Students jive to Charlie Parker and Count Basie during Montgomery blues program

Montgomery County fifth-graders enjoy a morning of jazz music in the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Montgomery County fifth-graders enjoy a morning of jazz music in the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The band’s beats and chords squished together like putty and dangled apart across subtle silence, and 1,600 pairs of little eyeballs widened as trombone tones danced to a Caribbean groove. Children jived and twisted in their seats as notes barreled and swayed around them.

It was 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, a time when these children would normally be doing long division or working on comma placement. But this rainy, chilly October morning was different: It was a perfect day for the blues.

Droves of 10-year-olds came to the Strathmore arts center from all over Montgomery County as part of a decade-old partnership with the county’s school system that exposes children to live music at the organization’s massive music hall in North Bethesda.

The live blues program fits directly into Montgomery’s music curriculum, which fifth-graders are working on, said Katherine Murphy, the county’s content specialist for K-12 general and choral music. It aims to expose students to the music and its cultural importance.

“They are learning chord changes and the 12-bar blues form,” Murphy said. “They’re also learning about nontraditionally classical instruments like the drums and the electric guitar.”

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page B1 of The Washington Post.

New D.C. rules on carrying gun in public will be put to legal test next month

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. was quick Friday to dismiss a last-ditch request for reconsideration of his July ruling to legalize carrying a gun in public in the District.

Scullin told Andrew Saindon, of the D.C. attorney general’s office, that by the lawyer’s arguments, he was unsure how closely he had read his original decision. The hearing ended in less than an hour. “I think we’ve been through this a number of times,” Scullin said. “The motion for reconsideration is denied.”

After ruling the city’s gun law to be unconstitutional, Scullin gave city officials 90 days to rewrite what had been one of the strictest anti-gun policies in the country. The stay expires Wednesday.

Those officials have complied — grudgingly. The D.C. Council voted unanimously Sept. 23 to put a regulatory structure in place that allows city residents who own registered handguns and nonresidents with a state carry license to apply for a permit to bear a concealed weapon in the District.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) signed emergency legislation into law Oct. 10 that will let people start applying by Wednesday. The emergency legislation is in effect for 90 days, which officials said gives them time to refine the law.

“We really don’t want to move forward with allowing more guns in the District of Columbia, but we all know we have to be compliant with what the courts say,” Muriel E. Bowser (Ward 4), the Democratic nominee for mayor, said last month.

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page B1 of The Washington Post.