All County bands get in the swing

January 31, 2009|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," but the Washington County Public Schools All County Jazz Band found its groove from the opening notes of its Tribute to Duke Ellington Saturday night at North Hagerstown High School.

Under the direction of guest conductor John Blount, the jazz band produced a tight sound as it followed the Ellington medley with Sammy Nestico's "Samantha," Urbie Green's arrangement of "Perdido" and "Fire Dance" by Allen Vizzutti and Jeff Tkazyik.

Blount, the retired lead trumpeter for the U.S. Navy's jazz ensemble the Commodores, joined in on the final number with the jazz band, drawn from the county's high schools. The band led off the 2009 All County Middle and Senior High School Concerts and Jazz Band.

Some of the musicians are veterans, while others were making their first appearances, either as middle school musicians selected by their teachers or high school students who auditioned.


About 250 musicians took part in the concert, said Robert Hovermale, supervisor of visual and performing arts for Washington County Public Schools.

"Tonight, we celebrate some of the finest talents in Washington County," Hovermale told the auditorium audience of several hundred family members, friends and music lovers.

At 15, Boonsboro High School sophomore David Adams made the all-state band. North Hagerstown High School senior Wilson Poffenberger has been an all-state alto saxophonist two years running. Both lent their talents to the 17-member jazz band.

"Somebody stepped on my reed and it cracked," said Sonali Singh of South Hagerstown High School. She confessed to some nervousness as she warmed up in the North High library, breaking in a new reed crafted for her by a music teacher.

"Wow ... I feel old now," said clarinetist Morgan Baker, a Williamsport High School senior while thinking back on her four years in the all county high school band.

Jon Myers of Williamsport was making his second appearance with the band, having played trumpet before switching to French horn four months ago.

"In sixth grade, our band teacher said we had too many flutes ... so I tried it," Northern Middle School student Caroline Bradford, 13, said in explaining why she switched to oboe. This was her second year as a member of the county middle school band.

Making a cohesive band out of students from so many schools took three practice sessions, one less than planned because of a snow day, said Greg Roeder, who plays the euphonium for North High. Clarinetist Sean Cremins said the practice time probably amounted to about a dozen hours.

The practices and concert also were a broadening experience for students such as Rachel Haines of Hancock Middle School. She got to perform and make friends with students outside their own school.

Marlon Foster of Harrisonburg, Va., a former member of the U.S. Air Force Band at Langley Air Force Base, led the middle school band. Mark McCoy, the chair of the Department of Music at Shepherd University, was the guest conductor for the senior high musicians.

Bob Hockenbury was one of eight students from Clear Spring picked for the concert. The first instrument he played was the violin, but he began playing the tuba in 10th grade for one simple reason.

"You can't march with a violin," he said.

2009 All County Middle School Band

First Flute

Rebecca Bushko, Boonsboro; Gabriel Hall, Clear Spring; Olivia Jones, Northern; Melissa Miller, Springfield; Jennifer Moore, Boonsboro; Samantha Rossiter, E. Russell Hicks; Miriam Tasker, E. Russell Hicks; Caitlyn Wilson, Smithsburg

Second Flute

Cayla Grimm, Clear Spring; Justyna Jordan, Smithsburg; Allison Martin, Western Heights; Alexus Rivas, Western Heights; Anne Rueckerl, Northern; Haley Sweigert, Springfield; Lily Wolford, Hancock; Sarah Zielinski, Boonsboro


Caroline Bradford, Northern; Ida Heines, Clear Spring; Jennifer Shepheard, Northern

First Clarinet

Erin Cooley, Smithsburg; Stephanie Crombie, E. Russell Hicks; Emily Fortney, E. Russell Hicks; Sierra Fowler, Hancock; Stephani Frisby, Clear Spring; Michael Lacey, Boonsboro; Margaret Manspeaker, Northern; Johanna Papa, Western Heights; Aubrey Sparks, Springfield; Sara Wagner, Hancock; Shelby Wallace, Boonsboro

Second Clarinet

Brianna Arnemann, Clear Spring; Amy Callandrelle, Northern; Brianna Dick, Northern; Jolene Evart, Hancock; Cassidy Garner, Clear Spring; Lauren Johnson, Springfield; Juliet Marenco, Western Heights; Katherine Mosely, Smithsburg; Beatrice Rolea, E. Russell Hicks; Aiman Siddiqui, Boonsboro; Whitley Tobei, E. Russell Hicks

Third Clarinet

Courtney Bryan, Springfield; Kortney Cunningham, Boonsboro; Joyce Edwards, Smithsburg; Brooke Fisher, Boonsboro; Crystal Girardin, Western Heights; Esther Hayes, Northern; Rachel Hines, Hancock; Lindsay Hout, Springfield; Krystal Rhinehart, Western Heights; Kayla Smith, Clear Spring; Kelsey Winters, E. Russell Hicks

Alto Clarinet

Kevin Thacker, Clear Spring

Bass Clarinet

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