Widmann named band director at North High

October 01, 1997


Staff Writer

A music teacher at E. Russell Hicks Middle School has been selected as the new band director at North Hagerstown High School, school officials said Wednesday.

Kurt Widmann will take over from Noel Kunkle, who announced last month that he was retiring as the Hub Band's director.

Widmann has taught general music and chorus at E. Russell Hicks for three years. The chorus at the school had 18 members when Widmann took over, and by the following year the number had grown to 43. About 110 students tried out for the group this year, Widmann said.


Widmann gained directing experience as assistant band director for North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh. He accompanied the 300-member band to its 1993 performance in the Orange Bowl Parade in Miami, and was on hand for several of the group's appearances at Pittsburgh Steelers football games.

Widmann said the North High position is the biggest directing job he has held.

North High's band had a distinguished record under Kunkle.

"It's a very outstanding organization. I'm ready," said Widmann.

Kunkle, who had been a local band director for 31 years, did not return to school this year, but school officials would not say why. Kunkle, 53, would say only that he left for "personal reasons."

Band members have expressed concern about the future of the band without Kunkle, and about whether the band's participation in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year was contingent on Kunkle being director.

Widmann said he was unaware of any requirement that Kunkle be director in order for the band to march in the parade.

Widmann, 27, said the band has been practicing for the performance and "we are planning to go."

Widmann said he learned Monday that he had been chosen for the North High post. The Washington County Board of Education will vote on the appointment on Oct. 7, officials said.

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