Kunkle to accompany band to New York

November 12, 1997

Kunkle to accompany band to New York


Staff Writer

Former North Hagerstown High School band director Noel T. Kunkle will help organize the group's stay in New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, although one school official said Kunkle should not be going.

"That's news to me. All I'm going to say is he's not supposed to be there," said Robert L. Kline, vice president of the Washington County Board of Education.

Kline would not elaborate.

Current band director Kurt Widmann, however, said Kunkle is a private citizen and is free to do what he wants.

"We're not a communist country. He's a free citizen," said James Connor, co-president of the North High Band Boosters.

"We do live in America," said Board of Education President B. Marie Byers.

Kunkle, who led North High to nine straight state band championships and a 1991 performance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, did not return to work this year, but school officials would not say why.


Kunkle, 53, retired on Sept. 24.

Kunkle would not comment in detail on his departure, saying only that it was for "personal reasons."

Taking the North High band to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a huge job and Kunkle was needed to take care of administrative details of the event, especially since he had organized much of the appearance, said Principal David Reeder and other officials.

Widmann said Kunkle will help arrange motel rooms for students at the Radisson Hotel in Englewood, N.J., and secure tickets for trips to Radio City Music Hall, Ellis Island and other tourist attractions, said Widmann.

"He wanted to go and we wanted him to go also," said Connor.

Connor said one of the main reasons North High was able to land a second appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was because of Kunkle's impressive record at North High. "No one will come close to that," said Connor.

But Connor said Kunkle does not have to attend the event in order for the band to participate.

Earlier in the year, some people said they believed the band's invitation was contingent on Kunkle being director.

Organizer's of the parade could not comment in detail about North High's performance.

Byers said she was under the impression that Kunkle was not to be directly involved with students on the trip. Widmann is in charge of the performance and managing the group, Byers said.

"I doubt if Mr. Kunkle is acting in any official capacity," said Board member Doris J. Nipps.

Kunkle could not be reached for comment.

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