High school's holiday classic opens tonight


November 30, 2001|By Peg Adamarczk | Peg Adamarczk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GETTING ON WITH life has become a patriotic duty this holiday season. But while many neighbors have been busy hanging more lights than ever this year or packing the malls trying to turn the economy around, it does not yet feel like Christmas.

A few white flakes couldn't hurt, but there are other ways to jump-start your holiday celebrations. One might be to take in the Chesapeake High School theater group's performance of the Frank Capra holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life tonight or tomorrow in the school auditorium, 4798 Mountain Road.

CHS student Ron Young plays George Bailey, the ordinary guy from Bedford Falls who reacts to a potential scandal by contemplating suicide. A dimwitted guardian angel named Clarence, played by Lauren Hogue, arrives in the nick of time and shows George what life would have been like had he never been born.

In the end, George emerges from his despair and realizes that the life he had was wonderful.

Jennifer Kohlhafer plays George's wife, Mary. Christie Voith portrays Mother Bailey and Hank Metzler plays George's brother, Harry.

With a cast and crew of more than 60, other roles will be played by ChrisAnn Livingston, Marty Schmidt, Lindsey Grieb, Julie Wheeler, Christopher Uhl, Heather Schmidt, Scott Reichert, Paul Schaughency, Heather Arnold, Amy Voith, Tabitha Sizemore, Laura Mouncey, Brent Mullen, Carrie Wood, Mindy Barrigar, Josh Meredith, Stephen Baguley, Amber Venanzi and Ray Bowen.

Cody Sizemore, a seventh-grader from Chesapeake Bay Middle School, and Katelyn Riegger, a fifth-grader from Pasadena Elementary School, will play George's two young children, Tommy and Zuzu Bailey.

Crew managers for this production include Christina Cordle, Brent Mullen, Becky Robley, Sarah Silanskis and Danielle White.

CHS senior Christie Voith serves as student assistant director.

"Our play not only celebrates the season, it also celebrates the American philosophy of life - that hard work, fair play and the love and support of family and friends will be rewarded," said Karen Simmons, a Chesapeake teacher who is the troupe's adviser.

Her husband, Tim Simmons, a county schools piano technician, is the director and crew adviser for the production.

Show time both nights is 7 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children under 11 and seniors 65 and older.

Proceeds from the production will benefit the CHS theater group.

Information: 410-255-5234.

Train garden on display

If a play isn't your thing, then a visit to Emmanuel Lutheran Church's ninth annual train garden fund-raiser at Glen Burnie Mall might be just the thing to spark a little holiday magic. The garden is on display through Dec. 23.

The garden is a church project begun in 1992 by the Rev. John Douglas, a former pastor at the Pasadena church. Congregation members and other volunteers help build the displays and garden giveaways, operate the trains and sell raffle tickets that benefit the North County Emergency Outreach Network.

Pat Fornoff, a longtime garden volunteer, said creating the garden and expanding its scenery is a labor of love for the volunteers, many of whom return year after year.

Building and maintaining the garden involves hundreds of hours throughout the year, but the fund-raiser would not be an annual success without the volunteers who staff the garden at the mall and help sell raffle tickets.

"More than 150 people of all ages volunteer to work the garden at the mall," Fornoff said.

The large train garden, a 16-by-24-foot display, is inside Glen Burnie Mall, 6711 Ritchie Highway. It is open during mall hours.

The church also presents smaller train displays at Lauer's IGA store on Edwin Raynor Boulevard and at the Medicine Shoppe on Fort Smallwood Road, through New Year's Day.

The grand prize in the raffle is a 4-by-6-foot Christmas train display. "It's all wired, decorated and ready to put under the winner's Christmas tree," Fornoff said.

Ten other prizes, including gift certificates and games, will also be awarded.

Raffle tickets are $1 each or seven for $5. The drawing will take place Dec. 23 at the Glen Burnie Mall. Winners do not have to be present.

Information: 410-768-3573.

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