BEFORE THE Pride of Baltimore II eased out of the Inner Harbor last weekend for a yearlong voyage to Asia, about 60 fifth-graders from Spring Garden Elementary sang a tribute of Chesapeake Bay sea chanteys to the crew.
They accompanied folk-pop artist Pat O'Brennan, the Chesapeake Troubadour, who has recorded three albums of songs about the estuary, during departure ceremonies for the beloved Baltimore vessel.
The children and the folk singer were invited to sing songs of Maryland's bay sailors. Many of the songs were culled from extensive research by Ida Lea Rubin, the students' teacher.
The rugged faces of the Pride II's crew, more familiar with pulling inch-thick ropes in salt spray, melted as they began to sway to the gently rocking melodies. Crew members joined the students for refrains such as "tomorrow is our sailing day, bye-bye, sweet Rosy-anna."
"Isn't this a pretty song? I love it," Rubin said when the students introduced the song to O'Brennan during rehearsal a few weeks ago.
"Your horizons never-ending, Look ahead Baltimore, your Pride is back," the children sang with gusto.
The troubadour was pleased.
"You guys are good. I'm impressed," he said then.
They met again Saturday to sing one of his songs and chanteys uncovered by Rubin's research.
Also at the ceremony were Principal Gloria Julius, teachers and staff members, parents, relatives and Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin, playing the part of a supportive dad.
Speaking that day were crew members, dignitaries from the governor's and mayor's offices, and Pride II supporters.
For the first time, anyone can be a virtual stowaway on the Pride, linked to life aboard the historical clipper through the World Wide Web. As the ship retraces a historical route to Asia, surfers can follow its route.
"There is a special excitement that hasn't existed before," said Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools. "As we hear these students from Spring Garden Elementary, we're reminded of the 900,000 students who will benefit from this trip, with a teacher on board for the first time. She will capture the essence of life on a tall ship and unique facets of life in other parts of the world, as an ambassador for our schools to other schools via the Internet."
The Christa McAuliffe Fellow on the ship is a Westlake High School science teacher from Charles County, Leslie Ann Bridgett. Her students and others presented scrapbooks of writings and photographs to show to children in distant ports.
Live Nativity and more
The scent of fresh-cut evergreens, whimsical folk art, tasty treats and aromatic potpourri have transformed Spring Meadow Farms into "A Country Christmas," featuring items from the Hickory Stick folk art emporium in Westminster.
Spring Meadow Farms, a source for summer produce, is on Route 30 opposite the Sportsmen's Hall roller rink, south of Hampstead.
Its popular petting zoo has been swept into the festivities. The animals will help portray a living Nativity at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Dec. 19 and 20. When not acting, the animals return to the petting zoo, which is open daily.
The animals are not the only performers at Spring Meadow.
Owner Stan Dabkowski has had his taste of Hollywood fever. His talent with the harmonica landed him a musical role in the movie "For Richer or Poorer," which was filmed in Carroll County and will be released this weekend. You've got to find him behind a lofty beard he grew for the Amish look.
Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 12/10/97