Teen directing MSO

December 05, 2000

Teen to direct MSO

MSO's holiday concert takes stage Dec. 10 at The Maryland Theatre

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Kate BishopKatie Bishop is used to looking over a conductor's stand into a group of musicians' faces.

But the view she'll get from the stage at The Maryland Theatre will be a little different than she's used to. Instead of seeing 80 high school musicians dressed in marching band uniforms, she'll see 68 to 78 professional musicians in formal attire.

"I'm not very worried," said Katie, a 17-year-old senior at South Hagerstown High School. The daughter of Jeff and Jody Bishop of Hagerstown, she has been the field commander for the South High Rebel Band for two years.

Katie was selected to conduct the orchestra's sold-out holiday concert Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. The opportunity was provided by Jerry Massey, owner of Massey Lincoln Mercury Hundai in Hagerstown.


Massey was the top bidder for the conducting option on Nov. 4 at an auction during the MSO Guild's ball. For the second time in a few years, he donated the chance to a student in Washington County public schools.

"It just seems like it's a nice fund-raising activity for the guild," Massey said, plus it gives a young person a great opportunity.

Massey asked Susie Kunkle, music resource specialist for the school system, to find a student who was planning to major in music in college.

Kunkle said she called music teachers throughout the county to get their recommendations, and ended up with five. She whittled down the choices by looking at their chair positions in all-county band and orchestra, and how often they participated in ratings as soloists and in ensembles. What put Katie, a flutist, above the rest was her selection to all-state band two years in a row.

"I was very excited. It's pretty cool," said Katie, who has been playing flute since fourth grade. She plans to major in performance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., or Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.

Massey was pleased with Kunkle's choice because he and Katie have two things in common. She will graduate in 2001 from South High; Massey graduated from there in 1961. And he, like Katie, was chosen for all-state band in high school. He played French horn.

During the MSO's 13th annual holiday concert, Katie will conduct "The Christmas Song," also known as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," said Elaine Braun, director of operations for MSO. The piece lasts about two minutes, she said.

The program will also include versions of "Sleigh Ride" by Mozart, Prokofiev and Anderson; the "Winter" movement of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"; "Light Songs," a collection of Hanukkah songs; "Holiday Moods"; "Brassy Holiday"; and "Christmas Memories." Hagerstown Choral Arts will join the orchestra in "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Away in a Manger," selections from Handel's "Messiah" and will assist in the audience sing-along.

Katie's only rehearsal with the MSO will be the morning of the concert. The day before, she will audition at Ithaca College.

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