Monday, February 3, 2014

AACCA To Host Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns At SPHS

By: Amanda Donohue
Published in the January 8 edition of the Severna Park Voice

Anthony Kearns, a member of the world-renowned musical group Irish Tenor, will perform a solo concert on Thursday, January 16, at Severna Park High School as part of the Anne Arundel Community Concert Association (AACCA) season.

Kearns was given the name of “Best Irish Tenor” in the U.S., U.K. and European Union in 2010 by the Irish Music Association. He has been exposed internationally as a true talent in singing a wide repertoire of songs at a tenor range, one of the highest for the male voice types.

Kearns' musical career accelerated in 1993 after winning an on-air contest called “Ireland's Search for a Tenor” held on Gay Byrne's radio show. After winning three rounds of singing, he was invited to sing on “The Late Late Show” and was recognized by one of Ireland's best music instructors who convinced him to study at the Leinster School of Music. Kearns went on to perform in a multitude of competitions and won many awards. He joined The Irish Tenors in 1998 and has also performed solo for more than 13 years.

As part of his performance, he will promote his new debut CD “With a Song in My Heart” and sing classic Irish and Broadway tunes accompanied by a piano. The theme for his performance in Severna Park will not be a consistent one. “He is comfortable in lots of different genres. He sings opera, but also less popular and more Irish tunes or Broadway showtunes – a combination of things,” said Gale Gillespie, board member of AACCA. Members of AACCA can expect to hear the ballad “Danny Boy,” which Kearns sets to the Irish tune of “Londonderry Air.”

While Kearns will perform primarily as a vocalist, Gillespie is hopeful he will speak about the background behind a song or about his Irish heritage.

“He has a very large and loyal fan base. We have had over a dozen calls from people wanting to see him,” said Gillespie. Fans of Kearns that aren't members can see him perform for $20 at the door. “People who are fans have been stunned at this price and said they'd pay $100 to see him,” she said.

The Anne Arundel Community Concert Association’s season of not-to-be-missed performances will continue through spring with two more shows following Anthony Kearns. All performances begin at 7:30pm and are held in the auditorium at Severna Park High School.

On April 10, Baltimore-based musicians Jose Cuerto and Nancy Roldan will perform at Severna Park High School. With Cuerto on violin and Roldan on piano, the teacher-artists will delight audiences with their renowned instrumental talents.

Then, on May 16, Bach to the Future will perform. The group has earned rave reviews nationwide for its exciting arrangement of classical favorites with jazz and world music influences. Bach to the Future uses instruments such as the keytar, zendrum and violectra to put a modern twist on classical works, and audiences are sure to gain a new appreciation of all the masters from Beethoven to Bach.

For more information on any of the concerts, or to order a season subscription to AACCA shows, visit

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pasadena Singers Shine With The Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus

Published in the Pasadena Voice on Oct. 16th.

Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus (HCMCSC) will make an exciting costume reveal on Saturday, October 23, at 7:30pm with a free Friends and Family Night show for members of the Chesapeake Arts Center, as well as for members’ friends and families. Only a few weeks away from an international competition, chorus and quartet members will use this night as a dress rehearsal to be fully prepared to take a hopeful win in Honolulu at the Sweet Adelines International competition.

The vocal group of 67 women will sing four-part a cappella music onstage for Chesapeake Arts audiences and for other quartets and choruses from around the area that were invited to attend.

"HCMCSC will open the show with two songs, an uptune and a ballad," said HCMCSC marketing coordinator Ericka McLeod. "Harbor City will then leave for a costume change, and then quartets will come on."

Lustre Quartet will perform first and sing two songs, then will be followed by another quartet, Escapade, which will also sing two songs. "Lustre comes back on and will sing several compiled songs, called a competition package," McLeod informed.

After the quartets, HCMCSC members will return onstage with the exciting reveal of their costumes and another five songs to dazzle the audience. "They will have a combination of familiar songs and some Broadway songs," said McLeod.

Pasadena resident and chorus member Tina Brady will be a front line dancer and will sing the lead, which is the melody of the songs. An 18-year veteran with the chorus, Brady is grateful her mother tricked her into auditioning as a newlywed. She made the cut and has been singing with the group ever since, except for a small break to care for her newborn.

