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Officials mum on Kunkle absence

September 09, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

North Hagerstown High School band director Noel T. Kunkle, who has led the group to several state band championships and a 1991 performance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, has not been at school for about two weeks, officials said.

School officials, including interim Superintendent Linda Barkdoll, have declined to say why Kunkle has not been at work.

North Hagerstown Principal David F. Reeder said a substitute teacher will replace Kunkle for "a short term."

Kunkle could not be reached for comment Monday.

Two weeks ago, Kunkle said he was recovering from surgery and had been home for a week. Kunkle said he had a medical problem that had been detected after summer band camp.

Kunkle said at the time that he expected to be back to work by this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, to which the band was invited in May.

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The North High band has held the Maryland State Championship of Bands title since 1988.

Kunkle first took the band to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1991. Bands who want to perform in the parade a second time face a grueling application process that includes submitting audio and video tapes and a resume of accomplishments, Kunkle said.

Only 12 bands from across the country are allowed to perform in the parade.

Kunkle, who has been working with county high school bands for 31 years, said in May it was "every band director's dream" to be invited to play in the parade.

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