Students rally to support Kunkle

September 12, 1997


Staff Writer

About 30 North Hagerstown High School band students met with School Superintendent Linda Barkdoll Thursday morning to express concern about the band in the absence of band director Noel T. Kunkle and to show support for the longtime leader of the group.

Some of the students had signs bearing messages of support for Kunkle, Barkdoll said.

The students did not want to know why Kunkle was absent, Barkdoll said. The students said "we trust him and need him for our band program," Barkdoll said.

Kunkle has not been at school for about three weeks, but school officials have declined to say why he has not been at work.


Kunkle has led the band to several state band championships and a 1991 performance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band has been invited to perform in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Day Parade again this year, although there is language in the invitation that seems to suggest the offer is contingent on Kunkle being the director.

Barkdoll said she responded to the students by telling them she appreciated their interest in the program. Barkdoll could not comment on whether Kunkle will return or any other issues regarding his absence.

"There's not anything else I can say," Barkdoll said.

Kunkle could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

About three weeks ago, Kunkle said he was recovering from surgery and had been home for about a week. Kunkle said at the time that he expected to be back at work by this year's Macy's Day Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Tuesday night during a band boosters meeting at the school, North High principal David Reeder attempted to reassure anxious parents about the health of the school's marching band. Reeder said there has been "a lot of rumors and innuendos about the band program."

North High Principal David F. Reeder said school officials cannot release a lot of information about Kunkle's absence and students are concerned.

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