On a mission to share her love of music, art

Havre de Grace resident is a member of Arts Council

eye on harford

August 24, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,[Special to The Baltimore Sun]

Mary Boehly has a kaleidoscope view of culture.

For years, she was a spectator, enjoying the theater and musical events. Then she joined the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra, with which she performed for about eight years.

"Being a musician helped me gain an appreciation for classical music," said Boehly, 64, a retired civil service employee. "I wanted to help other people gain a similar appreciation."

She got her chance after she moved to Havre de Grace in 2004. With a strong desire to become involved with the community, she met some members of the Havre de Grace Arts Council. In 2005, she was appointed to the arts council by the city's mayor.

The mission of the 20-member group - started more than 20 years ago - is to bring culture to Havre de Grace, she said. During the past year the Maryland Boy's Choir, the U.S. Air Force Band, Olney Theater's traveling Shakespeare troupe, and Music in the Park performed in the community. In September, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform.

"The BSO was asked to perform to bring another dimension of music to the people of Havre de Grace," Boehly said. "It's important to bring a named organization that is well-respected to our community. There are people who live here who haven't left the town more than a handful of times."

In addition to the cultural arts events, Boehly oversees the Children's Art Contest and Children's Art Festival. The art contest is open to ages 3 to 9 and continues through the end of this month. The festival, which includes an exhibit of the artwork, is designed to get children excited about the arts, she said.

"Our target is families with children and dogs who come out and listen to music, or participate in the activities," Boehly said.

The events are geared to introduce people to the cultural arts, she said. Many people who live in Havre de Grace rarely think about going to Baltimore, she said. They either don't want to leave or they live in assisted-living environments and can't travel.

"The motivation in bringing the symphony to Havre de Grace is to give people an experience to hear classical music," she said. "Havre de Grace High School and Middle School both have an extensive band program. When the orchestra comes here, it gives children a chance to hear if classical music is for them or not. It also gives them a chance to see what they could do when they grow up."

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