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Beat goes on for 5 bands at tourney and parade

November 02, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

HAGERSTOWN - Band members from five Washington County schools pulled double duty Saturday.

Moments after the Tournament of Bands Chapter XIII Championship ended at Mike Callas Stadium, it was time for the 84th Alsatia Mummers Parade to kick off.

Boonsboro, Hancock, North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown and Williamsport participated in both events.

"We have to shift gears. Now it's all about the parade," Boonsboro drum major Sean Clark said after directing the Warriors at the band championship. "It's our chance to present ourselves to the community. A lot of kids and their parents won't come here, but they will go to the Mummers Parade."

Only once every several years does the Chapter XIII Championship fall on the same Saturday as the parade, North Hagerstown band director Jeremy Karacz said.

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The two events coincided this year because the band championships are held annually on the first full weekend of November, while the parade generally is held on the Saturday closest to Halloween.

The parade was moved up one hour to 6 p.m. this year, requiring a quick turnaround for the local band members.

"It's a little more difficult since they're starting the parade early this year," Karacz said. "The (Alsatia Club) has been good working with us to make sure everybody gets in. They'll shuffle us around and get the bands that are (available) to go ahead."

The University of Maryland band also performed at the Chapter XIII Championship before being taken by bus to the starting line of the parade, Karacz said. The exhibition at the band competition was to be used as a tuneup for the parade.

"The Alsatia Club wanted them to perform in the afternoon sometime," Karacz said. "It's just dumb luck that we were able to get them."

The University of Maryland was the only band treating Chapter XIII as an exhibition. The five county high school bands were among 10 area marching bands and 16 total bands in the competition.

Washington, Hedgesville, Martinsburg, Musselman and Jefferson participated from the Eastern Panhandle, along with Allegany, Northern Garrett, Southern Garrett, Petersburg (W.Va.), Keyser (W.Va.) and Warren County (Va.).

Winners of each group advance to the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Conference Championships on Nov. 15 and 16 at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pa.

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