History of Charlestown and the Harmonizers

Charlestown Retirement Community, Catonsville, MD

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35th Anniversary of Charlestown
Charlestown opened for occupancy in December 1983 thanks to the tireless efforts of our founder, John Erickson. To celebrate the 35th Anniversary, residents John Strumsky and others published a book "The History of Charlestown."
The Harmonizers appear on pages 75 and 240-243. The current Director, Evelyn Chesnutt, and husband Lon are featured on pp. 268 and 269. The Webmaster is shown with late wife Anne attending the 25th Charlestown Gala in 2013 on page 246. Harmonizers Sondra and Charles Tucker are shown attending the 26th Gala the next year at the bottom. Sondra also on pp. 200, 302, 303. Assistant accompanist, Marty King, on pp. 282-4, Inez Buis as Gracie Allen at the "Charlie Club Show" in 2002, page 163. Same show, the Langbehns singing a duet, page 164, also on page 300. Phyl Lansing, page 304. Elzata Murphy and Jack Coster, page 300. Sandra Tucker and David Douds in Fruits of Our Labor in 2015 on page 143.
The Muriel Caulfield Auditorium on page 84, named in 1989 in honor of Muriel Caulfield on page 164. She  appears on pp. 136, 159-151.
If you find any more Harmonizers, please let me know (Bill S.)


History of the Harmonizers

The history of the Harmonizers begins with The Ladies in Harmony, a group of about twenty "ladies who love to sing" in August, 1993, directed by Catherine "Jo" Rutledge.

Shirley Hughes directed the Christmas show in December, 1993 and the First Spring Fling in May, 1994.

Perry Marshall was the director in the 1994-95 season.

In early 1995 Charles Haslup became director. At the time he was teaching a Catonsville Community College Course in Music Appreciation at Charlestown. Charles had a varied career in music including as Administrator of the Music Department of Towson University. He was the organist and choir director of the Linthicum Heights Methodist Church for 29 years.  He directed the Ladies through their second and third Spring Flings.

In November of 1999 several members of the Men's Chorale joined the Ladies and the group was renamed  the Harmonizers, under the direction of Charles.

In January, 2005 he underwent heart bypass surgery  and John Terwilliger directed  the Spring Concert. In May Charles moved to Charlestown and directed the Christmas Concert that year. After moving here Charles frequently entertained with piano music in the restaurants until he passed away from abdominal problems in January, 2006.

Jean Higdon, a resident, filled in as director for the Spring Concert, 2006. She had been the director of Music at the West Baltimore United Methodist Church. The following year she was assisted by her son, Charles Higdon, and Evelyn Chesnutt, also a resident, as assistant accompanist.

Spring of 2008 Celeste Blasť took over as accompanist, with Evelyn continuing as assistant.

Jean retired in 2010 and Evelyn was selected as director and has continued in that position to the present time, with Celeste as accompanist and Julia Hershfield, then Marty King as assistant accompanist.

The Harmonizers now number about 50 singers, all residents of Charlestown. 


                                                                 June 6, 2018