Singers sought for chorale’s new season | Columns –

A new year can bring opportunities to put established talents in play, or perhaps pursue a new one.

The Encore Chorale of Southern Maryland gives people who sing in the shower or along with the car stereo a chance to see if their pipes are ready for prime time, or at least a season of local concerts.

“New singers are welcome, and we start next Wednesday,” Jan. 16, Stanley “Joey” Hoopengardner, the local chorale’s conductor, said this week. “We have singers who have sung before, and novices who have never sung.”

The national Encore program got its start about a dozen years ago, and Southern Maryland joined in shortly thereafter, according to Hoopengardner, a retired teacher now in his third year heading the local program. Chorale members will rehearse for 15 weeks, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Asbury Solomons retirement community in Calvert, followed by the series of public performances.

Anyone 55 or older can take part, and there are no auditions.

“We teach them,” the conductor said, “and so far, we’ve had pretty good success.”

Dance Saturday in Chaptico

Come out to swing, promenade and do-si-do to lively jigs, reels and waltzes at a Southern Maryland Traditional Music and Dance contra dance, to be held this Saturday, Jan. 12, at Christ Episcopal Church’s parish hall in Chaptico.

The Southern Maryland Open Band will be playing live acoustic string music, and caller Kim Forry will teach and call the dances. The beginners dance workshop, which does not require a partner, will begin at 7 p.m., and the dance will start at 7:30. There will be an ice cream social during the intermission.

Wrestling to return Jan. 19 to Hollywood

Maryland Championship Wrestling will return on Saturday, Jan. 19, to the Hollywood firehouse, with another full card of celebrity combatants.

Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart, superstar Scott Steiner and Impact Wrestling’s Scarlett Bordeaux will be there, as MCW’s “Winter Blast” tour arrives in St. Mary’s, at the venue located at 24801 Three Notch Road.

A 6:30 p.m. meet-and-greet will precede the matches beginning at 8 p.m., including Ring of Honor star and MCW Pro Wrestling Heavyweight champion Dante Caballero vs. Brandon Scott, who recently faced NWA World Heavyweight champion Nick Aldis.

The Tag Team champions Sons of Savagery, Bishop Kaun and Malcolm Moses, will defend their title against The Hell Cats, Sexy Steve and Jimmy Starz.

Other contestants will include the three members of Caballero’s “Cartel,” international sensation Kekoa facing John Skyler, and fan favorite Greg Excellent challenging Shaun Cannon.

Learn about septic upgrade grants at Jan. 26 meeting

Eligibility has been expanded for residential grants to reduce pollution, and a public informational meeting planned for later this month will highlight the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s Clear Water Program and its administration of a Bay Restoration Fund.

The ongoing grant program awards funds to residents and small businesses. Monies are earmarked for reduction of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay through septic system upgrades and connections to public sewer. In many cases, the grants cover all expenses to upgrade septic systems and include maintenance costs for two years.

The meeting to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse on St. George Island will inform the public about the program, including how to apply for funding. Heather Moritz, the county health department’s environmental health specialist, will focus her talk on the grant process, changes that are allowing more people to be eligible for funding, septic upgrade benefits, maintenance of septic upgrades and basic septic system information.

Anyone planning to attend the event is asked to register in advance, by calling or texting a message to 301-904-2387, or by sending an email to with the names of the people who will attend.

The St. Mary’s River Watershed Association will host the talk during its annual members meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m. with the election of directors. The business meeting will be very brief. Co-hosts for the event are Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group and the Friends of St. Clement’s Bay.

Breakfast to be served Jan. 27 at church hall

A Sunday Winter Breakfast with the Knights of Columbus, plus a raffle drawing for a quilt and Afghan, will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall, located at 21370 Newtowne Neck Road near Leonardtown.

The menu will include plain and blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and sausage gravy with biscuits. Beverages will include coffee and juice. A free will donation will be welcome, and proceeds will benefit Saint Francis Xavier Parish. For more information, call Dale Rebarchick at 240-538-3562.

Tax return process is still on track amid shutdown

Despite the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) announced this week that there are no plans to delay processing personal income tax returns for Tax Year 2018.

The Internal Revenue Service and Maryland remain on track to begin processing individual returns on Jan. 28, according to the comptroller’s office. Processing of business tax returns began earlier this week.

The IRS has asked furloughed employees to return to their jobs during the shutdown to avoid any impact to the processing of tax returns.

As in previous years, the comptroller’s office will not immediately process a state tax return if W-2 information is not on file with the agency. Employers are required to report wage information to the comptroller on or before Jan. 31, and the filing deadline for 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15.

Taxpayers are encouraged to file their returns electronically for the fastest possible processing and to ensure they receive all possible refunds. A list of approved vendors for use in filing an electronic return can be found online at

Free state tax assistance is available at all of the agency’s 12 taxpayer service offices from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. A list of office locations can be found on the same website. For more information, go online to the website, or call 800-MD-TAXES (800-638-2937).

Church to hold Feb. 2 indoor yard sale

An indoor yard sale benefitting a scholarship fund at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church’s preschool will be held from 7 a.m. to noon on Feb. 2, at 27108 Mt. Zion Church Road in Mechanicsville.

Tables are available for rent, by calling Rebecca Fitzgerald at 301-884-5455 or sending email to

Stamp design entries due March 8

Migratory game bird stamp artists are invited to submit their original works, through March 8,for the 23rd annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp and 45th annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp design contests.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will judge the entries on March 16, in conjunction with the annual Eagle Festival at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge.

The Black Bear Conservation Stamp contest is open to both state residents and nonresidents. Each contestant may submit one entry for a nonrefundable $10 fee. Proceeds are used to compensate farmers who experience agricultural damage caused by black bears.

The Migratory Game Bird Stamp contest also is open, as of this year, to both state residents and nonresidents. Each contestant may submit up to three entries with a fee structure of $15 for one, $20 for two and $30 for three. Proceeds help fund game bird and waterfowl research and projects.

All entries must be original works, neither copied nor duplicated from any previously published paintings, drawings, prints or photographs. To enter, contestants must mail their designs with required fees, to be received by the deadline, to Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest or The Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest, c/o Christopher Markin, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife & Heritage Service, 828 Airpax Road, Suite 500, Cambridge, MD 21613.

Fishing and boating expo to be held in March at fairgrounds

The Southern Maryland Fishing Fair and Boat Safety Exposition will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 23 and 24 at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds, located off Route 5 south of Leonardtown.

The fishing fair will include vendors selling fishing rods, fishing tackle, fishing trips, artwork and food to fishing enthusiasts. Speakers will address saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities in Southern Maryland, as well as fishing camps for children age 7 to14.

The Boat Safety Exposition will include boat safety preparation, training and demonstrations for boaters presented by federal, state and local organizations.

The event is sponsored by the Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization Inc.


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