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Next generation of blues fans tune up

May 31, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

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HAGERSTOWN -- While artists in the Western Maryland Blues Fest were playing in City Park on Sunday, the next generation of musicians was strutting its stuff at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

The performance came courtesy of the Williamsport High School Jazz Commanders, some of whom have been dabbling in music since they were toddlers.

A total of about 150 people turned out to see noon and 2 p.m. performances by the band, and the students were excited about their exposure in the music-filled environment.

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"It was pretty fun playing in front of a lot of people. It was pretty exciting, actually," said band member C.J. Ezidinma.

The 15-year-old has been playing jazz guitar in the band for about a year and said he would like to study music at the college level, and play professionally.

Ezidinma said he started playing drums when he was 2 years old, adding that his family members' involvement in music helped spark his interest in it.

Baritone saxophone player Josh Gagnon, 17, said he would enjoy playing music as a hobby and tenor saxophone player Brandon Kinzer said he likes the challenge that jazz music presents.

"It's just fun to play and energetic," Kinzer said of the band, whose roots span back decades when Harry Kight led Williamsport High School's band program.

The group played on the final day of the Western Maryland Blues Fest. Local police said the weekend crowd for the annual event was probably the biggest ever.

People poured into City Park to hear the Rhythm Kings, Jumptown, Ruby Hayes Band and the Campbell Brothers perform in the band shell.

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