New 4-H club seeks to involve youths in the performing arts

NEIGHBORS

January 21, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

A Shipley couple and a South Carroll High School senior are breaking new ground in 4-H with a Carroll County club focused on singing, dancing, miming, acting and recitation.

While animal science and home economics remain the focal points of many clubs, 4-H is much more than just "cows and cooking," said Ron Zepp, who leads the club with his wife, Debbie. "Our main interest area is the performing arts."

The new 4-H Performing Arts Club, which currently has 15 members, is open to all Carroll County youngsters, from ages 8 to 19 years. Youths who are not already 4-H members, join 4-H when they join the club.

"We're looking for new people -- we're open to everyone," said 17-year-old Tracy Clagett, the club's director. "It's a fun activity. Everybody has talent, but they may not know what it is. We're here to try to help them find it."

The group meets on the third Saturday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Zion United Methodist Church, 2716 Old Washington Road, near Westminster. Mr. Zepp stressed that youngsters of all abilities are welcome.

"The purpose of the group is to give kids a chance in the performing arts that may not have a chance through other activities," he said. "Using the 4-H way of doing things . . . works real well."

Mr. Zepp, who works as a service technician for Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., took music classes in college. Mrs. Zepp, who works for Homecall, was a theater major.

The Zepps' two children -- Adam, 14, and Sayword, 10 -- belong to the new club.

Mr. Zepp said he and his wife belonged to the now-defunct Carroll County 4-H Chorus 20 years ago as teen-agers.

"We both were born and raised in 4-H," said Mr. Zepp. "It made a very big impact in my life, and I want to make sure that the same opportunity is out there for other kids who come along."

Music and 4-H also are very important to Tracy, who is the daughter of Mason and Sherry Clagett of New Windsor. She sings with the South Carroll High School Madrigals, Ladies Ensemble and Chorus. A 10-year veteran of 4-H, Tracy is a member of the 4-H Livestock Club and Dog Club.

She is running for office in the state Future Farmers of America and has performed "all over Kansas City" at the past two national FFA conventions as a member of the FFA Chorus and Talent group. Tracy plans to attend Carroll Community College, where she may major in music education.

This is not the Zepps' first experience in founding a 4-H Club. Mr. Zepp said he and his wife started the Maryland State 4-H Entertainment Group in 1981 and worked with the club for six years. That club, now defunct, developed into a semiprofessional group that went on tours and was paid for its performances. Mr. Zepp said a former member of the group, Brooke Stuart, recently recorded her first album in Nashville, Tenn.

The Zepps' plan for the Carroll County 4-H Performing Arts Club is to keep it a strictly volunteer group that does only one or two major performances locally each year. The group, which was formed in the summer, first performed at the Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair in August. Its next performance will be at the annual Carroll County 4-H Award and Volunteer Banquet in April.

The club's monthly meetings include a brief business session, at which activities and performances are planned, said Tracy. The group recently agreed to sell candy bars and participate in the annual 4-H raffle.

"We're doing this because we want to do a small play or sections of plays," she said.

"We don't really work too hard," Tracy. "We're there also to have fun and enjoy ourselves."

Information: the Zepps at (410) 848-0712; Tracy at (410) 875-4020; or the Carroll County Extension Office at (410) 848-4611.

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Area high school students are invited to turn their work examining the U.S. Constitution into scholarship opportunities through the 57th Annual American Legion National Oratorical Contest.

The competition begins at various posts throughout the country and abroad. Winners earn college scholarship money as they progress through various levels to the national contest in April. The four national finalists will receive scholarships of $18,000, $16,000, $14,000 and $12,000.

Contestants must give an eight- to 10-minute prepared oration on some aspect of the Constitution that stresses citizen responsibilities. Participants also must be prepared to give a three- to five-minute extemporaneous discourse on a subject randomly drawn from selected constitutional topics.

Locally, American Legion Post 191 of Mount Airy will hold its contest Feb. 8. Awards from Post 191 will be $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third place and $25 for each of the remaining participants. The top orator will represent Post 191 in the Carroll County contest Feb. 15 at American Legion Post 31 in Westminster.

Information: (301) 831-5237.

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From karate to cake decorating, the Mount Airy Recreation Council has openings available in several classes offered in its 1994 winter session.

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