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& CAPITALCONNECTION A cappella group blends voices for BlackRock show. B-5 The Gazette DAMASCUS | CLARKSBURG DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, December 11, 2013 25 cents Council to examine views on watershed A date with Carnegie Hall n Meeting about Ten Mile Creek is scheduled for Jan. 13 BY VIRGINIA TERHUNE STAFF WRITER 2013 FILE PHOTO Damascus High School Chamber Singers Brianna Nelson (left) and Rodesia Roberts perform “Homeward Bound” with their peers at the American Legion Post 171 Veterans Day service last month in Damascus. In March, the group will perform at Carnegie Hall. Chamber Singers land gig of a lifetime n Students also will perform at school’s annual winter concert on Dec. 19 BY VIRGINIA TERHUNE STAFF WRITER The Damascus High School Chamber Singers concert will include songs in English but also in Latin and German this year. The school’s annual winter concert is scheduled for Dec. 19. “I always try to pick a couple of foreign languages [to improve diction],” said Brian Isaac, now in his third academic year as director of choirs. On the program is “Silent Night” in the original German and several songs in Latin based on texts from the Bible. Mastering songs in different languages may be one reason why the group of 41 singers is heading to Manhattan to sing on March 9 at Carnegie Hall. The trip costs $1,500 per student, which is why the Chamber Singers are hosting a fundraising dinner in the school cafeteria before the concert. Seats are reserved at the concert for those who attend the dinner. The dinner by Carrabba’s Italian Grill restaurant includes chicken marsala, pasta, salad and beverages, Isaac said. Those wanting to attend are encouraged to RSVP by emailing Darlene Melkonian at the school at melkonid@ The Chamber Singers will be performing all but one of the songs without instruments. “It’s great to have a chamber choir sing a cappella,” said Isaac. “You won’t hear a single piano.” “I’m a true believer that it teaches students to be more confident singers,” said Isaac about the group, which requires auditions. Joining them halfway through the program will be the 21-member Concert Choir to sing “Silent Night” and a jazzy version of “Carol of the Bells.” The orchestra will then join in “Tollite hostias,” composed in 1858 by Camille Saint-Saens for his Christmas Oratorio. There is also a spot in the program for two pop songs by the Treble Yell girls’ group and the Brovertones boys’ group. Isaac said he started those two ensembles as a way to interest students in singing. Auditions are not required. Treble Yell will sing the 2013 pop hit “Royals,” by New Zealand singer/songwriter Lorde, and the Brovertones will sing the 1957 doo-wop hit “Silhouettes.” If students like participating, they sometimes sign up for the Concert Choir or audition for the Chamber Singers. “It’s a great recruiting tool,” said Isaac, who sang in a doo-wop group while a student at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Challenging students After graduating from the Naval Academy, Isaac served in the Marines and then earned a bachelor’s degree in music education See SINGERS, Page A-10 Development along the Ten Mile Creek watershed once again proved to be polarizing topic at two County Council meetings set to hash out the future of the area. Nearly 80 people spoke their minds during the hearings on Dec. 3 and Thursday. But many of the speakers either belonged to a countywide environmental coalition or, at the other end of the spectrum, are aligned with developers’ interests. “We heard very little from people who actually live in Clarksburg,” Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) of Garrett Park said Monday. Learning more about what local residents want is one of Floreen’s goals as the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee begins to wrestle with the future of development in Clarksburg and Boyds. Council members asked no questions during the two-night hearing, but they will have a chance to delve into the issue in committee meetings. See WATERSHED, Page A-10 Pepco again pushes for higher rates n Utility seeks $4.80 per month increase from its average customer BY STAFF WRITER Ervin to leave council seat n County councilwoman taking position with New York nonprofit BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER Calling it one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make, Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin will leave her seat in early January to take over a New York nonprofit that advocates for working families. Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring said Tuesday that she would resign her seat on Jan. 3 to become executive director of the Center for Working Families. “I want to continue to make a difference, in a new way,” Ervin said. NEWS SAYING NO TO COAL Dickerson power plant makes the move to cleaner energy. A-4 No one has been a stronger voice against inequality than Ervin has, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Tuesday at a press conference at the Council Office Building in Rockville. Along with several other speakers, Leggett referenced Ervin’s direct way of dealing with issues. Ervin has been a friend and political supporter, but also one of his most vocal critics when they disagreed, he said. State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring said he’s also been on both sides of conflicts with Ervin. But he praised her Tuesday for her passion, as well as her dedication to justice and solidarity. See ERVIN, Page A-10 TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin of Silver Spring announced Tuesday that she would take over a New York nonprofit that advocates for working families. SPORTS JAGUARS RETURN TOP TALENT Northwest’s indoor track and field teams expect big seasons. B-1 KATE S. ALEXANDER Automotive Business Calendar Classified Community News Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please Just months after it was given higher rates and granted Maryland’s first upfront surcharge, Pepco is asking yet again for more from ratepayers. Pepco filed a case with the Maryland Public Service Commission on Dec. 4 for $43.3 million more in base distribution rates, a hike of $4.80 a month on the average customer bill. This is the company’s third rate increase request since 2011. Pepco is seeking the increase to recover the cost of providing service and to give a fair rate of return on capital to its investors. The monopoly utility, which serves 540,000 customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, is asking to increase its allowed rate of return for investors from 9.36 percent to 10.25 percent. Pepco’s request comes less than five months after the Public Service Commission raised the utility’s base rates and broke with precedent to grant it the first tracker, or upfront surcharge, in the state. In July, the PSC granted Pepco $27.9 million of a See PEPCO, Page A-10 B-13 A-11 A-2 B-10 A-4 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906206

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