Show to revive the heyday of the doo-wop era

Reunion: The Drifters, Orlons and Earls will be featured Sunday at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

January 16, 2003|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SUN STAFF

Musical and theatrical offerings ebb and flow over the course of a season, as do contributions from most performing arts organizations.

But at flourishing centers of culture such as Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, aesthetic "down time" is unheard of.

Take this weekend.

For baby boomer rock `n' rollers who still crave joy with their beat, Maryland Hall is presenting the "Doo Wop Reunion Show" featuring Charlie Thomas' ever-popular group, the Drifters.

This tuneful walk down memory lane at 7 p.m. Sunday comes from an enormously popular PBS show seen around the country.

The "Doo Wop Reunion" spotlights such Drifters songs as "There Goes My Baby," "This Magic Moment," "Under the Boardwalk," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway" and (my favorite) "Save the Last Dance for Me."

Also on Sunday's bill will be the Orlons with hits such as "The Wah Watusi," "Don't Hang Up," "South Street," "Not Me" and "Cross Fire," along with Larry Chance and the Earls, who'll sing "Remember Then," "I Believe," "Never" and "Life Is But a Dream."

For those more attuned to the visual realm, Maryland Hall is always available as an art gallery, and two small but lovely exhibits there are worth a look.

Eighteen paintings by Jeff Huntington are on display on the hall's third floor, and a dozen oils on linen reveal the most startlingly colorful images of birds I've ever seen.

Some of the images are so realistic that, from a distance, you'd swear they were color-enhanced photographs taken by a great nature photographer.

A northern flicker, for example, sits regally with an upraised beak and a stunningly ornate array of brown, black and gray tail feathers.

Also affecting is a richly colored yellow and black evening grosbeak whose radiant beauty stands out, even in this brilliantly decorated company.

But Huntington is no mere scribe of nature. His cedar waxwing's gray coloring plays off a pinkish background with admirable impressionistic flair.

I'm no nature boy, but this unassuming yet beautiful exhibit left me itching to grab a pair of binoculars, the better to head outside and contemplate the beauty of the real thing.

Downstairs in its Chaney Gallery, Maryland Hall is exhibiting eight sculptures by G. David Burch, all of them highly abstract images in bronze and granite.

Burch began his career as a sculptor in 1988 after retiring from Thiokol Corp. He studied sculpture at Philadelphia's University of the Arts and at Towson University and Prince George's Community College.

Clearly, his works are aimed at the viewer's subconscious, as the images and their titles (all emanating from Greek mythology, I believe) are in no way representational.

The sculptor calls them "biomorphic in the sense that they originate from creatures stored in my subconscious, genetically, from my prehistoric ancestors."

Whatever their inspiration, there's palpable strength and solidity to the pieces, especially the ones emanating from the rock formations that impart such a natural lift to the sculptor's forms.

At Maryland Hall, the arts not only come alive, they stay that way.

For tickets to Maryland Hall's "Doo Wop Reunion Show with The Drifters," call 410-263-5544, or purchase them online at www.marylandhall.org.

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