"I got hooked," admitted Brady. “[HCMCSC] is like a second family. I do it for the friendships, my love of singing and the traveling."

Pasadena native Mandy Kohli will also perform with the chorus for her eighth year with her mother, Susan Kohli, also a member of the chorus. "I will be singing at the top and I will sing the tenor, the highest part and a harmony part," she said. To prepare for her shows, Mandy is often found practicing with Susan, whom she convinced to join.

Mandy took voice lessons with the director when she was 20 years old and joined the chorus shortly after. "I love the people. I love the sisterhood. I love to compete and try to do my best,” she exclaimed. “I think our chorus is a unique and creative group.”

The company’s talent has been regionally, nationally and internationally recognized. Currently holding the title of 2012 Region 19 champions, the chorus always surprises the audience with a show that incorporates "harmony with a twist," which is full of movement and energy.

"The Chesapeake Arts Centers wants to give back to the community, so we hope everyone can come attend this magical evening with HCMCSC," said Nicole Parsons, Chesapeake Arts Center Marketing Coordinator.

Always looking for new members, the HCMCSC invites singers to join the chorus on Wednesday nights at 7:24pm at the Chesapeake Arts Center, where participants can discover their inner performer and no experience is necessary. To learn more about the chorus, how to join and other upcoming events, visit

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Evening with Hal Linden

Published in the Severna Park Voice on Sept. 6th.

On Tuesday, September 24, Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actor Hal Linden will perform with his seven-piece band at Severna Park High School as the opening to the concert season provided by the Anne Arundel Community Concert Association (AACCA). The performance begins at 7:30pm, and doors will open 30 minutes prior.

“An Evening with Hal Linden,” as the cabaret-style act is titled, will showcase Linden’s many talents. “He’s going to talk about his long-term career, and there will be instrumentals and singing,” said Gale Gillespie, board member of AACCA. “It will feel as if you went to a night club.”

Linden will sing and play clarinet to big band hits, Broadway show tunes and jazz songs. “I did a lot on Broadway and not many people know about that,” noted Linden. “So I will be singing songs I sang on Broadway and songs I wish I had sung on Broadway.”

For the dialogue aspect, Linden wants the audience to take away something from his show. “The performance will have an attitude of resiliency – meaning no matter what I’ve done, I am still here,” he divulged. “It’s inspired by a version of ‘I’m Still Here’ from the musical ‘Follies.’”

Although Linden may be best known for his work on the television show “Barney Miller,” the concert will give audiences a glimpse of his versatility. In his teens, Linden learned to play the clarinet and soon after found himself performing with symphony orchestras. He later sang and entertained troops as a member of the United States Army Band. This sparked his interest in acting, which he subsequently pursued to many successes, such as his seven-year stint as Barney Miller.

After many acting roles, Linden chose to revive his musical inclinations and began performing with a big band where he played clarinet and discussed his life and career. This eventually transformed into “An Evening with Hal Linden.”

“This is a show that will appeal to anyone, even kids. A wide range of people can find something they like about this show,” said Gillespie.

Linden added, “The songs I sing are not just melodies, they’re pieces of the show that are hopefully distributable to everyone.”

Although AACCA’s shows are typically two hours long with a 30-minute intermission, Linden has requested the association omit the recess. “Linden’s manager says he prefers not to break [the show] up, since there is a progression to his act, and when you have an intermission, you lose that momentum,” explained Gillespie.

AACCA hopes that bringing in a celebrity will spark great interest from the Anne Arundel community. “We had several calls from people to see him or to join just to go to the ‘Barney Miller’ concert,” Gillespie shared. “It’s good to have an eye-catching entertainer.”

AACCA member subscriptions are available and priced for individuals and families. Members who pay the AACCA subscription fee have access to all concerts at Severna Park High School as well as to the South County Concert Association’s series at Southern High School. But for those who want to be dazzled and enlightened by Linden in particular, tickets to the one-night-only event can also be purchased at the door for $20. To learn more, visit

The Anne Arundel Community Concert Association’s season of not-to-be-missed performances will continue through spring with four more shows following "An Evening with Hal Linden.” Listed below, all performances begin at 7:00pm and are held in the auditorium at Severna Park High School.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Alternative medicine for those suffering with digestive issues, such as bloating, abdominal pain

After extensive research and interviews with pharmacists, there are many ways to treat digestive issues, such as symptoms common with IBS, such as bloating, gas or abdominal pain.

