Grandmother is a soprano, and they all listen to her


June 24, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

Soprano Peg Rodrigues has been singing joyful praises in Mount Airy's Calvary United Methodist Church choirs since she was a young child.

Mrs. Rodrigues, now a great-grandmother of three, is looking for other people who love to sing to join the town's Centennial Chorus. "You don't have to be an accomplished singer, just be able to carry a tune in a bucket," she says.

The choral group will lead a community sing-along at Mount Airy's July 3 Centennial Family Picnic, just prior to the event's fireworks finale. Song sheets will be provided to encourage group participation.

The ad hoc chorus, which would welcome additional voices, will lead celebration participants in some patriotic songs, including "This Town Is My Town," an adaptation of "This Land Is My Land" for the centennial, according to Mrs. Rodrigues.

The next practice will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, at the Mount Airy Senior Center, 705 Ridge Road.

Basil Day Sr., Calvary Church's choir director and former director of the Browningsville Band, plans to travel from his Pennsylvania home in Fairfield to direct the Centennial Chorus.

Mrs. Rodrigues said she is looking forward to the town getting together for the old-fashioned celebration July 3. She said her 84-year-old father, the former mayor, Norman Etzler, has told her about wonderful town events of long ago -- such as all-day band concerts -- that brought Mount Airy residents together on a regular basis.

Singing in the Centennial Chorus will be an exercise in civic pride, said Mrs. Rodrigues.

She added that she hopes singing in the town group may prove to be "something we'd like to do another year."

Singing comes naturally for Mrs. Rodrigues. Her mother, the late Dorothy Etzler, studied at the Peabody Institute and was a school music teacher at Mount Airy as well as the organist at Calvary Church. She added that her father still has a "glorious" bass singing voice.

Mrs. Rodrigues, who was born and reared in Mount Airy, lived all over the world before returning to her home town in 1987 with her husband, Dan. From Germany to Hawaii, singing has been a part of her life. "It's been a thing I've loved," said Mrs. Rodrigues.

For more information about the Centennial Chorus, call Mrs. Rodrigues at (301) 829-1235.


Mount Airy's Centennial Family Picnic will begin at noon July 3 with a Jousting Tournament at the Mount Airy Carnival Grounds at Route 27 and Twin Arch Road. The tournament is expected to last until 5 p.m., said event organizer Travis Norwood.

Food, prepared by the Mount Airy Locker Co., will be sold all day. The community is also invited to bring picnic lunches, dinners and snacks. Lawn chairs are suggested as important comfort equipment.

After a dinner break, Mr. Norwood said, the evening's entertainment will begin. On the roster of musical guests are the talented gospel group, the Versatiles. After the Centennial Chorus leads the community picnickers in a sing-along, the fireworks show will begin at dusk.

The professional pyrotechnic display, expected to last about 30 minutes, will be performed by Fireworks Production Inc.

Admission to the centennial event is free. "This is our gift to the people of the town for helping us with our celebration," said Mr. Norwood. "They've been very supportive."


A Picnic in the Park tomorrow will celebrate two decades of community service by the Mount Airy Area Jaycees.

The event will be held from 1 p.m. to dusk at Prospect Park in Mount Airy.

For information, call Ruth Muller at (410) 775-0004 or Laurie Hager at (301) 831-7819.

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