A group of several hundred amateur performers descended on The Mall In Columbia tonight, entertaining mall guests by singing and dancing to Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree in an effort to spread holiday cheer.
Organized by Pam Land, Lead Theatre Art teacher for Howard County Public Schools and Theatre Arts Director at River Hill High School, Sally Livingston, Theatre Arts Director at Marriotts Ridge High School, and Ilana and Dave Bittner of HoCoMoJo, the flash mob took shape over the past few weeks as the team picked music and location, recruited performers, and choreographed the dance. "Pam texted me a few weeks ago and said 'I have an idea only you could love.'" explained Ilana Bittner. "Who knew hundred of others would love the idea as much as we did." Land continued "I have been struck for while a by the magical and joyous aspects of flashmobs. The idea that a group of people can come together to create a moment of fun that adds a smile and brightens a day is just lovely to me. This to me, is the bedrock of good Theatre. We need more reasons to share good times as a community. I am so excited at the prospect of something that requires human interface and that can be shared by all generations right in our back yard."
Alumni of both high school theater programs were invited to participate along with members of the community at large. "I think between the 5 of us we sent out a few hundred invites and it ended up spreading to over 2000 people!" confided Land.
Most participants joined in for a fun diversion during the busy holiday season. "We're looking forward to it and have been practicing but we decided not to learn too much ahead of time so the the choreographer doesn't have to undo everything we've learned" joked Laurie Reuben of Laurel while Jodi Finkelstein waxed a little more philosophic "I'm looking forward to celebrating the holiday season in a completely different way."
Performers met to learn the dance routine earlier in the day, then traveled by caravan to the mall to perform. During rehearsal, students collected non-perishable foods for the Howard County Food Bank. Mickey Gomez, Executive Director of Howard County's Volunteer Center was struck by this collaboration. "Like a seasonal flash mob isn't exciting enough, we're also supporting the Howard County Food Bank. This is exactly the kind of partnership that makes our community so unique," she remarked.