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Warriors march in capital

February 04, 2003|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Temperatures were in the 20s on Jan. 16, making it a chilly day for a parade.

But that didn't faze members of the Boonsboro High School marching band when they represented Washington County in Annapolis during the Parade of Counties following Gov. Robert Ehrlich's inauguration.

"It was an honor to be there. The crowd was really supportive of us," said Brandon Butler, 17, a senior tuba player.

Band members said they were surprised when band director Stacha Schiller-Stinson announced before Christmas that they would take part in the inaugural festivities.

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Winter break gave them a chance to memorize their new marching music, "The Thunder" by John Philip Sousa, they said.

While marching season usually ends in mid-November, Boonsboro High band members were polishing their parade skills in early January - and getting used to marching in winter weather.

Junior drum major Kristen Wachtel, 16, said the band this year has marched in just about every kind of weather - rain, mud, heat and cold - but the chance to perform at the inaugural parade was an experience well worth marching in the cold.

"It was great to be marching and supporting our state and the new governor," Kristen said. "It was fun to see how much of a good time the governor was having."

Members of the Warriors band were encouraged to wear as many layers as would fit under their band uniforms. Hand warmers were a big help. While awaiting their turn, band members stayed inside the Naval Academy Field House, roasting under all the layers, then felt the shock of the cold when it was time to line up outside.

"When we were inside the field house, we wanted to be outside. Then when we were outside, we wanted to be inside," said junior drum major Patrick Younkins, 16.

Once they began marching, most band members didn't even notice the cold, Schiller-Stinson said.

"The students had good attitudes and decided it was mind over matter. They clicked into performance mode," she said, noting that the 2-mile parade route flew by.

The adventure also turned out to be a learning experience because it was an opportunity for band members to see the styles of different bands from around the state, including a dancing band from the Baltimore area, they said.

"They were getting a good response from everyone," said Younkins, for who it was a first trip to Annapolis.

Marching through the state capital was an amazing way to see the city for the first time, he said. And it's the closest he's ever been to a governor.

Despite the cold, Boonsboro High band members said they had an unforgettable experience.

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