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Band to perform at Pentagon

October 17, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man is part of a group that has been chosen to perform in a concert Friday in the courtyard at the Pentagon for employees and their families.

The concert is part of a series of shows being sponsored by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union to express its appreciation of Pentagon workers and family members in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Christopher Bell sings and plays guitar for Ashley Marie & Family. He said the members of the "new country" band are excited about the show.

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"This is the first time I've ever done anything like this for my government, my country," Bell said. "It's all very special."

A native New Yorker now in his 30s, Bell came to Hagerstown as a student. He graduated from Hagerstown Community College and the University of Maryland and stayed to teach high school in Hagerstown.

"I've been with the band for a year now," Bell said. "All of us are doing other things but we all consider ourselves musicians first and foremost."

The group will perform in two shows scheduled during the three lunch periods at the Pentagon.

The Friday concert is the second in a series of three featuring different bands and musical genres.

Bell said the new country sound and look is typified by Shania Twain and Faith Hill, a kind of rock music crossover with a lot of movement and showmanship on stage.

More than 1,000 people stopped by for the first concert, said Mary Lynn Stevens, vice president of external relations at Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

Ashley Marie is a 19-year-old college junior at McDaniel College in Westminster.

"Ashley is phenomenal," Bell said. "She has been performing since she was 9 years old."

The band's members include David Staccone of Westminster on bass guitar and vocals, Scott Underwood of Frederick, Md., on keyboard and lead vocals, Mike Purdum of New Market on drums and vocals and Mark Appleford of Ashburn, Va., on harmonica and vocals.

The group has opened for many national acts including Martina McBride, Chad Brock, Mila Mason, the Dixie Chicks and Charlie Daniels, according to a press release.

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