Music to pay the bills

December 20, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

William Clarence Marshall III was 6 years old when he first heard opera.

His reaction: "Wow! What was that?"

It was Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore" ("The Troubadour").

By age 10, Marshall was collecting Coke bottles and mowing lawns at Moffett Field U.S. Naval Air Station in Mountain View, Calif., where his father was stationed, so he could ride the train to see San Francisco Opera matinees.

Tonight, patrons at The Maryland Theatre can hear the results of Marshall's passion for opera - a powerful operatic voice - as he headlines a benefit concert to help Hagerstown-area residents in need of assistance with their heating bills.

Marshall, who lives in New York City and Cleveland, sang at Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Salute to Independence this past summer. He performed with the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra this holiday season and has sung at Carnegie Hall and with the Metropolitan Opera.


The City of Hagerstown, Community Action Council, Washington County Arts Council and The Maryland Theatre are sponsoring tonight's concert. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships will help defray the high cost of winter heating bills for qualified city residents, according to organizers.

Concert organizers also are asking patrons to bring nonperishable food items.

Marshall said he assembled the concert program for the event.

"I think it's great. It's just so amazing to me how quickly all of these sponsors took to the idea and said, 'Yeah, we can do that. Let's do that. Let's run that. In a month's time, they've whipped this thing into shape,'" Marshall said during a recent phone interview.

Marshall will perform two arias, including "La Vendetta" from "The Marriage of Figaro." But mostly, he will sing popular songs such as Alan Lerner's and Frederick Loewe's "If Ever I Would Leave You" from the musical "Camelot" and "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha," and holiday fare such as "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Also performing will be Antietam Women's Ensemble, three local school choruses, and Hagerstown-area resident Lance Nigh and his daughter Abigail Nigh. The Nighs are Hagerstown Councilwoman Penny Nigh's son and granddaughter. Abigail is a member of Christ's Reformed Church's Children's Choir and her father also sings at the church.

Together, Antietam Women's Ensemble and the Williamsport High School show choir, the SophistiCats, will sing three songs from "Porgy and Bess," including "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'."

Springfield and Clear Spring middle schools' choirs also will perform.

If you go ...

WHAT: Utility Relief Benefit Concert

WHEN: 7 p.m. today

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: $10

MORE: For tickets, call The Maryland Theatre box office at 301-790-2000 or go to

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