Garrison Keillor sellouts show interest in arts

June 24, 1994|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

Inside the offices of the Columbia Festival of the Arts, the success of the first weekend in this two-week event can be seen in an addition to the wall.

A two-line classified advertisement, blown up on a copier, says "GARRISON KEILLOR -- 2 or 4 tickets desperately wanted. Columbia Festival, June 19."

"I thought it was great. I thought we had arrived,", said Lynne Nemeth, marketing director for the Columbia Festival of the Arts, a post she's held since the festival began six years ago. She also found it brought indirect publicity to the festival.

"As a matter of fact, I found out about it from someone who saw the ad and called us to get more information about Garrison Keillor," Ms. Nemeth said.

The demand for tickets to the public broadcasting storyteller's program led to the addition of a second show that was also promptly sold out.

This weekend's marquee talent includes Max Roach, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Taj Mahal and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Jones was a 1994 winner of a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

Today's Taj Mahal show at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre is near capacity, and organizers will sell tickets at the door, but not over the phone.

Max Roach returns this year with his Double Quartet, a combination of brass and strings that will play spirituals, rag, modern jazz and original works. The group is set to rehearse at 2 p.m. and play at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Wilde Lake High School. Admission to the rehearsal is $5 for adults. Tickets to the show are $20 or $10 for students.

Both Max Roach and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company have been commissioned by the festival and the American Dance Festival to create a new work and have a workshop performance at 2 p.m. today at Wilde Lake High School. Admission is $5.

Ms. Nemeth said that the festival has three criteria in booking talent: artistic excellence, reputation in their field and interest in doing out reach work with audiences.

The dance troupe will perform at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday at Wilde Lake High School. Festival organizers note that some of the company's work covers adult themes.

The dance company will hold a master class at noon tomorrow at the Howard County Center for the Arts. The cost to participate is $15.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will team up with the Columbia Pro Cantare and Baltimore Symphony Chorus to end the festival at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Merriweather Post Pavilion with works by Aaron Copland and the choral finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the "Ode to Joy."

"We wanted to do something that the Columbia Pro Cantare could be in. They've performed with them before," said Ms. Nemeth. "We wanted to do a program that had a lot of audience favorites."

Frances Motyca Dawson, director of the Columbia Pro Cantare, said that performing Beethoven's Ninth is quite demanding.

"The Ninth takes an incredible amount of vocal endurance. Its ranges are stratospheric," she said. "Sopranos take the most beating, sustained high A's for a long time. The Copland works are a vocal warm-up in a sense."

The symphony will also perform works by Bernstein and Rossini.

About 275 people will be on stage.

These big-name performances are only a part of a festival that has lesser-known talent, food and crafts.

Seventeen musical acts are scheduled to perform in the free Lakefront Festival that opens at 7 p.m. today with contemporary bluegrass and folk music by The Polkats, Bitter Creek, Crowe & McLaughlin, the New St. George and Susan Werner.

Tomorrow's schedule at the Lakefront has family entertainment beginning at 2 p.m. with Variety in Motion followed by Chullpara, Charlotte Blake Alston, Maria Broom of the Gypsy Dance Bringers, Potomac Red, Sankofa Dance Theatre and Tom Prasada-Rao taking the stage at 7 p.m.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the Howard County Center for the Arts and local artist Leah Taylor invite the public to help create an art installation that will focus on the people and patterns that make up the community.

An evening of jazz will begin at 8 p.m. tomorrow with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio followed by the Ron Holloway Group.

Three acts round out Sunday's Lakefront schedule, which is more family entertainment, with Namu Lwanga from Uganda lTC starting at 2 p.m. followed by "Gary Rosen -- Tot Rock" and Buddy Wachter as the final act at 4 p.m.

The Lakefront Festival will also have forty-six craft artists selected by jurors. The craft show will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. today, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A sampling of the crafts are clay works, porcelain, forged iron and stained glass.

Six county restaurants will sell food at the Fountain Cafe at the Lakefront Festival.

Visual arts exhibits will be on display this weekend as part of the festival at the Maryland Museum of African Art at Oakland, Howard Community College, Slayton House in Wilde Lake, Columbia Association Center for the Arts in the Long Reach Village Center and the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City.

The Columbia Festival of the Arts will continue today, tomorrow and conclude Sunday at several locations around Howard County. Information: 715-3055.

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