Children's programs mix fun, education

Puppet show, dancers reading programs offered

July 14, 2004|By Brian Patterson | Brian Patterson,SUN STAFF

Doris the Stegosaurus, Sam the Triceratops, Big Bad Baby Rex and Danny Diploducus are baby dinosaurs that love to entertain as well as educate.

Doris always trusts her instincts and stays close to her parents. Sam plays with reckless abandon and crashes into things. Danny and Big Bad Baby Rex are little dinosaurs who could learn a thing or two about manners.

They are all the star puppets of Dinorock: Baby Dinosaurs, an interactive musical puppet show that was the first in a series of concerts for children being held this summer at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.

About 250 children of grade school age sang along with the performers, laughed and called out answers. The hidden agenda of the program is to provide education for children during the summer.

"Of course, we don't tell the kids that," said Sandy Oxx, director of the summer program. "We want the summer program to be entertaining, but educational. It's more than just fun and games."

This series' second year will include six more children's shows this summer. They will be held every Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon. The July 22 performance, the next one that is not sold out, is Nada Brahma Productions: World of Music & Dance, another interactive program that explores the role music plays in world cultures and ethnic traditions.

Last year, nearly every show sold out. Oxx expects the same this summer.

"I think that the sold-out shows are a strong signal from the community that we are doing the right thing," said Oxx. "There are a lot of kids who aren't into sports or who have been at the pool for 900 hours this summer. This provides something else for them to do."

The Child Development Center at Carroll Community College also is giving children a chance to experience something different during their summer break. The Summer Performing Arts Series started June 24 with Magpie, a musical performance based on historical, literary and environmental themes.

"I try to bring in cultural and artistic acts that are appealing to children for these shows," said Nancy Gregg, the center's coordinator.

Tomorrow at the college, members of the Liz Derman Dance Exchange will perform Wild Thing!, a rendition of the classic children's story. The performance teaches children how to watch a dance and how to search a story for metaphor and symbolism. The dance group appealed to Gregg because of its "unique adaptation of literature," she said.

Storyteller Baba Jamal Koram will wrap up the series at the college Aug. 5 with an act that explores the history of African and African-American cultures through folk tales, African drumming, fables and songs.

"We felt that there was a need in Carroll County for diversity exposure, and one of the primary goals of this series is to promote that," said Gregg. "It is also important to focus on bringing acts that represent diversity, like Baba Jamal Koram, to the area."

Oxx agrees that children in Carroll County lack exposure to varied entertainment. In a mostly rural area such as Carroll, there are few places for children to visit that provide cultured, diverse and creative entertainment, she said, unlike urban areas such as Baltimore and Washington.

The program at the Carroll Arts Center also teaches children proper performance etiquette, such as not standing up or talking during the shows.

"There isn't a better place to learn than with 250 other kids," said Oxx.

The Carroll County public library system is offering two programs for children. "Readers Rules" is for fifth-graders, and younger, and "Say What? What Teens Want to Know" for older children.

Libraries will hold story times and events including a magic show with Roger Lindsay at the Taneytown branch at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Tickets for the shows at the Carroll Arts Center are $5, except $4 for groups of 10 or more. The center is at 91 W. Main St. in downtown Westminster. For ticket information, call 410-848-7272.

Tickets for the performing arts series at Carroll Community College are $5 for the remaining two shows. Shows are in the college's Scott Center, 1601 Washington Road in Westminster. Call 410-386- 8470 for tickets.

For information about library events, call 410-386-4488.

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