Why was kids' chorus used at political event?On Nov. 5...


November 23, 1997

Why was kids' chorus used at political event?

On Nov. 5, the Howard County Children's Chorus had its first public performance of the year. It performed at the Spear Center inside the Rouse Building at Columbia Town Center.

If this location sounds familiar (and it should), there's a perfectly simple explanation. The other "event" taking place was a $75 per-person fund-raiser for C. Vernon Gray, Democratic Howard County councilman.

The evening was masked as a celebration of his 15 years of service, albeit he made the announcement of his decision to run once again for the Howard County Council, instead of seeking election for Howard County executive.

As reported in The Sun, many prominent Democratic officials (including Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski) and business people were present.

The evening's event has led to a number of questions: Since when did the Howard County Children's Chorus become an active participant in politics? Why were parents not told that this was a "fund-raiser" for a political figure?

Many things that night went wrong or were downright rude. I personally don't know of all the "good things" that Mr. Gray has done for Howard County (I live in the county due to a military transfer), nor am I a Democrat. But this should have nothing to do with the fact that the Howard County Children's Chorus was being used to help solicit funds for a political candidate.

Most of the socialites and officials were gathered in the back of the room hobnobbing, so the parents (who were "invited") began seating themselves.

Once the gala of speakers, slide shows and music began, some of those $75-per-person guests made their way to an already crowded section of chairs to find a seat.

Few seats were to be found. The parents had practically filled the room. However, there were two or three individuals who began pointing at the name tags upon their chests as if to say, "Excuse me, but you are in my seat."

There were no names on the seats, nor were there any assigned seats as far as I could tell. Some of the parents actually did get up from their seats.

It's a good thing I wasn't approached. The remaining $75 guests remained in the back of the room. They were quite rude with their continued talking and laughter as the speakers tried their best to overcome the noise.

But the real kick in the pants came when the children began to sing. The noise was so bad that Mrs. Gray herself got up from her seat, went to the back of the room and asked that they remain quiet. (Thank you, Mrs. Gray.)

I have no qualms with the Grays nor do I have problems with the Howard County Council.

I do take exception to my child being part of a political party's spectacle and having to sit through an hour-long hoopla of very rude individuals. These approximately 125 children auditioned for a chance to be part of something special.

To the director of the Howard County Children's Chorus, please, no more political performances. And to the next audience (whomever you might be), please give the children the same respect that you would expect from them.

Timothy Curry


We should sacrifice, not slaughter deer

It sickens me to imagine the carnage which will begin in Howard County on Dec. 1. I fail to understand the reasoning behind it.

State officials advocating the Columbia deer hunts have pointed out that cars hit more than 300 deer each year in the county.

So because humans accidentally kill 300 deer each year, we should purposedly kill off hundreds of thousands more?

In your Nov. 7 article, Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker was quoted as saying, "the natural predators of the deer are not here anymore."

In other words, since human growth and urban sprawl has diminished the land necessary to sustain a population of wolves or mountain lions, we should actively destroy the rest of the food chain as well?

Yes, the other options for solving the deer "overpopulation problem" are costly. They involve putting a cap on our own development and comfort.

L When will we as a species be willing to make that sacrifice?

Julie Kerr

Ellicott City

Interfaith centers meant to be temporary

The Nov. 3 editorial, "Separation of church," correctly points out that Columbia's interfaith center in the first village of Wilde Lake was another facet of Jim Rouse's plan for the new community.

Representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore in the many meetings with the other churches planning a presence in the city, I well remember the conclusion we presented to Rouse that both a shared office building and shared worship space owned by a religious facilities corporation was the most practical route to take.

Our decision was certainly influenced by the ecumenical spirit of the times. But a more important reason, I believe, was the unusual fact that every resident moving into the new city would be either buying or renting a new home.

Most of them would probably have little discretionary income to pay for new church buildings but would find it to their advantage to pay rent for a nearby facility.

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