Chesapeake Center's lively opening draws a crowd Singing, dancing - and speeches - for a start

January 13, 1998|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The opening celebration of the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts on Saturday turned into north county's version of "Field of Dreams." "If you build it they will come," said the voice in the movie. And come they did.

More than 1,000 people packed the old Brooklyn Park High School auditorium on Hammonds Lane for a lengthy -- the first half lasted two hours -- program of speeches, singing and dancing organized by Wayne Shipley.

Democratic Del. Joan Cadden, whose district includes the high school, was joined by Republican County Executive John G. Gary, State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Brooklyn Park Democrat; Del. Michael W. Burns, a Glen Burnie Republican, and Democratic state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein.

Goldstein pronounced the Chesapeake Center "a real gem -- all you have to do is polish it." And they acknowledged Cadden as the guiding force behind the project.

On the program were singing hosts La-Don Hart Hall and Gary Wheeler; high school actors in a one-act play, "This is a Test"; the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis in Nutcracker excerpts; Jay Kishor playing sitar; Sons of the Severn, a barbershop chorus; the Holy Temple Praise Dancers; and members of the Talent Machine.

The audience, which included a large number of young people, was enthusiastic and responsive, enduring the speeches of the politicians who helped make the center possible and sound system difficulties through the first half of the program, then remaining for the second half.

There were a number of extraordinary efforts. The Ballet Theatre of Annapolis delivered a remarkable performance. Dmitry Tuboltsev and Leslie Bradley were outstanding in the Grand pas de Deux and the exquisite Natasha Kirjanov, each seemingly flawless. Shari Vasquez and Jeffrey Watson did an exciting version of the Arabian Dance.

The young Talent Machine performers were entirely professional and the sound system reached a professional level because of the efforts of Tom Crouse, the organization's technical director.

The youngsters, who didn't go on until after 10 p.m., were real troupers and received a standing ovation.

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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