North's Kunkle retires

September 23, 1997


Staff Writer

Noel T. Kunkle, North Hagerstown High School's band director, retired Tuesday, and assured the community the award-winning band will be fine without him.

Kunkle, who has been a local band director for 31 years, did not return to school this year, but school officials declined to say why.

Kunkle, 53, would say only that he's leaving "for personal reasons."

"No rumors help anybody. I'm not going to comment on it," said Kunkle.

School board members said little about Kunkle's retirement. Board President B. Marie Byers said it was Kunkle's "personal choice" to retire.


Band members have expressed concern about the future of the band without Kunkle, and about whether the band's second appearance at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year was contingent on Kunkle being director. "I think the band will be fine," said Kunkle.

After approving Kunkle's retirement Tuesday, the school board met behind closed doors with members of the North Hagerstown High Band Boosters.

"Everything's fine," Debbie Catherman, co-president of the North High band boosters, said after the meeting.

Catherman said band members have been told not to worry about the Macy's appearance.

"We have told them that we will be there to support them and that everything will be fine," Catherman said.

School board member Edwin Hayes said he had no comment and directed questions to Byers.

Board member Doris J. Nipps would not stop to talk with a reporter after leaving the meeting with band boosters.

North High's Hub Band has had a distinguished record under Kunkle. The band has held the Maryland State Championship of Bands since 1988 and Kunkle first took the band to the Macy's parade in 1991.

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