O'Malley Family to Host Holiday Open House

Events planned for the public and state employees


Governor and First Lady looking at treesANNAPOLIS, MD (December 8, 2009) –Every year, Governor Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley host a holiday open house at Government House for the members of the public and state employees. This year, two events will be held that include holiday entertainment provided by choirs from throughout the State of Maryland, holiday cookies, hot apple cider and, an annual favorite – the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Company Christmas Train Garden.

The holiday open houses will be held this week for State employees and members of the public:  The Holiday Open House for State Employees will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2009 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and the Holiday Open House for the Public will be held this Saturday, December 12, 2009 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Entertainment for the State Employee Holiday Open House includes:

  • The Chapel Hill Music Sensations (from Perry Hall, Baltimore County); and
  • The Seneca Valley High School Chamber Choir (from Germantown, Montgomery County).

Entertainment for the Public Holiday Open House includes:

  • The Star Spangled Chorus of the Dundalk Sweet Adelines International (from Dundalk, Baltimore County);  
  • The Watkins Mill High School Chamber Singers (from Gaithersburg, Montgomery County); and
  • The European Academy of Music and Art, Inc. (from Silver Spring, Montgomery County).   

“It really is a tremendous privilege for Martin and me to welcome Maryland families and state employees to our third Holiday Open House.  Government House is open for tours throughout the year, but these holiday open houses, with local choirs from across Maryland, really do capture the spirit of the season,” said First Lady Katie O’Malley.  “We hope families throughout Maryland can share in the holiday season with us.”

“The holidays are a time for all of us to come together and celebrate that which is really important: our friends, our family, and community,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Katie and I welcome you to our home, and look forward to celebrating the holiday season with all Marylanders.  May the joy of the holiday season strengthen all of our communities and families in our One Maryland.”

Last week, the O’Malley family kicked off the holiday season by visiting Butler’s Orchard, a Maryland family farm, to cut their own fresh, local tree for the holidays.  The O’Malley family encourages all Marylanders to buy their Christmas tree from a locally owned farm. 

About the entertainment:

The Chapel Hill Music Sensations is an auditioned vocal fifth grade singing group of students from Chapel Hill Elementary School in Perry Hall, Maryland.  Each week these students devote ninety minutes of their own after school time in musical study.  In addition to weekly practice sessions, the Sensations frequently perform at school, community and state events.  These opportunities have provided an enriching choral repertoire for these fifth graders.  A byproduct of the group is that each child gains an enhancement of their interpersonal skills as well.  As performers, the students gain an appreciation for what it means to develop poise and appreciate their role in front of and with varied audiences. 

These students have had the opportunity to perform at Government House, assisted living centers, Baltimore County Waterfront Festival, WJZ Manic Monday, Blast Games, Armed Forces Day at Aberdeen Proving Ground and Ripken Stadium during the school year.

The Seneca Valley High School Chamber Choir of Germantown, MD, is a highly select group of 20 students who have excelled in voice, music theory, and performance.  Each member successfully completed a rigorous audition that included vocal performance, tonal memory, rhythmic sight reading and melodic sight reading.  The choir consistently and successfully performs the highest level of music and prides itself on outstanding performances for the community as well as local, state and national festivals. 

The SVHS Chamber Choir has been an integral part of the Germantown and Seneca Valley community for many years.  Under the direction of Michelle A. Searle, the choir has received superior ratings at county and state festivals as well as won awards at national competitions.  The choir travels extensively during the school year, especially during the month of December in which they partake in their annual Winter Tour.

The Star Spangled Chorus of the Dundalk Sweet Adelines International from Dundalk was founded fifty years ago. The chorus has won many regional competitions and has placed second and third in International Competition.  The chorus sings a cappella four part harmony, barbershop style.  It is an energetic group who has encouraged young women to join with them in perpetuating this art form.  The Star Spangled Chorus is proud of its young quartets.  The Chorus is honored to share in this holiday celebration. 

The Watkins Mill High School Chamber Singers is the premier choral ensemble of Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland and consists of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.  They have received superior ratings at district, state, and regional choral festivals and competitions.  Specializing in a cappella singing, this ensemble has sung in languages from Latin to Norwegian and music from the Renaissance to Contemporary periods.

Each year this ensemble tours the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.  They perform at local malls, book stores, historic sites, and retirement homes.  In addition, they have performed at NIH Children’s Inn, the Kennedy Center, the Washington National Cathedral and the White House.  In 2003, the Chamber Singers were selected by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as one of the top high school performing ensembles in the metropolitan area and performed on the Millennium Stage.  Most recently, the Chamber Singers were selected by the Washington Chorus at the Side By Side choir for 2004.

The European Academy of Music and Art, Inc., (EAMA, Inc.) was established in 1991 by Dr. Bella Eugenia Oster in Silver Spring, Maryland.  The school bases on European teaching method and high standards at the international level for instrumental performance.  EAMA, Inc., specializes mostly on piano performance and develops other instrumental departments such as strings, winds, theory and history, composition, etc.  The school focuses on the intellectual development of children through piano performance and training students’ ability to perform in public with exciting repertoire consisting of pieces at high level of difficulty.  The school is affiliated with the International Associations for Musically Gifted Children, Inc. (IAMGCI) which helps children, ages 3 to 18, as well as adult students to participate in most advanced internationally recognized program from Pre-K through 12th grade.

Through a unique teaching method of Dr. Oster, her students have maintained very high international achievements of piano performance and have been recorded on numerous CDs, have been profiled on International and National TV programs, magazines and newspapers.  A large number of her students have been winners in international, national and state competitions. They have performed in The White House, The State Department, The Pentagon, The U.S. Capitol, The United Nations, numerous Embassies in Washington D.C., The World Bank, Carnegie Hall, New York, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C, Lincoln Center, Strathmore, Maryland, many International Congress and Forums, Harvard University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and many other colleges and universities, hospitals and medical centers, children organizations, retirement community, and other venues.

The Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department’s Christmas Train Garden has been a part of the Government House Holiday Open House for several years.  The Christmas garden is a tradition that German immigrants brought to Maryland in the form of small scenes built under their Christmas trees by the adults and older children of the family. The gardens took on various forms, with some families building nativity scenes, while others used a scene with a miniature house, barn, and typically out of scale animals.  Each family’s garden was very different, reflecting the things that were most important to them.  Many of these German immigrants found employment as fire fighters. They carried their traditions into the firehouses, putting up a Christmas tree with a garden.  As the popularity of these gardens grew, so did their complexities, growing to include many buildings, and moving trains.  Today, many include very intricate animations.  The Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department is located n Southwestern Boulevard in Arbutus, Baltimore County.

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