A nearly historic good time


February 25, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

Fried oysters, oysters on the half shell, oyster stew, steamed shrimp, pit beef, sausages and peppers. And lots and lots of beer.

Who knew history could be so much fun?

Some 200 supporters of the Friends of Fort McHenry, that's who. Braving frigid temperatures and icy streets, they gathered at Nick's Seafood in Cross Street Market for the Friends' annual Bull and Oyster Roast.

"This is quintessential Baltimore - oysters and beer," said Vince Vaise, the fort's chief ranger.

"I haven't tried everything yet, but the oyster stew is very good," said Gay Vietzke, fort superintendent.

"The raw oysters are to die for," added fort curator Anna Von Lunz to fellow guest Charlie Klein.

"The oysters and the beer are my favorites," said Mike Grier, president of Village Management.

It wasn't just the food that made the night. Lots of folks had come with friends to enjoy the evening's comfortable atmosphere.

"The camaraderie [here] is great," noted Towson attorney Mike Lawlor to his wife Chris.

"This is awesome," said Trip Bailey, Friends board chair. "I love that it's more of a neighborhood thing."

That "neighborhood" even included some McHenry "residents" - volunteer re-enactors in colonial garb. "Soldiers" Frank Vogel and Chris Bradyhouse particularly enjoyed the evening's beverage, albeit in very modern plastic glasses.

"When we're working at Fort McHenry, I purchase near beer and we drink it out of tankards," said fort "tavern owner" Wendy Taparanskas. "This is much more fun."

A Drink With Tom Hall

Life is a song - or, at least, it should be

Tom Hall, 52, is the music director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. Hall lives in Reservoir Hill with wife Linell Smith, a Sun staff writer, daughter Miranda, 18, and beagle, Rosie.

This year marks the 25th year that you've been music director at Baltimore Choral Arts.

Yes. They hired me when I was 12.

In your line of work, is that a long time to be in one place?

It's not unprecedented. There are probably a dozen of us around the country who have spent most of our careers with one organization.

Are you tired of it?

No, especially because during those 25 years, I've done other things in addition to Choral Arts. ... I worked for the opera for 10 years. I got a doctorate. I used to travel a lot and guest conduct. Now I'm working at WYPR.

You're not only celebrating your 25th year with BCAS this year, you're also celebrating your 20th wedding anniversary. What are your secrets of success in both those areas?

Our marriage is definitely helped by the fact that each of us has interesting work. ... I think the things outside our marriage - our friends and our jobs - are a great source of commonality. That's what we talk about. We delight in each other's successes. ... [With my job,] I think it has to do with just plain luck. And audiences' willingness to listen.

What does music mean to you?

As a musician, I can connect with audiences and I can also help other people connect with each other. ... There is nothing like a great song.

What, to you, is a great song?

"Yesterday," by Paul McCartney. ... The "Agnus Dei" from the B Minor Mass by Bach, ... the last chorus of the Brahms Requiem, ... "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck.

Do you listen to music when you're by yourself?

No, because I can't listen casually. ... When I'm home alone, I will play music by myself. I'll play the piano or the guitar.

Do you have a favorite type of music?

No. I'm interested in what any musician has to say. I'm open to what everybody's doing.

Is there any music you hate?

Gangsta rap. It's repugnant. And polkas. You put on a polka, and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. That, and the theme song from Entertainment Tonight. I think it stinks.




25th Anniversary Gala Benefits Paul's Place


Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Light St.


6:30 p.m.




410-625-0775, Ext. 20 or paulsplaceoutreach.org


Benefits Historic Charles Street Association


Tremont Grand Hotel, 222 St. Paul Place


7:30 p.m.




410-332-4144 or charlesstreet.net

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