26th annual showcase of Marching Bands

September 24, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

"We got off to a rocky start, says Laura Stenger, co-drum major of North Hagerstown High School's "Hub" Band.

The 17-year-old senior is talking about not knowing who the school's band director would be until two weeks before summer band camp started the last week of July.

Jeremy R. Karacz, who had worked with North Hagerstown High School's band as marching instructor for two years while he taught at Western Heights Middle School, got the job.

"We're glad that he came in," she says. "We're good to go now."

The Hub band is the host band at the 26th annual Showcase of Marching Bands Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at School Stadium in Hagerstown. Karacz will lead his 91-member ensemble and he also will direct the seven bands combined - approximately 700 student musicians - in the Showcase finale. Together they will perform John Philip Sousa's "El Capitan March."


"I just stepped right into it," Karacz says.

The evening's program will open with the North High band playing the national anthem.

All the bands will march in to the Hubs' cadence, says Susie Rhodes, a senior trumpeter.

Being the host band is a "nice way to go out as seniors," she adds. Susie, 17, will share a solo spotlight with trumpeter Jonathan Brandenburg and trombonist Andrew Hopkins, both 17.

North High's part of the program is titled "Brave New World," and the three senior brass players will have a chance to shine playing "Make our Garden Grow" from Leonard Bernstein's "Candide."

The Hub band also will take on Antonin Dvork's "New World Symphony" and wrap up its individual performance with "Bacchanale" from Camille Saint-Sans' "Samson and Delilah."

"It's big," says Andrew, with a roll of his eyes.

The students have put a lot of time and hard work into their preparation, says Brandon Strawther, 17, Hub band trombonist and co-drum major. They spent hours and hours - extracurricular hours - in the hot sun getting ready for Showcase, games and the band competitions in which they'll participate.

"It's worth it in the end," Jonathan says.

Showcase is not a competition. "There are no judges," Jonathan says.

But the spirit of competition lives. Having no judges is the only thing that makes it not a competition, Susie says.

Showcase is a chance for all Washington County high school bands to strut their stuff as individual ensembles and then come together and play together as one.

"How many times do you get to see every band in the county?" Laura asks.

She is excited about being a drum major and to be able to lead the band on the field with Brandon.

Will friends and family be watching?

"Of course," Laura says.

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