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Concert raises thousands to help people heat their homes

December 21, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - A concert Thursday at The Maryland Theatre raised close to $15,000 to help people heat their homes this winter.

David G. Jordan, executive director of the Washington County Community Action Council and one of the event's organizers, said just before the concert began that he still had to count all of the proceeds.

He said he would know later this week exactly how much money the concert grossed.

"For having started (to organize the concert) six weeks ago and to raise the money we have raised has just been phenomenal," he said.

Jordan thanked the Hagerstown Professional Firefighters Local 1605 for donating $5,000 as seed money to help get the concert up and running.

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Mike Weller of the Hagerstown Fire Department said the firefighters decided to donate the money so people on a limited income wouldn't have to resort to using alternative - and potentially dangerous - heat sources.

Hagerstown residents Burnett Singleton and Harry Edwards said they attended the concert to support a good cause.

"I know quite a few people who need (heating assistance)," Singleton said. "I hope it turns out real nice."

In November, Hagerstown Councilwomen Penny M. Nigh and Alesia Parson-McBean spearheaded organizing the concert by lobbying local residents and business owners to buy the $10 tickets in blocks. Nigh praised members of the city staff for helping as well.

Officials from the Washington County Arts Council and The Maryland Theatre also donated their efforts.

Brian Sullivan, executive director of The Maryland Theatre, said the theater donated the equivalent of $8,000 to provide the venue, staff and rehearsal time, among other things.

"It's not hard to do an event like this," he said. "We'll help out any way we can so no family will go cold this winter."

The concert's featured performer was opera singer William Clarence Marshall III. He was accompanied on stage during some of his numbers by the Antietam Women's Ensemble and the Williamsport High School SophistiCats, who performed a few numbers from the musical "Porgy and Bess."

The Clear Spring and Springfield Middle School choirs and Lance and Abigail Nigh also performed.

"The giving here is so amazing," Marshall said backstage before the show. "In a matter of six weeks, they really put this together. It's amazing."

Before the performers took the stage, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II asked the audience, which filled about half of The Maryland Theatre's 1,300 seats, to observe a moment of silence for Smithsburg Police officer Christopher Shane Nicholson. Nicholson was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday night.

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