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Concert strikes chord with kids

March 07, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Children of all ages clapped, laughed and sang along Saturday afternoon at the fourth annual Stories in Music family concert by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra at The Maryland Theatre.

But before the concert began, youngsters were met at the door by Maryland Public Television celebrity Bob the Vid Tech, who wowed them with his flamboyant style and free gifts.

Elena Smidt of Sharpsburg and her daughter, Amanda Frey, 7, were excited about the music - seeing Bob the Vid Tech was just gravy.

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"I like the clarinet and then the piano," Amanda said as she made her way into the theater with her mother. "It's nice how the music sounds."

Smidt said this was the second year in a row that they have attended and it is a treat they look forward to.

The MSO, conducted by Elizabeth Schulze, took the stage and personally invited Bob the Vid Tech to welcome the children and their parents. Members of the MSO youth guild joined him in kicking off the concert with "The Alphabet Song."

Then, the tales of John Henry and Paul Bunyan, and "The Doll Song" were presented by Bob the Vid Tech and Niki Perini, co-chairman of the MSO youth guild.

"We are new to this area, having moved here from Southern Maryland - there's nothing like this there," said Patricia Ducharme, who attended Saturday's concert with her husband, Serge, and their son, Jeffrey, 10.

Bob Heck has served as Maryland Public Television's energetic Bob the Vid Tech since 1992, bringing educational lessons to kids in his trademark green jacket, purple shirt and snazzy ties as host of "MPT KidWorks."

"I travel all around Maryland showing kids that learning can be fun," Heck said prior to the concert. He was outside encouraging patrons and others to give food donations to Food Resources Inc. which held a food drive to benefit local families in need.

The Food Resources van was parked in front of the theater from 3 to 5 p.m. to collect nonperishable edibles and grocery store gift cards. Ruth Anne Callaham, executive director of Food Resources, and several volunteers braved the brisk winds to get the job done.

"We have two cages in the van, each of which can hold 500 pounds of food," Callaham said. "We're hoping to fill them both."

When all was weighed, more than 800 pounds of food had been donated along with some cash, Callaham said.

Diane Baker, a volunteer from First Data, was on hand with her son, Brandon, 12, who got to load the food on the van as motorists drove by with their donations. Selena, a Lite 97.5 radio personality, also lent her support to the effort.

But when the show started, attention was diverted to the stage and all were prepared to have a great time.

"I'm very excited and am looking forward to the music," said 9-year-old Ariana Heim as she hurried in to get a seat.

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