Band plays once more for victims of disaster

October 10, 2005|by KAREN HANNA


As the Hagerstown Municipal Band performed for a crowd in the auditorium, volunteers in North Hagerstown High School's lobby registered the high notes of a special concert Sunday - donations.

According to Rayetta Schindel, who sits on the board of directors for the Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross, Sunday's Tribute to the American Spirit concert generated $1,611 in donations before intermission.

"And there's people asking if we're going to be here during intermission and afterwards, so we're expecting maybe to get some more," Schindel said.


Band conductor Lynn Lerew said since 1980 the band has performed only in the summer. The outpouring of concern and assistance for people living in the Gulf Coast region devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita inspired the band to get together one more time this year, Lerew said.

"It's always fun to get together and make good music. We enjoy being together, we enjoy performing together," Lerew said after the concert.

In the halls outside the auditorium, signs hung advertising this year's homecoming, "A Tribute to Mardi Gras."

Bob Shank, a Community Rescue Service paramedic, stood outside the auditorium, watching his daughters, ages 4 and 9. They were too antsy to return to the concert after intermission, he said.

A former U.S. Army soldier, Shank served in Panama during the invasion. He also traveled to New Orleans with a team of paramedics last month. Both places, he said, were war zones.

"Just the military presence is what hit home for me," Shank said.

Shank and Jonas Zeigler, an emergency medical technician and firefighter, said they appreciated having the opportunity to help in the Gulf Coast.

"We didn't want to come home," Zeigler said.

Audience member Paula Kretzer of Hagerstown said she came to the concert to enjoy the music and help the relief effort.

"Here to support the effort for the hurricane relief, and here to support our son, who's in percussion," Kretzer said. Her son, Brad, a sophomore at Saint James School, began playing for the band in the summer, she said.

The fundraising efforts were resonating with concertgoers, Red Cross volunteer Shirley Shirey said.

By intermission, the organization had raised $1,994, just shy of an even $2,000, Shirey said.

A CRS member standing outside the auditorium in earshot had a resounding answer for the shortfall. He reached into his wallet and gave Shirey $6 more.

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