Benefit concert to warm hearts, homes in Hagerstown

Maryland Theatre event to help residents pay utility bills

Maryland Theatre event to help residents pay utility bills

November 30, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - In an effort to help people pay their utility bills this winter, the City of Hagerstown will hold a benefit concert next month at The Maryland Theatre.

Spearheaded by Councilwomen Penny M. Nigh and Alesia Parson-McBean, the Utility Relief Benefit Concert will be Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $10 each at City Hall.

"As we see the outpouring of support for this event, it is truly humbling ," Parson-McBean said. "People helping people ... it doesn't get any better than that."

As of Thursday, 547 tickets had been sold, leaving 830 available, said Karen Giffin, the city's director of community affairs. In addition to individual ticket sales, theater boxes, which hold four to six seats, are being sold for $500 each. The city is hopeful that private businesses will buy the box-seat tickets to help the cause, Giffin said.


Performing at the concert will be William Clarence Marshall III, an opera singer who performed with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra this summer during the annual Salute to Independence at Antietam National Battlefield.

Giffin said the Williamsport High School Choir and the Clear Spring and Springfield middle school choirs will perform.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Washington County Community Action Council, said Dave Jordan, the organization's executive director. He said people will need utility relief this winter to keep up with rising heating costs.

"This could be a bad year," he said.

About 3,500 households in Washington County asked for utility assistance last year, Jordan said. More than half were Hagerstown residents.

He said the Washington County Arts Council and the Hagerstown Professional Firefighters Local 1605 are among the sponsors who have made donations.

Mike Weller, fire prevention officer for the Hagerstown Fire Department, said Local 1605 donated $5,000 to ensure the concert would have enough seed money to get started and to help the WCCAC provide heating assistance. Too often, lower-income residents can't afford to pay their utilities and use space heaters or other sources - including candles - to create heat, he said.

"We want to make sure no one resorts to a desperate means of heat to stay warm," Weller said.

· To purchase a ticket for the Utility Relief Benefit Concert, call Karen Giffin at 301-739-8577, ext. 116.

· To donate to the Washington County Community Action Council, send a check made payable to Washington County Community Action Council. The address is 101 Summit Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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