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March 25, 2009

Good news from Handel Choir and Children's Choir

Back in December, things looked grim at the Handel Choir of Baltimore. Staff cuts and other cost-reduction measures were made; there was some doubt about getting through all of the planned spring season. And the Children's Choir that had been founded and operated by the Handel Choir faced dissolution. Now, things are looking up.

Melinda O'Neal, who has steadily improved the Handel Choir as artistic director over the past five years, reports that there has been "an unprecedented outpouring of support from loyal audience members, singers, board members and [patrons] old and new." So the May 3 concert (featuring Haydn's powerful Mass in Time of War) will proceed as planned, and the organization should be able to approach its 75th anniversary next season in good shape.

When the Handel Choir decided it could no longer afford to keep the Children's Choir under its wing (the news came just before the kids were to sing a holiday concert, prompting some tears), it seemed like curtains for the young group. But the parents rallied and found a way to keep the choir going. They formed the Baltimore Children’s Choir Inc. and raised the money to retain the choir director and accompanist, as well as to continue providing scholarships for some of the choristers. All the administrative work is now being done by volunteers. In addition to performing around the area on its own, the new Children's Choir will continue to collaborate with the Handel Choir, including the latter's May program, as originally scheduled.

Auditions for the Children's Choir (ages 8-18) are being held Monday afternoons at First English Lutheran Church, 39th and Charles streets. For more information, call 410-753-2958.

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:15 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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