Musicians, guard face off at North High


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    HAGERSTOWN -- High school band calls to mind a group of students in uniform marching and entertaining during halftime at football games.

    But football games are just a small fraction of the high school band equation.

    Besides the games and autumn outdoor band competitions, many students commit to a spring season of indoor band.

    North Hagerstown High School on Saturday hosted an indoor percussion and guard competition, with 22 schools from across the Tri-State area participating.

    North High band director Jeremy Karacz said when he stepped into his role seven years ago, only one other high school in Washington County had an indoor band. Now, every high school in the county except one has an indoor percussion or guard group, or both, he said.

    The North Hagerstown High School indoor percussion ensemble's Saturday performance featured Don Ellis' jazzy "Niner-Two."

    "The gym was packed for percussion this morning and it's stayed that way all day," Karacz said.


Star-Lena Quintana, a North senior, is captain of the school's indoor color guard. The group performed "A Beautiful Chaos," featuring the song "Night Flight" by the Ahn Trio.

Quintana said hosting the show at the group's home school was "really exciting."

"All the hometown people are here, so it's more fun," she said. "There's a lot of energy. When the crowd is into it, we're into it. It's a lot nicer."

Katelyn Sword, North's guard instructor, said the group has fared well in competition this season. It began competing at white guard, an advanced skill level. Because of its high ratings, judges moved the group to blue guard, the highest level of competition. Sword said the team is the only one in Washington County, and one of only a few in the Tri-State area, to compete at that level.

As host school, North groups performed exhibition shows Saturday, but were not judged competitively.

Amy Brown, a 2004 graduate of North and a former member of the school's guard, now instructs the guard at Musselman High School in Inwood, W.Va. The team performed "Musselopoly," tossing flags, rifles and sabers while doing a lyrical dance atop a gameboard-like mat.

"You always want to do something no one else has done before," Brown said.

Musselman went on to win first place in the white guard category.

Brown said she hopes people will come to see color guard as a sport.

"These kids really work," she said. "They break fingers, sprain ankles, get black eyes. They have equipment flying at them and it gets brutal."

Senior Deanna Whitlock, a member of the Waynesboro High School color guard, said she views color guard as both sport and art.

"You need agility and coordination so you can catch things right," she said. "And it's art because you draw a picture to try to portray the music."

The following are the results from Saturday's indoor percussion and guard competition at North Hagerstown High School.


o White percussion ensemble -- 1. Waynesboro, 85.3. 2. Boonsboro, 73.9.

o Blue percussion ensemble -- 1. Greencastle-Antrim, 94.1. 2. Governor Thomas Johnson, 91.5.

o Gold percussion -- 1. Clarke County, 81.5. 2. Chambersburg, 74.1. 3. Fort Hill, 72.2. 4. Frederick, 71.4.

o Blue percussion -- 1. Musselman, 84.4. 2. South Hagerstown, 82.4.

o Exhibition -- North Hagerstown, 93.4.



o Bronze guard -- 1. South Hagerstown, 85.8. 2. Arundel, 79.4. 3. Clarke County, 79.3.

o Gold guard -- 1. Southwestern, 89.7. 2. Big Spring, 86.2. 3. Severna Park, 85.7. 4. Boonsboro, 81.9. 5. Hedgesville, 77.8. 6. Smithsburg, 77.5. 7. Hancock, 76.1.

o White guard -- 1. Musselman, 87.8. 2. Greencastle-Antrim, 85.6. 3. Arundel, 84.4. 4. Waynesboro. 83.5. 5. Urbana, 82.0. 6. Linganore, 79.4.

o Exhibition -- North Hagerstown, 95.1.

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