The informative and scientific book, It Starts With Food, shares that fish oil (1000 mg preferred) can help decrease gut inflammation after a period of time. Dr. Mark Hyman attests to the same as well as other digestive enzymes to regulate healthy gut bacteria, such as a daily regimen of probiotics.

These probiotics should be taken for a few months so that healthy bacteria can replenish and bad stomach bacteria can diminish. Dr. Hyman suggests a specific probiotic strain, S. Boulardii. An effective and reasonably priced brand is Lane Labs Flora 3. ( This contains a prebiotic, probiotic, is lactose and gluten-free and should be refrigerated. If not kept cold within four weeks, the perishable item will go bad just like yogurt.

While probiotics are a great first step, drinking distilled water in combination will also help normalize stomach bacteria. Chlorine found in most city water will destroy the good bacteria, according to Dr. Ohhira, who has a Ph.D in microbiology and who has formulated his own probiotic line.

Probiotics take some time before one can see the positive effects though for some, positive results can be seen a few weeks later if compliant with daily doses.

For temporary relief for problems with digesting, digestive enzymes supplementing meals may help break down foods. A suggested brand is Enzymedica's Digest Gold. ( This capsule should be taken once or twice with any meal and contains high doses of amylase (carbohydrates), protease (proteins), maltase (starch), lipase (fats), cellulase (plants) and much more.

It is also wise to cut down on gluten or lactose-containing food items as there has been an increasing number of lactose and wheat-related digestive issues in the United States. To read more about the prevalence of food intolerances, check out this article from Truth Stream Media:

Nontraditional medicine may not always be the answer. Keep a food diary to figure out what is making you feel ill. Then eliminate foods that contribute to adverse symptoms. Once this happens, taking probiotics and other useful vitamins can get your digestive system back on track and you can start from square one by replenishing your body with natural and healthier foods that make your stomach happy.


It Starts With Food by Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig​‎

Dr Mark Hyman, a family physician:

Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics- Health Tips

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pharmacy Innovations at University of Maryland Medical Center

Innovation: Using RFID Technology to Enhance Safety

Potential for human error, high demand and limited time for creating and dispensing crash-cart trays [medicines used and rushed to rooms during emergencies] led pharmacists and technicians in the Central Pharmacy to come together and implement Kit Check, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.

Trays and medications have RFID tags, similar to the theft-prevention tags on books at bookstores. Kit Check can scan the tags to ensure all emergency medications in crash-cart trays are there and that none are expired. Central Pharmacy manager Adrienne Shepardson, PharmD, says she and technicians were eager to get the system set up and were quick to tag all of the medications and trays.

"We have 500 trays and a lot of critically ill patients," says Shepardson, denoting the importance of delivering lifesaving medications quickly and accurately. Where it once took 40 minutes and two technicians to check trays, it now takes about five minutes for one technician to check.

Kit Check is especially beneficial for technicians, as they are primarily responsible for creating the trays and are the last to check them before they are delivered to the proper unit.

"It's much easier now with not many mistakes. Before, two people had to check the tray manually, but now I just finished checking one in about two minutes," says Rashad Mousa, pharmacy associate. Aside from checking trays, central pharmacy technicians are responsible for making suspensions that are not commercially available and creating unit-dose packaging.

The pharmacist's main function in utilizing the new technology is to authorize and tag the medications they want the new system to identify.

An increase in speed and productivity and a decrease in error make the Central Pharmacy more efficient.

"Now I can sleep better at night," says Shepardson.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Leroy Justice from NYC

When listening to Leroy Justice, it's not difficult imagining oneself on a porch with sounds of a harmonica drifting through the air. The band’s mixed sounds of funk, Americana and rock n’ roll will take you straight to the south. That’s just what the band’s name relates to as well. Jason Gallagher, lead singer of the band, explains that the band was named after a friend’s father, who was your typical southern man – a role model for the band with a great name – and one who helps to convey the all-American vibes given off by the band’s tunes.

