedule of fall classes is available by calling the church office, 761-9075. The church is at 7305 E. Furnace Branch Road.

Home to Purest Praise Productions Musical Ministries, the church stages elaborate musical-dramas at least twice a year. Students from the school may choose to participate in some of the productions. In addition, students will have the opportunity to perform in recitals.

In his first year as director, Myering has been challenged to meld all the old and new components together.

An opera singer with more than 125 roles to his credit, Myering believes that his experiences -- both positive and negative -- help him to focus the goals of the school.

"Fifteen years in the professional music world have taught me that it's not always pretty. There are teachers out there who have lost sight of their goals with their students. That can be damaging to a youngster who's trying to learn," said Myering.

He hopes to use his knowledge to be a nurturing teacher.

"It's important to encourage growth -- even a plant grows better if you talk to it. It's good for people to know they can try without the pressure of a teacher who may not be motivated for the right reasons," he said.

In addition to Myering, the faculty includes Paul Butler, piano; Mike Koontz, guitar; Jenny Galley, flute; Jim Collver, brass, mime, theater, beginning music. All members of the faculty have trained as both performers and teachers.

Although it is still a fledgling operation, the director is looking ahead.

"We'd like to see the school at a point where it's considered a conservatory -- to see people come here to learn and develop their music," said Myering.

In changing the way the students understand their music, Myering also hopes it will change the way they view the concept of the church.

"We want to see the community look at the church in a different light, too. A lot of times the church is looked at as 'that place I go to on Sunday.' It's important that we can open up and show them alternatives. Music is a way of communicating that."

*

Advance Carpet, 6 Burwood Road, will play host to the August Networking Night for the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The evening offers chamber members the opportunity to make new business contacts and share information and ideas.

Admission is $6 with an advance reservation or $10 at the door.

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