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County marching bands take tournament in stride

November 13, 2011|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY — For local high school marching bands, the fall season is about building school spirit during home football games and parade appearances. In addition, regional competitions give them the opportunity to compete with other bands of their size, always honing their field shows based on feedback from judges to improve scores and ranking.

Five Washington County bands — Boonsboro, Hancock Middle/Senior, North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown and Williamsport — competed this year in Tournament of Bands (TOB), Chapter V.

That means traveling most fall weekends to competitions in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The season concluded with TOB’s Atlantic Coast Championships for the bands that earned a spot.

The championships were held Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 in Hershey, Pa.

The bands compete with bands of similar sizes and are divided into four groups. Group 1 is for smaller bands (based on the number of members in the band and auxiliary, also know as color guard), while Group 4 is made up of the biggest bands.

Bands are judged in five categories — auxiliary, drum major, music, percussion and visual. Scores are out of a total of 100, with the music score accounting for 60 percent of the total score.

Individual band highlights:

Boonsboro High School Warrior Band, Micah Socks, band director (Group 4)

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  • Field show theme: “Joy”
  • Drum major: Kacey Clark; band captain, Allison Atkins
  • ACC score and ranking: 86.0, 12th of 14
  • Season highlights: “A great show at Atlantic Coast Championships and drum major Kacey Clark winning best drum major for the second year in a row. Kacey also won the TOB scholarship.”
  • Director’s emailed comments: “It was a great season! The student leaders, band members, staff and parents work extremely hard to ensure the highest level of performance. This band strives to be the best by continuing to look for new ways to develop and grow. We look forward to next year.”

Hancock Middle-Senior High School Panther Band, James Hunt, band director (Group 1A; this is only the second year TOB has offered the “A” option, which is for novice class and is also chosen by bands with fewer financial resources)

  • Field show theme: “IN-CAP-TV-T” (featuring music from the video game “Halo”)
  • Senior drum major: Jenna Helmstetter
  • ACC score and rank: Hancock’s band was not able to compete at ACCs any longer because of its classification and chose not to compete at the other championship event for “A” groups
  • Highest score this season: 74.9 at South Hagerstown High School competition, Oct. 8
  • Director’s emailed comments: “Thanks to the dedicated parents of the Hancock Band Boosters for making our season possible.”

North Hagerstown High School Hub Band, Jessica Manor, band director (Group 2)

  • Field show theme: “First Flight!”
  • Drum major: Timothy Hogbin
  • ACC score and rank: 86.4, 19 of 28
  • Season highlights: The Hub band consistently performed very well throughout the season. The band received first place at the South Hagerstown High School Competition and the Arundel High School Competition. The band also received best auxiliary, best music, best visual and people’s choice throughout the season.
  • Director’s emailed comments: “The band has performed very well this season. The students have worked hard all season and have truly created an excellent show. I am very proud of the ensemble and look forward to next year!”

South Hagerstown High School Rebel Band, Scott Benford, band director (Group 4)

  • Field show theme: “Totem”
  • Drum majors: Richard Mounts and Stephanie Swope
  • ACC score and rank: 86.15, 11th of 14
  • Season highlights: Finishing second at chapter championships at Liberty High School on Oct. 22. Because of the draw, it was the first band to go on at ACCs and the director was very pleased by how well the group did. Another highlight was the drum majors finishing second at ACCs.
  • Director’s emailed comments: “I think, this being my first year here, the kids performed exceptionally well. There’s always a transition time of me getting to know them and them getting to know me. The hard work and determination of the kids and hard work of our staff came together to make it a very successful season my first year at South. In my eight years in the county, this group has probably shown the most improvement of any group I’ve been a part of. I’m very proud of them.”

Williamsport High School Blue Band, Robert Stike, band director (Group 4)

  • Field show theme: “Jekyll and Hyde” from the Broadway musical
  • Senior drum major: Samantha Metz; junior band captain, Caroline Strite
  • ACC score and rank: 82.85, 14 of 14
  • Season highlights: Hosting its first home competition
  • Director’s emailed comments: “This year, the band performed the best show in recent memory and has taken the next step forward in building the program. The show was not only designed well, but it was executed exceptionally. The students grew as a team and came together through some difficulties, and we continue to look forward.”


The Clear Spring High School Blazer Band, under the leadership of Joel Guyton, and the Smithsburg High School Leopard Band, directed by Gary Rupert, perform their field shows for home football games and march in parades, but do not compete.

Clear Spring’s field show theme this season was “Rewinding the ’70s” led by Drum Major Jared Mummert and Assistant Drum Major Hannah Stine.

Smithsburg’s field show was based on the animated movie “The Incredibles,” and was under the student direction of Senior Drum Major Casey Burk and Junior Drum Major Heather DeLauter.
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