A Wagnerian soprano, complete with Viking helmet, yellow braids and breastplate, warbled and trilled an introduction for Gov. Parris N. Glendening at the State House yesterday as he sang the praises of First Night Annapolis.
Glendening issued a proclamation extolling the alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration of the arts. The event will showcase performers on street corners, in store windows, churches and government meeting rooms throughout the city's historic district for the seventh year.
And First Night officials announced their program, which includes a little something for everyone: ice dancing, blues, gospel, opera, poetry slams, flamenco dancing and a swing band on the City Dock.
For the price of a First Night button -- $10 before Dec. 15 and $14 afterward -- visitors can enjoy the classical piano of Angelin Chang, the magic of Phillip Jennings and the country music of Marge Calhoun.
The governor recognized the event as a good example of volunteer coordination among business, government and the arts community.
"The arts are a gauge by which to measure a society," the governor said.
"If the arts are healthy and prospering, it indicates there is a good educational system in place, the economy provides stability and opportunity, and there is hope for the future."
The governor said there were no alcohol-related violent incidents at First Night Annapolis last year and that he wished he could say the same for other New Year's Eve celebrations around the state.
He also made his first New Year's Resolution, which he wrote on a wooden white star beneath the State House rotunda: "To do all that I can for Maryland's children."
In addition to Mary Gresock, who portrayed Brunnhilde from Wagner's "Die Walkure" and introduced Glendening, a bagpipe duo, an acoustic folk trio and a jazz band provided music under the rotunda.
Students from Annapolis Elementary School threw confetti at each other and mobbed the Jokesters, a duo from Los Angeles who warmed up the crowd with their mime, comedy and magic act.
First Night Annapolis typically attracts about 10,000 people from as far away as New York and North Carolina, but 20,000 turned out on an unseasonably warm New Year's Eve 1992.
Pub Date: 12/03/96