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DECEMBER 17

In addition to inventing America and half the products and services therein, Benjamin Franklin is responsible for the enchantingly odd musical instrument known as the glass armonica. It is a row of tuned glass bowls mounted on a spindle, which is spun around via flywheel and treadle. Music is made by rubbing the spinning glass rims with moistened fingers. The resulting sound is hypnotically ethereal. Linda Ronstadt used an armonica on her Winterlight album to pleasingly plaintive effect. But one problem ol’ Ben probably didn’t take into consideration is the amount of lead in the glass. After years of faithful rubbing, the lead would get into the bloodstream and the practiced armonicat would slowly go mad. Which might be why fewer than 10 people in the world today play the curious device. Fortunately, one brave soul is Dean Shostak (pictured), who has released an album, Crystal Carols, celebrating the season and the armonica. He will be joined by harpist Sue Richards for a concert of celestial holiday melodies. At 8 p.m. at Harmony Hall Regional Center, Addison Concert Hall, 10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington. $10. (301) 292-8331. (Dave Nuttycombe)