Middle school band gets high marks at festival

May 20, 1999

A seventh-grade band at E. Russell Hicks Middle School earned a superior rating at the Maryland State Band Festival in Gaithersburg May 5.

It was the first time in at least 24 years that a Washington County public school band attained the ranking, according to Band Director Robert Hovermale.

"It is a huge deal," he said.

Five Washington County school bands qualified for the festival and two attended. The seventh-graders performed three songs for three judges on stage. They performed separately for a judge who checked their ability to read music, Hovermale said.

The 31 bands from around the state were judged at different levels of ability, Hovermale said. "This was our assessment."

"We were scared until we started playing, then we just blocked it out," said Jonathan Beattie, a trombone player.

After the festival, the musicians got on the bus and flashed their forefingers to passersby in the "No. 1" sign, he said.


"We worked hard for months," said Lauren Cecil, a flute player.

"Blood, sweat and tears," joked Joshua Bond, a trumpet player.

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