Valerie Amerkhail joined Encore in 2010 and currently sings tenor with Capitol Encore and Encore Rocks - DC. She originally came to DC after graduating from Swarthmore College, to work as an economist at the U. S. Department of Commerce and then the Department of Agriculture. After marrying a visiting economist, she lived in Afghanistan and Germany, and then returned to DC, first working for the Congressional Research Service, then joining the private sector to analyze and forecast government economic policy, and later forecasting corporate taxes for the Congressional Budget Office.
For the past 30 years she has specialized in Transfer Pricing, helping companies that do business with related companies in other tax jurisdictions to ensure that the prices of the goods, services, and intangibles in their intercompany transactions are consistent with the "arm's length pricing" requirements of the governments that tax the resulting profits, and helping the companies defend their prices when governments question them.
Valerie sang alto in her high school chorus but participating in the chorus did not include learning to read music, so she didn't try out for anything after high school. Eventually, her church choir really needed another alto, so she bought a small Radio Shack keyboard and practiced the alto part of each new hymn, until she could feel reasonably comfortable sight-reading the notes, even though she still can't tell you what key they are in. Along the way, she discovered that no matter how exhausted and tense she might be, Wednesday evening choir practice was the perfect way to unwind the stress of making partner at a big accounting firm.
Much later, when her widowed mother had moved to this area and her needs had become both intense and hard to predict, Encore rehearsals became an especially valued social activity because they were a commitment, and thus could be enjoyed without feeling guilty.