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Bob the Vid Tech plays to his audience

May 03, 2001

Bob the Vid Tech plays to his audience


At two weeks of age, Kassidy Rae Berdine probably was the youngest concertgoer at The Maryland Theatre Saturday. She slept through most of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra performance, and that was OK.

After the show, her big sister, Emily, 2, gave her a kiss and moved to the front of the theater to line up for an autograph from Maryland Public Television personality Bob the Vid Tech. Emily wanted to meet the host of MPT's KidWorks children's programming, said her mother, Joanne Berdine of Falling Waters, W.Va.

Bob the Vid Tech, also known as Bob Heck, was in town for the orchestra's family concert. In his trademark aqua jacket, he roamed the theater and greeted his Vid Kid fans before the performance.


At 3 p.m., when the audience was settled in its seats - or on laps - MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze thanked them for coming to the concert on such a beautiful day and for bringing their parents with them.

Bob the Vid Tech received a warm welcome from his audience, many of whom were younger than 5.

The program opened with "Gerald McBoing Boing," Dr. Seuss' story of Gerald McCloy, a little boy who can only utter sound effects when he tries to talk.

The Emmy Award-winning Heck narrated, using different voices and accents for different characters. Gerald's voice was provided on a variety of drums, cymbals and other instruments by Julie Angelis, MSO's acting principal percussionist. When Angelis broke loose with an extended solo, Heck stood back to watch, at one point mouthing an appreciative "wow."

Steve and Betsy Prescott of Vienna, Va., followed their 2-year-old daughter out of the theater after "McBoing Boing." Shannon made it through 40 minutes, her mother said.

Did she like the concert?

"Mmhmmm," Shannon hummed affirmatively from behind her yellow pacifier.

Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" was next on the program. With help from Schulze and MSO musicians, Bob the Vid Tech was introduced to the orchestra's different sections and tried out some of the instruments.

"I studied at the esteemed Henny Youngman Institute," he said in a hoity-toity voice after his brief performance on the viola. "I used to hang out with Prokofiev," he said - to more laughs even from little kids who could not possibly have understood a joke intended for their parents.

Saturday was the first MSO concert for 2 1/2-year-old Lydia Radley of Hagerstown.

"Maybe her last," joked her father, Michael Radley, holding her at the back of the theater during the Britten piece.

When the orchestra played again, Lydia joined her friend, Jason Marinelli, 3, marching in circles in time to the music.

Heck conducted the orchestra in the gallop from Rossini's "William Tell Overture." Schulze announced that the tempo would be "allegro vivace" - that's Italian for brisk, sprightly and spirited - a tempo well suited to Bob the Vid Tech. He didn't miss a beat.

The orchestra wrapped up the concert with John Williams' "Cowboys Overture" and Heck returned for more autographs, inviting the audience to stay while the MPT crew taped more footage for Bob the Vid Tech's next "field trip," a half-hour children's special, "Vid Kid: Music to My Ears."

Parts of Saturday's performance will be part of that program, expected to air in September.

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