A swinging good time

October 04, 2000

A swinging good time

By KEVIN CLAPP / Staff Writer

MSO Pops! Radio Days

Saturday, Oct. 7

8 p.m.

The Maryland Theatre

21 S. Potomac St.

Limited seating is still available.

Call 301-797-4000 for information.

The sounds of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey swing out from the radio. A pair of suspenders crisply thwack into place. A new fancy hat matches a good dress perfectly for a night on the town.



The whole world is suddenly awash in black and white, a bygone era when World War II raged in Europe and Asia, and relaxation, when possible, was to the sounds of a big band beat.

Those were the days, and Maryland Symphony Orchestra is bringing them back, for one night only on Saturday at 8 p.m.

The Maryland Theatre will provide the backdrop for MSO Pops! Radio Days. Featuring Five by Design, a touring quintet from St. Paul-Minneapolis, the nearly sold-out evening will include singing and skits meant to transport the audience into the past.

"It's what you would hear if you were in the 1940s during World War II," says MSO music director Elizabeth Schulze. "This is a time when the only media, the only connection to the world was through the radio, not only news but entertainment."

In vintage clothing Five by Design mixes song, comic skits, jingles and a touch of patriotism to recreate this time period. Since 1995, the quintet has made more than 80 appearances with orchestras across the country.

Remembering the group from a stint in Buffalo, N.Y., Schulze jumped at the chance to schedule it this season. After presenting a Broadway-themed program last fall, she says this was a good way to mix up MSO's program and recreate a golden age of music.

"It's just, I think, a winner time when popular music hit its stride and matched its time very well," Schulze says.

For older members of the audience, Radio Days should take them back to their youth. For younger adults and children, the performance will hopefully open their eyes to an era before television and computers.

And the music is fun for the orchestra to play, Schulze says. Coupled with the fun atmosphere created by Five by Design - Lorie Carpenter-Niska, Catherine Farr, Kurt Niska, Michael Swedberg and Terrence Niska - the evening should end up as a toe-tapping pleasure.

"It's as if you're turning the dial on a day during World War II," Schulze says.

Using that imagination to envision yourself in front of a radio is something Schulze says she hopes people will take away from Saturday's performance. And if they leave wanting to listen to more Big Band music, even better.

"I hope they leave whistling and clicking their fingers," she says. "I hope they leave with an impression of a time when music and words and imagination was all they had to create an entertaining evening. I hope they will have been transported for a few hours."

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