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Marching bands shine in Autumn Festival

October 03, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -Lights shined on a quiet, empty Kaley Field at Greencastle-Antrim High School just before 7 p.m. Saturday.

The other side of the fence surrounding the football field was a different story.

Parents - many dressed in the color of their children's marching band uniforms - gathered in groups, chatting about various topics.

Students, some of whom were in the band, munched on food and hung out in small circles.

Several band members said they weren't nervous about the U.S. Scholastic Band Association's Autumn Festival that they'd be participating in shortly.

"I've done this plenty of times," said Tabitha Kauffman, 16, a member of the Greencastle-Antrim band's guard. "We're home. It's no big deal."

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The high school bands participating in the event included Greencastle-Antrim, James Buchanan, South Hagerstown, Quince Orchard, Shippensburg, Middletown and Nazareth Area.

Greencastle-Antrim band parent Ginerva Crawford, who organized the event's concession sales, said the bands travel to different places on weekends to perform and win awards after each event.

Winifred Harvie, Greencastle-Antrim music department chair and vocal music teacher, said the competition is set up so that the scores increase with each week's performance, leading up to the final championship event.

"Things improve all the time," Harvie said. "It's a growth period. It's training."

She said the school that hosts the event typically does not compete against the other schools that week. Greencastle-Antrim did an exhibition performance on Saturday that was not for competition, Harvie said.

The U.S. Scholastic Band Association formed in 1988, and more than 400 high school music programs take part in the association's festivals each year, according to the Autumn Festival's program. Bands also receive invitations to perform in regional competitions and the U.S. Scholastic Band Championship, according to the program.

Before the event, Ashley LaPlante, 15, said she was feeling relaxed.

"I think once I get on the field, I'll be a little nervous, but right now, I'm just chillin," said Ashley, a member of Greencastle-Antrim's guard.

"We pretty much know what we're doing ..." said her bandmate, Amanda Christman, 16.

The Greencastle-Antrim band was to perform "Excerpts from Miss Saigon."

The guard members said they practice two to three hours on two nights every week, but that they don't try to outshine their competition during performances.

"We just try to work on our work and make sure we know it all," Ashley said.

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