Liberty High junior's love of music noted


February 19, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MUSIC PLAYS AN integral part in the life of Liberty High School junior Leslie Dragan.

Leslie, 16, is involved with the Liberty High School String Quintet, the All State Senior Orchestra and the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra.

She combines these commitments with private lessons on three instruments - piano, violin and viola, focusing mostly on the viola. She practices an hour a day on the viola, then divides the rest of her practice time between the piano and violin.

Her mother, Valentina, attributes Leslie's love for music to Kay Tippett, the instrumental music teacher at Sykesville Middle School.

"It was Kay Tippett that lit the fire under her," Valentina Dragan said.

As a result of Tippett's passion and commitment to her pupils, the majority of those participating in the All State band and orchestra and All County band and orchestra are pupils from Sykesville Middle School, Valentina Dragan said.

On Sunday, Leslie will perform at the Baltimore Convention Center with the All State Senior Orchestra. On Feb. 27, she will perform again with the All State Senior Orchestra at Goucher College, alongside the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

Her parents see her involvement in music as a positive experience. Although the Dragan family stays very busy with rehearsals, lessons and performances, they are happy to accommodate the schedule demands of their musical daughters: Leslie's younger sister, Andrea, 14, is a member of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra, and very committed to music. She plays the piano and trombone.

The Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra, in its 25th season, consists of about 30 musicians in grades eight through 12. The organization is dedicated to fostering a lifelong love of music among its members, and provides opportunities for young musicians to perform with area professionals. Membership is by audition and the group meets every Sunday to rehearse for three hours on the campus of Essex Community College.

Leslie auditioned for the youth orchestra in August, competing with musicians from Maryland and Pennsylvania. She describes the group as very comfortable and professional, and enjoys the direction of Jason Love, who has directed the group for five years.

The youth orchestra performs six to eight times a year. Its season finale will be held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on May 26. Leslie will perform a solo concerto with orchestra accompaniment that day, and looks forward to the opportunity.

"I intend to major in music in college, and pursue another major in addition to that," Leslie said. "Whatever major I choose, I could never stop playing music."

Cheerleading competition

Century High School will serve as host of a cheerleading competition from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the school gym.

Five varsity squads and six junior varsity squads from six Carroll County high schools will compete. Exhibition squads from Century High and Sykesville Raider Competition Squad will perform.

Mary Anne Hoffman, coach of Century High's "A" team, said the routines will be two minutes,15 seconds long.

Squads will begin assembling at 7 a.m., and performances begin at 9 a.m.

The school is at 355 Ronsdale Road.

Information: 410-386-4400.

New assistant principal

Century High School has a new assistant principal, Dwayne Piper, formerly assistant principal of South Carroll High.

Piper has an extensive background in special education, and will share responsibilities with Assistant Principal Carol Swomley.

Piper was on hand at a Century High School orientation meeting at Sykesville Middle School on Feb. 12 to explain the new high school academies to parents of middle school pupils who will enter Century next year.

He was surprised by the large attendance of the meeting.

Piper and Swomley fielded many questions from parents about the academies.

Century High is the first high school in Carroll County to adopt the academy structure.

Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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