CENTRAL COUNTY audiences are accustomed to excellence when it comes to theatrical and musical productions. On any given night, one can attend a presentation by the Navy Band, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Colonial Players, Annapolis Summer Garden Theater or the Annapolis Chorale.
It's only natural that youngsters exposed to this level of talent are inspired to practice, practice, practice, with the hope of distinguishing themselves in the the performing arts.
Through talent and dedication to her instrument, 17-year-old violist Dorothy Couper, a senior at Severna Park High School, earned the opportunity to play last month on the stage of Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, a setting most teen-agers only dream about.
She was there to audition to become a student member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, an experience she describes as "really exciting and really intimidating."
Apparently not too intimidating, however. Standing alone on the stage in the vast auditorium, Dorothy impressed the judges enough to be selected to perform with the BSO during its "Side by Side" concerts in late February and early March at the Meyerhoff.
The daughter of William and Elise Couper, Dorothy began playing the viola in third grade at Jones Elementary and for the past four years has been part of the orchestra at Severna Park High, directed by R. Thomas Powell.
Dorothy, who also enjoys English and history, plans to major in music in college. She has applied to several schools and is waiting for replies. She said she is most hoping to hear from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Violinist Brian Walker, a Severna Park High senior, also was chosen to audition for the BSO series.
Also in the spotlight are vocalists. Tenor Jathan Biddlecomb, a senior at Severna Park High; alto Eileen Keck, a junior at the school; and Severn School seniors Clayton McCarl, bass, and Carrie Ponder, soprano have been named to the 2002 International Honor Ensembles.
The vocalists will perform for the 58th annual Conference of the National Association for Music Education and the National Music Honor Society in Nashville, Tenn., in April.
The four teen-agers are among 185 high school juniors and seniors from the United States and Europe selected based on audition tapes, teacher recommendations and musical resumes. The singers will receive copies of their music for the conference in January and are expected to know the material when they arrive in Nashville.
After four rehearsal-packed days, Charlene Archibeque of San Jose State University in California will direct the chorus in a performance that is considered by many to be the highlight of the conference.
Severna Park High senior Lauren Wineholt, who plays viola, was chosen for the International Honor Orchestra.
The students expect the experience to be intense and exciting. "You learn as much from the other musicians as you do from the conductor," said Clayton.
To hear this talent, attend Severna Park High's vocal ensemble production "Sing America," a patriotic performance paying tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in September, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the school. Admission is free, but donations to the American Red Cross will be accepted.
The school's fall instrumental concert will be presented Nov. 15, and the annual holiday concert will be presented Dec. 20. Information: 410-544-0900.
A comic bunny tale
If the roar of the audience is your kind of music, you'll want to be present when the curtain rises on the Spalding Theatre's fall production of Harvey.
The three-act comedy by Mary Chase is directed by Lucinda Merry-Brown, a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City who combines directing with acting and teaching drama. The cast includes 24 Archbishop Spalding High School students.
Senior Andrew Publicover of Crofton as Elwood P. Dowd, the man who communes with an invisible 6-foot tall rabbit named Harvey. Also starring are senior Kathryn Flynn of Edgewater as Veta Louise Simmons, senior Regina Pentazis of Cheverly as Myrtle Mae and sophomore Wyatt Unger of Crownsville as Wilson.
The evening performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. A matinee is scheduled 2 p.m. Nov. 17. All performances will be at Archbishop Spalding High School, 8080 New Cut Road in Severn.
Tickets are $5 and are available at the door. Information: 410-969-9105, Ext. 302.