HE'S just a little kid, 9 years old, and on his first...


November 01, 1994

HE'S just a little kid, 9 years old, and on his first American tour. He is a member of the Choir of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban which, taking advantage of the "half-term" break of the English school system, was on a mid-Atlantic states tour of the U.S.

The schedule was tough: Virginia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore (where they sang in the evening at the old St. Paul's Church. Next day, Wilmington, Del. for two concerts, then Princeton for one. After that, New York City for several concerts, closing in New Haven, Conn.

Parishioners were hosts to choir members overnight during the Baltimore stay. A Roland Park couple took three of the boys, the 9-year-old and two 12-year-olds. "Tuck them into bed early," said the Master of Music. "They have to be at Penn Station by 8:45 tomorrow morning."

Wake-up call was 7:25. Second call 15 minutes later. Juice, eggs, taost and milk and tea served, all in a rush, bags in the hall then into the car and into a traffic jam on the Jones Falls Expressway.

To the station exactly at 8:45 -- what a relief -- goodbyes said, token gift to the hosts, a short train trip for the boys to keep up their heavy schedule.

Back home, the couple clear the dishes and proceed to make the beds.

Then the discovery! Buried in the small boy's bed clothes a small, eight-inch stuffed penguin. He had forgotten it!

Call immediately to St. Paul's office. Emergency: one stuffed bedtime companion left behind by one small boy. Not to worry. The church will send it by Express Mail to the General Theological Seminary in New York, where the choir will stay while in the city.

Penguin is packed up and to its flipper is attached a short note. "Sorry! I overslept and missed the train. Please forgive me. I miss you!"

And so the sage of the only penguin to get into the General Theological Seminary. In black and white, he'll fit right in.

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