Military band plays to crowd at college

July 11, 2005|by KAREN HANNA


With fingers and feet tapping, and shirts dampened with sweat, the crowd at Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater endured temperatures near 90 degrees to hear a little music Sunday.

"It's just so close to the Fourth of July - I'd like it any time. It just seems like a summertime thing to do," Brenda Lampard said as the 229th U.S. Army National Guard of Maryland Band played.

Lampard, and her mother, Nancy Nicholas, both of Williamsport, were among several hundred people who braved the heat to hear the free concert.


Umbrellas shaded those sitting in the amphitheater's green seats, while others relaxed on blankets and lawn chairs under trees.

The band's broad repertoire included both John Philip Sousa marches and Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville."

The sister of two former military men, Lampard said she enjoys listening to patriotic music to "show respect for the troops."

Ronald Wayne Taylor, the president of the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association, which sponsored the event, stood tall as the band played "The Air Force Song."

A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Taylor said the song still resonates with him, and he signaled his approval of the band with a thumbs-up after the last note.

Taylor said the event, the second of three "red, white and blue" concerts, was designed to pay tribute to the military and bring attention to the amphitheater. The last concert, featuring the U.S. Air Force Concert Band will be Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the amphitheater.

"It's the first time a lot of these bands - these big bands - have been to the Hagerstown area," Taylor said.

Robert Donley and his wife, Janice, of Hagerstown, sheltered under the shade of a tree to the side of the amphitheater.

Donley, who was in the U.S. Army three years, said he enjoys listening to military bands.

"Always enjoyed the military bands ... the Army, the Navy, Air Force," Donley said.

Dozens of people in the audience stood as they recognized the songs representing their individual branches of service, and several men wore caps attesting to their time in the military or fighting abroad.

Lisa Stewart, the college's alumni coordinator, said she hopes events at the amphitheater will help increase its popularity. According to Stewart, the alumni association paid for the outdoor stage.

The patriotic events are particularly appropriate now, Stewart said.

"It's a time in our country when we're at war, and it's always good to showcase the military when they're at their best," Stewart said.

According to an emcee for the band, John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen," which is featured on the "Saving Private Ryan" soundtrack, was dedicated to soldiers who have lost their lives fighting. The song also paid tribute to the people who died in last week's terrorist attacks in London, the emcee said.

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