Winterfest wonderland

UP FRONT

Downtown: This year's edition of Baltimore on Ice includes some cool home-grown sounds, and much more. Thrills and chills: Baltimore's Winterfest offers frosty fun.

February 04, 1999|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Sun Staff

If all of the signs are right, Baltimore-area music fans should catch entertainer Dontae Winslow before he gets too busy to perform much in his hometown.

Winslow, a jazz trumpeter and rap singer, has already performed with musical luminaries Stevie Wonder, Wynton Marsalis, Milt Jackson, Cyrus Chestnut and others. His three CDs (a fourth one, recorded live at a concert at the Baltimore Museum of Art, is due out next month) feature his blend of jazz, rhythm and blues and rap.

He will be a part of this year's Baltimore on Ice Winterfest this weekend at the Inner Harbor. Winslow is scheduled to perform Sunday at noon.

Winslow, 24, grew up on West North Avenue in Baltimore. He attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Peabody Conservatory, where he received a bachelor's degree in classical musical performance. He expects to receive a master's degree in classical music performance from Peabody this spring.

Winslow knew he wanted to be a musician when he was around the age of 10.

"When I heard my cousin singing in church -- the emotion, the way people responded -- I knew I wanted to do that," Winslow says.

Soon afterward, he decided to play the trumpet, and he has kept at it.

"I grew up on North Avenue, which is not the happiest place to grow up," he says. "The trumpet kept me occupied."

Music has already taken him far from North Avenue. Winslow has performed around Europe and Canada, including England, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Montreal Jazz Festival.

So is he satisfied with the way his career is going?

"It's going the way God wants it to go," he says.

There will also be a touch of summertime Caribbean sounds at Winterfest tomorrow.

The Baltimore Islanders Steel Band will provide some of those sounds. "There are seven people in the band, and we also feature limbo dancing," says Roy E. Browne Sr., the band's leader.

"I've been in the band for 28 years. There are three of us, members of the band, who have been here for 28 years or more."

Now there are different generations in the band, including two of Browne's teen-age children and an 18-year-old neighbor.

"We play steel drums and just about everything," Browne says. "We also feature limbo."

Two other steel bands, the Catonsville High School Steel Drum Band and Jambulay, will also be a part of the "beach party" at the skating rink at Rash Field tomorrow night.

If your taste runs to other types of music, there will be the alternative music of the Beans and Good Charlotte on Saturday. The reggae/rock group Colouring Lesson also performs Saturday, as do swing and R&B acts (see accompanying schedule).

Other live entertainment includes mime Robert Strong and the PAL Center Baltimore Youth Choir. There will also be ice skating, cross-country skiing, a sled-dog exhibition and more.

Winterfest '99 is Baltimore's way of trying to draw crowds from the warm indoors into the chilly outdoors. Ever-fickle Mother Nature doesn't have to cooperate, thanks to the snow-making machine.

The Bread, Milk and Toilet Paper Dash kicks off tomorrow's festivities at noon. As every Baltimorean knows, those are the three must-haves when there's even a mention of snow.

Contestants in the dash maneuver through an obstacle course in search of the three prized items. Yes, it's a poke at what some say is rather excessive snow-preparation behavior, but the prizes are no joke. The winner receives two round-trip tickets to any Southwest Airlines destination. People can register for the race tomorrow, on-site.

This will probably be the only chance this winter, at least, to see a lumberjack show in Baltimore. The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show takes place both Saturday and Sunday. Events include ax-throwing, cross-cut sawing and underhand chopping.

There will be merchandise for sale, along with plenty of food and other items. A beer and wine garden also will be open throughout the weekend.

WINTERFEST SCHEDULE

Today

5 p.m.-8 p.m.: First Thursdays in Mount Vernon

7 p.m.-9 p.m.: Skating, Inner Harbor Ice Rink

Friday

Noon: Bread, Milk and Toilet Paper Dash, Harborplace Amphitheatre

Noon-4 p.m.: Skating, Inner Harbor Ice Rink

2 p.m.-11 p.m.: Oldies with WQSR-FM Live at ice rink

Noon-6 p.m.: Jack Frost Fair, games tent at Rash Field

5 p.m.-11 p.m.: Polar Bear Club beer and wine garden, Rash Field

5 p.m.-11 p.m.: Winterfest Marketplace, Rash Field

5 p.m.-11 p.m.: Southwest Airlines Paradise on Ice, skating/beach party to steel drum bands at Rash Field (Baltimore Islanders Steel Band, 6 p.m.; Catonsville High School Steel Drum Band, 7:30 p.m.; Jambulay, 9:30 p.m.) with snow volleyball and surf machine

5 p.m.-7 p.m.: Rusty Scupper restaurant's free happy hour buffet

5:30 p.m.-close: Federal Hill Blizzard Watch, various restaurant specials in Federal Hill and Cross Street Market

7:30 p.m.: IMAX double feature of "Everest" and "Antarctica," Maryland Science Center

Saturday

10 a.m.-noon: Skatin' Safari; children don complimentary animal noses and skate with mascots at Inner Harbor Ice Rink

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