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Back in July 2012, Chopticon High School was transformed into a free, two-day dental clinic.

The first Southern Maryland Dental Mission of Mercy provided free services to more than 650 patients, which added up to approximately $855,000 worth of dental care, according to Martin Barley.

About 80 dentists and 40 hygienists from all over Maryland and a couple from Virginia volunteered their time to offer the service, and other volunteers who assisted with guiding patients through the clinic and providing food. “We just take care of their major complaints — pain, cavities, gum problems, extractions,” said Barley, who is a dentist with a longtime practice in Leonardtown. “It was fun. When you help people it makes you feel good.”

And Barley said there is a real need for the kind of services provided by the clinic. “People have limited access to care,” he said.

And now, Southern Maryland Dental Mission of Mercy is planning its next event, which will be held in July 2014 at North Point High School in Charles County. Co-chairs of the July clinic are Garner Morgan of Mechanicsville and Kit Wright of Charles County.

Barley said that organizers are interested in hearing from potential volunteers (not just medical personnel) and event sponsors. In addition, the organizers are holding a fundraiser on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at Great Mills High School to kick off help cover the cost and increase public awareness of this summer’s clinic. The first Southern Maryland free dental clinic required $65,000 — much of that money going to supplies.

The fundraiser is billed as a “classic family variety show,” featuring two entertainers from Branson, Mo. — singer Dalena Ditto, Branson’s female entertainer of the year, and Patty Davidson, a ventriloquist.

Tickets for the two-hour show are $35 per adult and $15 per child, with proceeds to benefit Southern Maryland Dental Mission of Mercy.

For more information about tickets call 301-884-4438 or 301-247-3283. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door. For more information on this summer’s clinic or the Dec. 14 family variety show, see www.southernmdmom.org.

Donors for the July clinic can mail checks payable to United Way of St. Mary’s County, writing SMMOM on the memo line, and mail to 28095 Three Notch Road, Suite 2C, Mechanicsville, MD 20659. Checks will be recorded and forwarded to the United Way.

Holiday memories sought for article

The Enterprise is planning a feature article to be published on Dec. 25, and we’re asking readers for your help. We’d like to hear about your best Christmas memories. They can be happy and joyful, or even poignant and bittersweet. Photos from holidays gone by are also welcome. To submit your Christmas memories, email Donnie Morgan at dmorgan@somdnews.com, or mail them to Christmas Memories, The Enterprise, P.O. Box 700, Lexington Park, MD 20653.

Holiday recipes sought

The holidays are made for indulging in sweet desserts — cookies, candy, special cakes and pies. The Enterprise is planning a story to highlight some favorite holiday sweets made by St. Mary’s County cooks.

Those who are willing to share a recipe and perhaps tell a little bit about why that dessert is a holiday tradition are invited to submit that information. Recipes, along with name, town of residence and a daytime phone number (not for publication, just for contact purposes) can be emailed to scraton@somdnews.com, with “Holiday desserts” in the subject line or mailed to The Enterprise, c/o Susan Craton, P.O. Box 700, Lexington Park, MD 20653.

Chopticon chorus announces madrigal weekend

The Chopticon High School Chorus will present its annual madrigal weekend on Friday, Dec., 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Chaptico.

Proceeds from the evening of song and fine dining will benefit the Chopticon High School choirs. Tickets are $35 per person and include a three-course meal and rousing entertainment. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, and guests are seated around tables of eight.

The chorus’ fifth annual madrigal concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Chaptico. The Peace Pipers, Divas, CHS Chorale and Infinity and more will perform songs from the madrigal dinner and other holiday selections. It’s the madrigal dinner with fewer calories. Tickets are $15 and include the concert and dessert. Reservations are required.

Charles County to host holiday trail

Visitors are encouraged to visit Charles County the first weekend of December, when 10 nonprofit cultural and historical sites have joined together to form The Charles County Holiday Trail.

