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North Hagerstown High band heads for Citrus Bowl

December 27, 1998

Hubs go to bowlBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




On Sunday, the 121 members of the North Hagerstown High School band loaded up on four buses and set off for an 18-hour ride - destination: Orlando, Fla., for a band competition and to perform at the Citrus Bowl Parade on New Year's Eve.

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The local school will get a chance to test its mettle against about 20 other bands from across the country to win trophies, said Kurt Widmann, band director. The North Hagerstown band finished 24th out of hundreds of bands that performed at the Atlantic Coast Band Championships in Scranton, Pa., this year.

They are the only band from Washington County to perform at a bowl game in 1998.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the band, school, county and state like last year at the Macy's Parade (when the band performed)," said Widmann.

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The parade will air on ABC at 10 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The band also will perform in a parade at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World. During the seven-day trip, the students will visit Disney World, Sea World, a Hard Rock Cafe and other attractions. They will return home on Saturday evening.

"Most of the students have never been to Florida before," Widmann said. "This is an opportunity to perform before people who have never seen them before and new bands they've never seen before."

They will perform a John Philip Sousa march, "Salvation is Created" and "Great Gate of Kiev."

The band consists of 16 guards, 19 percussionists and 86 wind instrumentalists.

Each student raised $625 to pay for the trip by participating in a bike/hike race and selling candy, pizza and other items.

Alto saxophone player David Acree sold candy and used his savings to finance the trip.

"I am really psyched," he said. "I have only been to Florida once before and I've always wanted to go back."

The junior said he won't be doing school work or practicing his instrument during the long bus ride.

"I am hoping to catch up on some sleep," he said.

Acree, of Hagerstown, said he isn't nervous about playing before a huge crowd and being televised.

"I just hope we win," he said of the band competition.

Piccolo player Danielle Holtzman, 15, of Hagerstown, said she is excited to take part in the trip.

She said she came prepared for the long bus ride.

"I have tons of games and cards and food," she said.

This weekend's performance will mark the end of the band's marching season.

"They worked hard this year," said Widmann.Widmann said the trip is particularly exciting for him since he played at Disney World when was a band student and visited there while on staff at a Pittsburgh high school.

"The trip should be a lot of fun for the kids," he said. "Most of them are friends, and they get a chance to spend an entire week together."

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