Four young musicians invited to Boston to take their music `From the Top'


February 04, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MICHAEL WATTS, a 14- year-old freshman at Centennial High School, recently spent a weekend in Boston recording a segment that will be heard on National Public Radio. Michael, a cello player who lives in Ellicott City, will be featured on From the Top, a weekly showcase of young classical musicians that is heard on nearly 300 radio stations throughout the nation. Locally, the hourlong show is heard on WETA (90.9 FM) at 7 p.m. Sundays.

Michael and the other members of his string quartet played the first movement of Dvorak's "American" Quartet for the show. They were interviewed by host Christopher O'Riley, a concert pianist and recording artist. The other members of the quartet are violinist Molly Baer of Reisterstown, violinist Benjamin Detrick of Seven Valleys, Pa., and viola player Nicholas Mauro of York, Pa. All are in ninth grade.

"The whole group was interviewed," said Michael's mother, Lisa Watts. "Each person got a chance to talk."

The members of the quartet got together about two years ago, Lisa said. The young people met through Collette Wichert, who teaches violin to Michael's sister Emily, a fifth-grader at Centennial Lane Elementary School.

Musical ability runs in the Watts family. Michael's father, Donald Watts, teaches music theory at Towson University and gives private cello lessons to Michael and other students.

Members of the quartet submitted a recording to the show and later found out they had been accepted. "They just called us and said we would be on," Lisa said.

The quartet, plus their parents, traveled to Boston and spent the weekend there. The show was taped Jan. 13 at the New England Conservatory of Music, Lisa said. Famed cellist Yo Yo Ma was recording at the conservatory the day before, and the young musicians got to see him rehearse and then tape a show, although they did not meet him.

High-tech education

Congratulations to Tony Miceli, who teaches sixth- and eighth-grade mathematics at Burleigh Manor Middle School.

The Howard County public school system honored Miceli with the Outstanding Technology-Using Educator Award for the year, as part of a contest sponsored by the Maryland Instructional Computers Coordinators Association.

Miceli and Maryland's other county-level winners will be recognized at a MICCA conference to be held in Baltimore next month, when a winner at the state level will be chosen.

Miceli was nominated by David Lee, Gifted and Talented Program resource teacher for Burleigh Manor. Among other accomplishments, Miceli established an Internet stock market club and a CyberSurfari Club that helps pupils find and use educational sites on the Internet.

Miceli also integrates computers into his math classes and wrote a paper called "Integrating Technology into Instruction," which he presented to other technology leaders in Howard County.

Mardi Gras event

Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ellicott City is planning a Mardi Gras celebration designed to help children understand the traditions behind Shrove Tuesday.

Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40 days of Lent. Because Lent is a time of abstinence, the traditional purpose of Shrove Tuesday is to use up the meat, eggs and dairy products in the pantry.

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, children will celebrate Shrove Tuesday on Feb. 12 with a lunch of pancakes and sausages. Then they will make masks, string beads, play games and compete in pancake races. For dessert, traditional Mardi Gras King Cakes, decorated with purple, green and gold sugar, will be served.

"Just as any family wants their children to appreciate family and ethnic customs and traditions, we want the children of our school to appreciate their rich Catholic heritage," Principal Nancy Malloy said in a news release. "Mardi Gras should mean more to the children than just the secular celebrations they see on TV. Our celebration will give them an opportunity to learn about it and appreciate it in a special way."

Howard open house

Parents and caretakers of Howard High School students are invited to a "Back-to-school" night at 7 tomorrow. The event is held every fall and winter to give parents a chance to meet their children's teachers and learn about the students' education.

The open house will start in the auditorium and then parents may visit classrooms.

Starting school

Hollifield Station Elementary School will register children for kindergarten and first grade. Registration is for those who are new to Hollifield.

To qualify, prospective kindergartners must be 5 years old as of Dec. 31, and prospective first-graders must be 6 as of Dec. 31.

Registration will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 25 through March 1, and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 27. Parents or guardians must bring two items to verify the child's address, a photo identification and the child's Social Security number and immunization records.

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