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Snow no match for Mozart's attraction

January 25, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Freezing temperatures and the task of shoveling snow didn't keep many Maryland Symphony Orchestra fans from showing up for Saturday's "All Mozart" concert at The Maryland Theatre.

Frank Thomas, 76, of Hagerstown, said he was attending the concert "as long as I could shovel the car out." Thomas kept his head warm with a thick Russian fur hat.

He drove his friend, Madolyn McAbee, to the concert.

McAbee, 70, of Hagerstown, studied Mozart in opera classes she took last year at Frederick (Md.) Community College.

"We intended to be here unless there's a blizzard," McAbee said.

Saturday's snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches in the Tri-State area were not forecast, so many people had switched their tickets from this afternoon, which had a more intimidating forecast of snow and sleet, to Saturday night, MSO Executive Director Jean Hamilton said.

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Though Saturday's concert featuring guest pianist Noel Lester was sold out, there still were some empty seats.

Larry and Blanche Sharpe usually attend the Sunday matinee, but attended Saturday night's performance because of the weather forecast. They made the concert Saturday, despite 9 inches of snow in Wolfsville in Frederick County, Md., said Larry Sharpe, 81.

"We went to great lengths to make this," said Blanche Sharpe, 79.

Sharpe said she packed two days' worth of clothes so the couple could stay at the Plaza Hotel until today or Monday in case of inclement weather.

Having missed some winter concerts, Sharpe said the couple doesn't think lightly about forfeiting the $80 cost per concert.

"We're very fond of Mozart. And Larry, particularly, is a music lover," Sharpe said.

Sharpe said her husband plays the clarinet for the New Horizons Band, a band for senior citizens.

"He's not good, but his heart's in it," she said. "It's a wonderful thing for older people."

Boonsboro resident Louise Richardson said she wasn't too sure Saturday morning about making the symphony concert, but then the sun came out.

She also had the help of friend Elaine Michael, who drove her to the concert, Richardson said.

"When you're 84 and you come out for something like this, you know it's going to be good," Richardson said.

Hagerstown resident Beverly Hessel, 71, said she shoveled her driveway at 7:45 a.m. in hopes of making Saturday night's concert.

"I've been a member now for about 13 years and I just love to come to the symphony," Hessel said.

Jeannette Lewis worked in the MSO office Saturday afternoon, so she knew many people were wondering whether the concert would still go on, she said.

Lewis, 49, of Hedgesville, W.Va., met her nephew, Wayne Ward, 29, of Martinsburg, W.Va., for the concert.

"I enjoy Mozart. I'm looking more forward to the Beethoven," Ward said.

Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 will be featured at the February MasterWorks concert, according to the MSO's Web site at www.marylandsymphony.org.

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