Chevy Chase musician brings tunes to downtown Bethesda

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006

Chevy Chase native Spencer Bates went to college to be a film major, but he returned to the area a musician.

Bates said he first started singing as a student at Westland Middle School. He then got involved in the musical theater program at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda.

‘‘At Prep, I sort of got a reputation within the class of being a good singer,” he said. ‘‘It sort of became part of my identity.”

After graduating from Georgetown Prep, Bates attended Northwestern University where he intended to study film, but while there, he began teaching himself how to play piano.

‘‘I started teaching myself piano and started accompanying myself with my own singing,” he said.

Now, at age 25, he is an entirely self-taught singer-songwriter and pianist.

With shows six to eight times a week, Bates performs on a regular basis at venues around the Washington, D.C., area. This month, he returns to the site of some of his first local performances, Haagen Dazs at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street in downtown Bethesda.

In some ways, Bates said, he enjoys performing at the shop more than the piano bars he plays at most evenings of the week, where he has to play old standards rather than his original songs.

‘‘It does have a stage area set up that looks professional” like the other venues, he said, ‘‘but I can play more of my own music.”

Bates plans to play there every other Sunday through October, weather permitting.

For more information, visit

Optimist Club volunteersat Children’s Inn

The Bethesda Optimist Club, a new chapter of Optimist International, an organization that is dedicated to children’s charities, prepared a meal for children and families at the Children’s Inn at NIH on Aug. 8.

Club members fed approximately 50 adults and children, played with kids and chatted with parents. They also toured the facility, which serves as a home away from home for families of children who are getting treatment at the National Institutes of Health.

The Bethesda Optimist Club plans to do more activities to benefit children in the community in the future. The club is made up of a small group of business professionals who wanted to give back to the community. To learn more about The Bethesda Optimist Club, visit or call 301-787-2910.

Exhibit to featureart competition finalists

See the work of the 14 artists chosen as finalists for The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards at an exhibition opening on Tuesday at Creative Partners Gallery, 4600 East-West Highway in Bethesda. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Nearly 400 artists from around the region submitted artwork for the fourth annual competition, which awards a top prize of $10,000.

The exhibit of the finalists’ work will be on display through Sept. 29, with a public opening from 6-9 p.m. on Friday in conjunction with the next Bethesda Art Walk.

The Trawick Prize was created by Carol Trawick in 2003. Trawick has been a community activist in Bethesda for more than 25 years. She is a chairwoman of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District.

The Bethesda Artist Market also takes place this weekend. The event, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, features artwork and crafts by 20 regional artists for sale. The market will also feature live music throughout the day.

For more information about The Trawick Prize or the Bethesda Artist Market, visit or call 301-215-6660.

How will global warming affect the holy land?

Rising sea levels, falling water supplies and increased temperatures are just some of the negative impacts that global warming could have on Israel. To learn more about the issue, attend ‘‘How Will Global Warming Affect The Holy Land?” an interfaith program scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Sept. 19, at Congregation Beth El synagogue, 8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda.

The program is co-sponsored by Congregation Beth El, United Methodist Church of Bethesda, Congregation Adat Shalom of Bethesda and Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light.

The program will include presentations by two internationally prominent scientists, Antonio J. Busalacchi, a leading authority on climate change; and Uriel Safriel, a leading authority on desert ecology and desertification.

Busalacchi has been a professor and director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland since 2000. The center works in collaboration with NASA’s Earth Sciences Directorate and NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate Studies, to conduct research into climate change.

Safriel is a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and formerly served as the chief scientist of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority, and as director of the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He currently serves as a party to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The presentations will include a question-and-answer period and be followed by a light reception.

No RSVP is necessary. For information, contact Jana Singer, at or 301-530-2145.

French literature discussions comes to Bethesda Library

In recognition of the large number of French speakers in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area, Bethesda Library is offering, for the first time, book discussions of French books, conducted in French.

Professor Madeleine Cottenet-Hage will conduct two book discussions this fall.

On Oct. 25, she will lead a discussion of ‘‘Suite Francaise” by Irene Nemirovsky. On Nov. 29, the discussion will be on ‘‘Le Silence de la Mer” by Vercors.

A limited number of copies of the books are available at the Bethesda Library.

Both sessions will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the library, located at 7400 Arlington Road, Bethesda. For more information, call 240-777-0970.


Dr. Edward Oldfield of Bethesda will receive the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award given by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Alumni Association. This distinction recognizes graduates of the medical school or residency program who have achieved a high level of excellence in their careers through research, public policy, innovations or the delivery of exceptional care to their patients.

Oldfield, a 1973 graduate of the UK College of Medicine, is a neurosurgeon, recognized internationally for his work, especially with central nervous system tumors.

Since 1984, Oldfield has served as chief of the Clinical Neurosurgery Department in the surgical neurology branch in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Oldfield devotes much of his time to professional service, filling roles that include serving as an advisory board member for the Journal of Neurosurgery, a member of the executive council for the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation of AANS, and a member of the board of medical directors for the von-Hippel Lindau Family Alliance.

This column is for you. Share your good news! Feel free to send press releases and news tips. Contact Stephanie Siegel via e-mail at, phone at 301-280-3006, fax at 301-670-7183, or snail mail at 1200 Quince Orchard Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878.