Columbia skaters bring `Oz' to ice this weekend

NEIGHBORS

March 27, 2001|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT MAY be spring, but some local residents have no intentions of hanging up their ice skates just yet. Members of the Columbia Figure Skating Club are busy preparing for a slick production of "The Wizard of Oz on Ice" this weekend at Columbia Ice Rink.

The show is based on the story of "The Wizard of Oz," and will be followed by a variety of short segments with themes from "Aladdin," "My Fair Lady," "Annie" and "The Wiz." Preparations for the show began late last year, well before the club's December program, "The Nutcracker On Ice," said Joan Rosenhauer, one of the show's directors. "It's all come together very well. Everyone has chipped in."

Volunteers, many of them parents of skaters, made costumes and scenery for the show. Some special effects will be created using lights, but Rosenhauer stressed that any scary elements from the Oz story will be played down.

"We see this as entertainment for the community," fit for even preschool-age children, she said.

The club was faced with a new challenge this year when casting for the show. "We have more higher-level skaters than we've ever had before," Rosenhauer said, making it difficult to select skaters for the lead roles. More than 25 club members are now considered "top skaters," as opposed to a mere handful in the past.

Two of the club's top skaters are east Columbians Amanda Buckler, 16, and Jason Weisberg, 11, who competed at the Junior National Championships in Colorado in December.

Amanda will skate as Dorothy, sporting ruby figure skates. Jason's role is stormy - he is cast as the tornado that transports Dorothy and her dog, Toto, from Kansas to Oz.

Jason slipped right into the part. "He's a very fast skater, and he spins," Rosenhauer said. Jason credits the streamers attached to his black-and-gray costume with making him a convincing funnel cloud.

"My costume looks like it's sucking things up," he said, adding that he sees only one drawback to the role. "If I'm doing a long and fast spin, I get dizzy," he said.

Other east Columbia neighbors skating in the performance are Arielle Abrams, Mikayla Abrams, Amy Adler, Ariel Andrew, Amy Beier, Amy Buckler, Alicia Buckler, Paige Elseth, Aaron Hodge, Melissa Ivestor, Stephanie Mangus, Mark Mangus Sr., Mark Mangus Jr., Alexandra North, April North, Jennifer Thorne, Sarah Thorne, Chris Thorne, Jane Thorne and Shana Weisberg. Pat Muth, head pro of Columbia Ice Rink, is the production's artistic director.

"The Wizard of Oz on Ice" will be performed at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Columbia Ice Rink in Oakland Mills Village Center. Tickets are $8.50; those under age 3 get in free.

Information and tickets: 410-799-5356.

McFund-raising

Thunder Hill Elementary School staff, students and families recently filled a McDonald's restaurant for "McEducator's Night" to raise money for the school.

About a dozen staff members - including Principal Thomas Bruner and Assistant Principal Cathy Nowack - came ready to spend two hours behind the counter serving customers March 14 in exchange for a portion of the evening's profit, first-grade teacher Charlotte Riesett said. Riesett organized the event with kindergarten teacher Donna Brackins.

The restaurant's staff modified the plan when scores of Thunder Hill families arrived for dinner.

"They were so packed, they thought we would slow things up," Riesett said. Instead, the school staff members mingled with children and families and left the serving to the pros. The evening yielded $306, which will help pay for PTA programs at the school.

Fashionable fund raising

A fashion show and luncheon fund-raiser will be held Sunday at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills. Profits from "Fashion 50-Plus for Women" will benefit the Sexual Trauma Treatment Advocacy and Recovery Center. Models will include Del. Elizabeth Bobo and Columbia Association President Maggie Brown.

Tickets for the show and lunch are $25 for Columbia residents, $30 for others, and must be purchased in advance.

Information: 410-730-4610.

Raising roses

If you've promised yourself a rose garden this spring, master gardener Paul Rutter can help. He will present a seminar, "All About Roses," from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Amherst House in Kings Contrivance village. The free lecture will cover all aspects of growing and maintaining a rose garden.

Information: 410-381-9600.

Parting words

Unlike the English gardens of her youth in Manchester, England, the yard of Beverley Meyers of the Kings Contrivance Community Association boasts nary a rose bush. "All I remember them being are thorn bushes and falling into them as a kid," she recalled. "I still have the scars to show for it!"

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