Talent Machine alum David Grindrod, now a cast member of "A… (Bud Johnson, Special to…)
During his five-day Thanksgiving holiday return to Severna Park, David Grindrod might actually have had two homecomings. The performer, 20, was on break from his role as Mark in the national "A Chorus Line" tour when he returned to his Talent Machine roots to rehearse the young cast of dancers for the troupe's holiday show.
Interviewed during a brief rehearsal break the day before he returned to Richmond, Va., for a performance, Grindrod — the youngest Mark ever cast by this tour of "A Chorus Line" — said, "I have to do this because this is how I got there."
A member of Talent Machine from age 7 to 19, Grindrod said he was discovered at age 7 by its founder, Bobbi Smith, who died in 2001.
Her often-stated "catch the energy" creed is now integral to his philosophy. "What I learned here helped me get the 'Chorus Line' role, and another Talent Machine alum is also in this show." (Karley Willocks was chosen to play Maggie.)
Grindrod confided, "When I'm in a mood, I pull out a dance from 'Frosty Follies' or another Talent Machine Christmas show, and it makes me feel better." He clearly knew how to make the youngsters rehearsing feel better as he coached them through their complex choreography.
Talent Machine present "A Jolly Holiday" on Dec. 17-23 at Key Auditorium on the campus of St. John's College. TM's cast, ages 6 to 18, will bring to life Frosty, Rudolf, dancing bears, trees and other characters. Information and tickets: TalentMachine.com.
Other holiday events
•An assortment of holiday events awaits, starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, when JoAnn Kulesza conducts the Arundel Vocal Arts Society in "A Magnificent Christmas," featuring John Rutter's "Magnificat" along with Christmas carols, Eastport United Methodist Church, 926 Bay Ridge Ave. Tickets are $15, free for children and can be purchased at the church.
•Also at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, Annapolis Opera offers "Gifts from Grand Opera," featuring stellar soloists conducted by artistic director Ronald Gretz at First Presbyterian Church, 144 Conduit St., Annapolis. Tickets: $40 available at the church.
•Another resident company of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts that is offering holiday performances is the Annapolis Chorale under J. Ernest Green, music director of Live Arts Maryland. Together they will present three performances of Handel's "Messiah." Shows are at 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, 199 Duke of Gloucester St. Tickets are $15-$40. Call 410-280-5640.
•Also under Live Arts Maryland, Green will conduct the Annapolis Chorale and Youth Chorus with the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists in two "Celebration of Christmas" concerts at Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 and at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10. Tickets are $15-$45. Call 410-280-5640.
•At Maryland Hall, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will present a holiday pops program featuring The Capitol Quartet, a Washington, D.C.-based saxophone foursome performing swinging holiday tunes, 8 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $12-$47. Call 410-263-0907.
•Ballet Theatre of Maryland will present "Nutcracker" performances at Maryland Hall on Saturday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 12, 18 and 19, as well as special shows with Sugar Plum parties at noon and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19. Prices and times vary. Tickets: marylandhall.org.
•Standing O at Chesapeake Academy's Black-Box Theater has scheduled four performances of "A Christmas Story" at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12. The show is based on the 1983 movie of the same name, about a boy growing up in the 1940s Midwest who wants a BB gun for Christmas. The theater is at 1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Arnold. Tickets: 410-647-8412.
•A likely sell-out is the "Hack and Slash Christmas Special," Dec. 17-19 on the main stage at Chesapeake Arts Center Hammonds Lane Theatre. Food and clothing donations are requested, and the audience is encourage to wear pajamas. Times and prices vary. Tickets: hackandslash.com.
•Also at Chesapeake Arts Center will be a rededication ceremony and holiday music concert featuring the U.S. Naval Academy Band in celebration of recent improvements made to the facility. The show is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. Free and open to the public.
•To complete the holiday festivities, New Year's Annapolis, formerly First Night, will include performances at various downtown locations by Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale and Ballet Theatre of Maryland among others. The celebration drew more than 7,000 people last year for its concerts and fireworks displays at 7:30 pm and midnight. Information: newyearsannapolis.org.