Justice, a poker-playing guitarist, has a lot in common with the five band members -Gallagher, Sloan Marshall, Bradley Wegner, Josh Karis and Justin Mazer. They all seem to have the same hobbies, which allowed them to find one another to form the band. Having met at a poker game in New York City, the once-acquaintance band members clicked and decided to give the band a try.

Since then, shows have mostly been held in venues in hometown New York City, though the band has had the opportunity to play everywhere east from Maine to Alabama. Gallagher jokes, “It's tough having a hometown like NYC. We play a lot there but prefer anywhere with easier parking.”

While currently not on tour, the band hopes to play shows in Colorado in early 2012 and plans to release its third album shortly after. With pressure to create something as substantial as the last album, which received ample recognition, the band plans to change up its sounds and surprise fans in the third album. Soulful song “People’s Revolution” from the band’s second album was voted by Earvolution as being one of 2008’s most memorable. Elmore magazine, Jambase and Hidden Track also recognized the second album as being a “a contender for best this year” in 2009.

Fans can expect leaks of the third album in the next couple months. Be sure to check them out when posted on or to check out if the band is playing at a venue near you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some concerns, some advantages.

Norris used to dread his weekly hour-long Metro trips between the University of Maryland and Bethesda. It took him an hour, using both the Green Line and Red Line. “The commute was horrible,” he said.

The Red Line’s infamous U-shape makes Metro trips twice as long than if driving straight across by car, which ultimately forced Norris to abandon Metro, except on rare occasions. Instead, he borrows his friend's cars instead to travel home, cutting his commuting time in half.

He and others yearn for the completion of the the Purple Line, which would eliminate the U-shape by connecting the east-west gap with a straight across route and a shorter ride for everyone.

Although the Purple Line has been hailed for its ability to cut commuter travel time, other state residents believe the transit line will have a negative impact on their communities.

The Purple Line, first designed in a method under study since 1992 to shorten the route between improve transportation between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, will be a 16-mile light rail line extending from Bethesda to New Carrollton.

Although the Purple Line will be welcomed by those seeking a shorter commuting time, it is not universally embraced. Many state residents are concerned that it will ruin a popular running and biking trail, and pose safety risks, among other things.

The Maryland Transit Administration has addressed community members' concerns in a series of meetings, drawing in property owners, developers and chambers of commerce members. Michael Madden, project manager of the Purple Line with the MTA, sought to ease their concerns by explaining that the line would have a minimum adverse impact.

On Nov. 9, Madden met with the Town of Chevy Chase Purple Line Mitigation Advisory Group to address concerns that Chevy Chase officials and residents expressed in a letter written by Mayor David Lublin.

“The Capital Crescent Trail is used by tens of thousands of users – like senior citizens, commuters and bikers,” said Patricia Burda, community liaison for the Town of Chevy Chase Town Council.

Burda raised concerns that the transit will decrease the width of the trail — used hourly by an estimated 240 people, which is twice the amount of the second most popular trail in the county - and make it more crowded than it is now, according to a study conducted by Capital Crescent Trail and Georgetown Branch Trail members in 2006

“The town is also particularly concerned about the right-of-way, which is particularly narrow,” Burda said. “Because it's so narrow, especially before the tunnel in the town, the transit will have to brake hard, causing a lot of noise.”

Also, the town is also worried about the potential noise from the railroad tracks.

To address concerns of noise and safety, the state said they would look into decreasing speeds of the light rail, which are generally around 45 miles per hour.

“Near East-West Highway, it's about 25 to 30 mph, but the state expressed they wouldn't go down that low,” Burda said. “All of these things are all up in the air - we're still negotiating.”

Madden, aware of Chevy Chase's safety concerns, said that the University of Maryland — which would be the Purple Line’s eighth stop from the east — has also expressed similar concerns.

Cory Krause, a student representative to the Purple Line, explained that the light rail line also could cause electromagnetic interference throughout campus.
“A lot of magnetism can mess with research equipment on campus,” Krause said.

To address this concern, Madden said that the University of Maryland and a MTA working group to design ways to reduce the interference - but Maryland has yet to approve it.

"We would place restrictions on the speeds of the LRT, down to 15 mph and place restrictions on the amount of steel mass in the LRT,” two factors that increase electromagnetic interference, Madden said.

The station would be located at Stamp Student Union, one of the busiest areas on campus along Campus Drive, raising concerns that the trains might pose a risk to pedestrian students in the area.

