There's a new face at Arnolia United Methodist Church — but a familiar face to the area.
Keith Derrickson recently became the church's director of music, and brought with him years of experience and creativity. A Baltimore County Public Schools music teacher from 1978 until 2008 — at Overlea, Hereford and Parkville high schools, as well as Pleasant Plains Elementary — he most recently served as an interim professor at Towson University teaching music education classes and serving as a student intern supervisor.
Throughout the years he has also worked as music director at various churches including St Andrew's, St John's, Faith and Divinity Lutheran churches, and for a choir at Essex Community College.
Since Arnolia is the first non-Lutheran church where he has been employed, he said "It's very interesting to me to see the similarities and differences between the Methodist and the Lutheran churches."
He has received various awards, including teacher of the year and special educator of the year, and has continued his own education.
Since retirement, he has put his experience and creativity to work with his new school assembly program, "Composers for Kids," where he arrives at the assembly from a "time machine" dressed in character as a well-known composer.
Using costumes, keyboard, PowerPoint and his time machine, complete with lights and whistles, he makes composers come to life for the student audience. He has taken this show across Maryland as well as to New Orleans, La. and Fredericksburg, Va.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see him in action when he portrays Johann Sebastian Bach at the church's Oktoberfest and Silent Auction on Saturday, Oct. 20, which begins at 6 p.m. The evening begins with dinner, with ground beef stroganoff with noodles, Bavarian bratwurst, frankfurters, Neuberger bratwurst and other German specialties.
The show follows and will feature the church's chancel choir in addition to Derrickson. During intermission, German chocolate cake and apple turnovers will be served.
Admission is $20 for adults; $15 for ages 4 to 11 and free for ages 3 and under; a limited number of tickets are available; call 410-665-7005 for details.
Proceeds will help to fund the new air conditioning system for the church's fellowship hall. This is one of the projects the church is undertaking to encourage growth and additional ministry. Derrickson hopes to expand the music program; currently he directs the church's chancel choir and hand bell choir and oversees the director of the contemporary worship praise band director, Jarrett Rettman, who was once his student at Pleasant Plains.
Derrickson envisions a children's choir, additional music staff and summer music program or a theater program. Learn more about his Composers for Kids program at composersforkids.org.
Children at The Village Co-Op for Tots will enjoy new classroom equipment and supplies thanks to a $500 contribution — proceeds from a hot dog stand at the recent grand opening of Shop Rite on Cleanleigh Drive.
Volunteers from Halstead Academy PTA had staffed the stand and Shop Rite split the proceeds between Halstead and the Village Co-Op.
The checks were presented in September at Halstead's back to school night by Mike Basher, Marshall Klein and Sherri Hopsle of Shop Rite. Kate Fitzgerald, teacher, and Connie Nittinger. Village Co-op board president and Crystal Hayes, Halstead's PTA president, accepted the checks on behalf of their schools.
If you saw a group of youngsters riding their tricycles at the basketball court at the Loch Raven Recreation Center on Oct. 7, you witnessed another fund raiser sponsored by the co-op. Each year, the center hosts a Trike-A-Thon, where tots gather sponsors to raise money for programs, then ride their bikes, trikes and or big wheels.
The co-op is sponsored by the Loch Raven Recreation Council, and is a two- or three-day per week program for children ages 3 and 4. Children participate in learning, recreational and social activities. For more information about the program, call 410-887-5309 or go to the website at glrrc.org.
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