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Washington County Alumni Band marching toward next year's performance

January 09, 2012|By MEGAN MOWEN | megan.mowen@herald-mail.com

Washington County Alumni Band members have pushed past the disappointment of the cancellation of this year’s Alsatia Mummers Parade due to an early snowfall, and are marching toward their goals for next year’s performance.

Alumni band committee member Dawn Raynor, of Hagerstown, sent out an email after the parade’s cancellation, notifying band members that plans were already in the works for next year’s march.

Raynor plays the trumpet in the alumni band, but she played the clarinet in high school.

“I received a significant response from members who were relieved to hear that we were marching next year,” she said.

The alumni band was going to be 125 members strong for the 2011 Mummers Parade, which would have been its first public performance. Ten more members have joined since then, said committee member Joel Rice, of Hagerstown, who plays the trombone in the band.

With most of the details established for this year’s performance, organizers want to focus on recruiting more members, Raynor said.

“For the 2012 Mummers Parade, we want to have 250 pieces in the band,” said committee member and trumpet player Jeff Mussolino of Hagerstown.

Committee members plan to place sign-up sheets in Washington County schools. There is no age limit or qualifications to join.

“Any player of any music level can play in the band,” Mussolino said.  

Ages of the participants range from recent graduates to older musicians. Participation is not limited to county high school graduates if others want to join, organizers have said.

“The area’s high school seniors this year did not get to march in the parade,” Rice said. “We want to invite them especially to join the alumni band so they can have their ‘senior march.’”

Another goal is to add to the band’s committee for a complete representation of all Washington County schools, said committee member Chris Stockslager, a Hagerstown tuba player.

Committee members include Keith Crumlich, Boonsboro, percussion; Mark Lochbaum, North High, trombone; Mussolino, North High, trumpet; Raynor, North High, clarinet; Rice, North High, trombone; Brian Rizer, Williamsport, percussion; Dana Schoppert, South Hagerstown High, baritone; Lindsay Stine, Clear Spring, trumpet; Stockslager, North High, tuba; Keith Detrow, North High, percussion; and Mendy Detrow, Smithburg, flute.

Clear Spring High School Band Director Joel Guyton directs the alumni band’s rehearsals.

Since the band’s first rehearsal in May 2011, committee members were kept busy preparing for what they expected to be their Mummers Parade debut. They handled such tasks as chosing music, arranging rehearsal times and locations, preparing uniforms and recruiting.

“After all our work, we definitely wanted to march, and the parade’s cancellation was a big disappointment,” Raynor said.

“We want to make a statement in the parade ... And we will be able to do this next year with more practice and better weather,” she said.

“I want the people sitting on the sidewalks to hear and see what a 250-piece band sounds and looks like,” Mussolino said. “It’s hard to explain. It’s just something you have to hear.”

More information may be obtained by sending an email to Raynor at draynor@wpssolutions.com; by calling Rice at 301-582-2417; or by going to www.facebook.com and searching for the group at Washington County, Md. Alumni Band.

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Editor's note: This story was edited Monday, Jan. 9, to correct Rice's phone number in the final paragraph.

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