“The issue is that the transit will probably be very silent, and students could get killed if they don’t hear it coming,” Krause said.

He also said the trees along Campus Drive could cause leaves to fall especially during rainfall, leading to slippery rail — a condition in which moist leaves cling onto railroad tracks resulting in a loss of friction of the transit wheels and rail.

But, Madden said that wet leaves shouldn't become a hazard with this particular line, as it has with others.

“Leaves from trees is not an issue for a new light rail transit system, like the Purple Line, because newer LRT vehicles have improved braking systems that are not subject to slippage due to wet leaves,” he said. “We are also confident that all pedestrian safety concerns, as we continue to work closely with the UM community, can and will be addressed.”

Moreover, Krause said the line would provide countless benefits for the university. “It will increase mobility across campus, decrease noise pollution, and increase popularity for neighboring areas, which will cause a flourishing of economic prosperity,” he said.

Madden agrees that economic development will be a benefit. “The Purple Line connects key business districts and employments, such as downtown Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Langley Park, University of Maryland, College Park and New Carrollton,” he said.

Though these are the predicted popular stations, Madden said that there are a total number of 21 stations total, which should be a boon to area and surrounding businesses.

But the biggest boon will be in time saved commuting, Madden said.

“It will improve travel from east to west,” he said. “It will also provide mobility for people who don’t have it.”

Because of the current lack of quick east-west mobility, commuter Richard Layman bikes, avoiding both public transportation and the need to drive. He lives in Washington, DC near Takoma Park, and cycles Layman bikes seven miles each day to Bethesda for work-related trips.

“For trips less than ten miles, the bike compares favorably, if not faster than public transit,” he said.

Most of his trips Layman makes on his bike are less than ten miles, which he says takes him around 25 minutes. But it takes more than 30 minutes to make the same trip on the Red Line, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Trip Planner.

Another commuter, Sreya Sinha - and a frequent user of the Red Line - said she’s pro- anticipating the opening of the Purple Line - and with good reason.

“It will definitely allow me to save travel time if I want to travel home to Rockville from College Park because right now it takes almost two hours since the Red Line runs in a big U,” said Sinha, a student at the University of Maryland. “The proposed Purple Line will cut across that, hopefully halving my travel time.”

Sinha takes rides the Green Line from at the College Park station to Fort Totten, where she transfers to to get on the Red Line to get to Rockville - physically located just west of College Park. Because of the Red Line’s U-shape, she has to ride Sinha must travel south, and then north, and wait through 24 stops to finally reach her destination.

Commuters traveling from Silver Spring to Bethesda, two busy stations with popular business districts, will really feel the difference. Madden explained Silver Spring is considered one of the busiest stations of the Metro.

“Silver Spring and Bethesda on the Red Line...generate high levels of midday Metrorail travel,” according to Transit Ridership Trends and Markets by WMATA in March 2009.

WMATA recognized this high ridership, especially between the two business districts, Bethesda and Silver Spring. Currently, those riding traveling from Silver Spring to Bethesda must endure 17 stops on the Red Line, about 40 minutes.

In response to the long trips for a large amount of people, WMATA announced on Nov. 30 that Montgomery County residents will see additional service on the J2 buses between Silver Spring and Bethesda to “provide more frequent service,” according to a press release. This change will take effect on Dec. 19.

But the Purple Line will mean that there will only be five stops from Silver Spring to Bethesda.

The Purple Line will also be one of the first transit systems to connect multiple Metro trains, three MARC commuter train lines and the Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line at New Carrollton, Madden said. It also has connections to regional and local bus routes.

This connectivity will allow the MTA to omit building new parking lots around the Purple Line. “Commuters can walk or bike, take the Amtrak, take a MARC train or a bus to get to the Purple Line,” Madden said. This will save a significant amount of money but Madden declined to comment on exactly how much.

Some believe that the benefits override any negative concerns that community members may have about the Purple Line.

“I believe that the Purple Line should be implemented on campus,'' Krause said. "The main concern is student safety, but this doesn't mean that the project should be discontinued because of it. ,” said Krause, referring to the university’s concerns. “There are plenty of innovations that can keep safety at a manageable level while increasing mobility and livability of a campus community.”