The Kris Kringle Christmas Market at the Charles County Fair opens the weekend with a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Modeled after the famous markets in Germany, visitors can expect fresh greens, music, art, food, a living Nativity and shopping. Admission to the event is one can or one dollar to benefit the Southern Maryland Food Bank.

The next day, visitors are invited to return to the Christmas Market or set off to another destination on the trail. Sites open on Saturday include the African American Heritage Society, which houses a collection of memorabilia and vintage kitchenware; Friendship house, a fine example of early tidewater architecture, Mount Carmel of Port Tobacco, home to the Carmelite nuns; the Port Tobacco Courthouse, once Maryland’s second largest seaport; the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum; and Mount Aventine, an antebellum house with views of the Potomac River.

The trail concludes on Sunday, Dec. 8, with several of Saturday’s attractions open for another day and the addition of two sites in Smallwood State Park: The General Smallwood Retreat House, home to Revolutionary War General William Smallwood, and the Mattawoman Creek Art Center, which is holding its holiday salon featuring items for sale and demonstrations. For more information, see www.charlescountyholidaytrail.com.

Help count the birds

The Southern Maryland Audubon Society will participate in four Christmas bird counts between Dec. 15 and Jan. 5. The data collected by observers during the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists and interested persons to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. To learn more and how to participate in any of the counts, visit www.somdaudubon.org.

Volunteer information sought

The Enterprise plans to publish a listing of area groups that can use volunteer assistance and the kind of assistance they need. Groups that have not been listed in the past that would like to be included in this listing and groups that have new contact information or different needs from the past are encouraged to contact The Enterprise. Call Shertina Mack at 301-862-2111.

Get in the Christmas spirit at the Sixth Annual Festival of Trees

The Sixth Annual Festival of Trees will be held Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California to benefit Hospice of St. Mary’s. For more information, call 301-994-3023 or visit www.hospiceofstmarys.org.

Tour homes decorated for holidays

The 19th Annual Health Share of St. Mary’s Holiday Home Tour will be held Sunday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring five lovely homes and the Maryland State House of 1676, all located off Point Lookout Road in St. Mary’s City. This event raises funds for Health Share of St. Mary’s, a nonprofit that assists with medical costs. Tickets may be purchased the day of the tour at any site for $50 for the entire tour or $10 per site. For more information, contact Anne Bell at 301-475-2129 or lucybarbour@mris.com or find the page for Health Share of St. Mary’s on Facebook.

CSM theater nominated for awards

The College of Southern Maryland will send several representatives to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for Region II in West Chester, Pa., from Jan. 14 to 18. The representatives include current and former CSM students who worked on CSM theater productions that were nominated for group and individual awards at the January festival.

Nominations for technical awards include the productions “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” “Stop Kiss,” “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery,” “The Clumsy Custard Horror Show” and “Working.” Jeremy Hunter of La Plata, Simone Hannah of Waldorf, Kendal Garton of Hollywood, Alex La Clair of La Plata, Barbara Wheeler of Indian Head, Annabel Russell of Waldorf and Jamie Borroughs of Mechanicsville will represent these productions at the festival.

Technical award winners are presented with opportunities such as working with a professional theater company in a major city for one or two weeks, or traveling all-expenses-paid to the Unites States Institute for Theatre Technology’s national conference.

The festival has also nominated several individuals for the regional Irene Ryan Acting Award, which provides an individual $500 scholarship to winners. Regional winners move on to the national festival where they will compete with winners from 11 other regions to be considered for one of two national awards, each providing a $2,500 scholarship.

Regional nominees from CSM are Aimee Grace of White Plains, Amanda Jo Connelly of Indian Head and Danielle Nicole LeDoux of Indian Head from “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” Alexis Miller of Gambrills, Kenny Waters Jr. and Kaytlin Medley of Waldorf from “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” and Laura Stephens Waldorf and Alex La Clair of La Plata from “Working.”

Region II of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival includes colleges located in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, northwest New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and West Virginia. The 46th Region II festival will take place in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre at West Chester University. For information about CSM’s theater programs, visit www.csmd.edu/Arts.

scraton@somdnews.com