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Children's opera coming to Kepler Theater

May 18, 2000

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, May 20, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Kepler Theater

Hagerstown Community College

11400 Robinwood Drive

Hagerstown

Free

It is recommended for grades three through eight.

To reserve tickets, call 301-790-2800, ext. 668.



The Symphony Music Center of Hagerstown Community College will present the Baltimore Opera Company production of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," part of the Kinder Konzert series, sponsored by Washington County Arts Council and Hagerstown Trust. The children's opera version of Washington Irving's novel was composed by David Gooding.

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Most of the Kinder Konzerts are on weekdays to attract school groups. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will be on Saturday so families may attend.

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

Hearing kids scream warnings to the Three Little Pigs about his big, bad Wolf character was fun for baritone Troy Clark, who performed the role last year during a Kinder Konzert at Valley Mall.

cont. from lifestyle

Clark, 31, returns in Baltimore Opera Company's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Saturday, May 20, at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Clark, who admitted that his goal in the opera studio was to move his career ahead, enjoys performing for young audiences. He will portray Brom Van Brunt, Ichabod Crane's rival.

BOC's Baltimore Opera Studio, a postgraduate training program, prepares young singers for opera careers, according to the opera company's Web site. About 15,000 students see performances each year, said Helen Stevens, BOC's education coordinator.

Hagerstown resident Siobhan Scro and her boys Sean, 5, and Connor, 3, saw "The Three Little Pigs." They loved it, Scro said. The performance was very professional - despite the fact that the audience of preschoolers sat on the floor at Valley Mall.

The Scros plan to attend "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," although it is recommended for children in grades three through eight. Siobhan Scro bought a children's version of the story last fall. She read it to them, and she believes they can handle the material. Sean has a taste for the macabre and loves the "Star Wars" legend and films, Scro said. And she will be right there with them, as she is in the Music for Kids classes offered at Hagerstown Community College.

The boys have been in the classes taught by Katherine "Kate" Levy, music program coordinator for HCC's noncredit Center for Continuing Education. Levy is administrator of the Symphony Music Center, a collaboration between the college and the Hagerstown-based Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

Patti Jones also attends HCC's music classes with her children - Maria, 6, Patrick, 4, and William, who will be a year old in June. "I love that the parents can do it with them," she said. She learns along with her kids, and they practice together at home.

Having the parents learn with the children is a key component of the program, according to Levy. Children can learn by attending class once a week, but the benefits are doubled, tripled, even quadrupled if the learning is reinforced with the parents at home, Levy believes.

In the past couple of years, there have been headlines on the developmental benefits of babies listening to classical music - the so-called "Mozart effect." Research has shown many advantages, including higher SAT scores and improved abstract reasoning, for kids who study music.

Levy believes in the benefits of studying music and "the earlier the better." But even without those advantages, studying "music for music's sake" would still be great, she said.

Why have Jones and her children taken music classes for the past three years?

"Because the kids love it," she said.

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