Principal tries to reassure band parents

September 10, 1997


Staff Writer

North Hagerstown High School Principal David Reeder Tuesday attempted to reassure anxious parents about the health of the school's marching band, in spite of the absence of its longtime leader.

Addressing a band boosters club meeting Tuesday night, Reeder said he also expects the band to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, despite language in the invitation that seems to suggest the offer is contingent on Noel Kunkle being the director.

Kunkle has not been at school for about two weeks, but school officials have not given a reason for his absence.


"There are a lot of rumors and innuendos about the band program," Reeder said. "We're still moving toward Macy's and I expect the band to do a crackerjack job at the Walkersville (football) game. I expect the band to perform well at competition on Saturday."

In an interview, Reeder said he believes the Macy's offer depends on the band matching an expected level of quality. Under the leadership of interim director Michelle Althouse, he added that he is confident the band will meet that threshold.

Some parents at the meeting, however, expressed frustration that they have not been given a better explanation.

"This whole thing is just getting totally out of hand, totally out of control. There's so many rumors," one parent said.

Reeder apologized for not revealing more details, but called it a "legal issue" and said he could not say anything that might "jeopardize the confidentiality of the people involved."

Reeder said he does not know when Kunkle will return.

In the meantime, however, Reeder expressed confidence in Althouse, a Northern Middle School teacher who has been associated with the high school band for the last four years.

"This band, as far as I'm concerned, has great leadership," he said.

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