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'Best kids in the county' play during All-County band performance

February 02, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Students play in the All-County Middle School Concert Band under the direction of guest conductor Dr. David Zerull Saturday at North Hagerstown High School.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

More than 200 Washington County middle- and high-school students came together Saturday night for the All-County band performances before a large crowd at North Hagerstown High School.

Rob Hovermale, supervisor of visual and performing arts for Washington County Public Schools, said about 130 middle-schoolers made it onto this year’s all-county concert band, while about 90 high-school students were selected to perform on the all-county concert band, with several also joining the 19-piece high school jazz ensemble.

“It’s great,” he said. “I’m very, very pleased, especially since we lost two hours on Friday because of the two-hour delay.”

To make the bands, high-school students auditioned the first Saturday in January with their own prepared music, Hovermale said, adding that middle-school students were picked by their respective directors.

“These are the best kids in the county,” he said. “And some of these kids actually have made all-state band. That will be later in February down in Baltimore.”

North Hagerstown High School senior tuba player Andrew Doub is one who will be going on to play with the all-state concert band Feb. 22 to 24 at Morgan State University.

Doub said he started playing tuba in eighth grade after his middle-school teacher got him to switch from the trombone.

“I was not a good trombone player in middle school,” he said, laughing.

Tuba is more his style because it’s very versatile in performance, he said.

“You get to do just about everything,” said Doub, who also played bass trombone for the all-county jazz ensemble. “And you’re the only tuba player in an orchestra.”

Fellow all-county concert bandmate Hansu Sung, a senior alto saxophonist at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, will get to play with the all-state concert band as well as the all-state jazz ensemble.

“It’s kind of overwhelming. Honestly, I had no idea I was going to make it,” Sung said. “I was shocked, to be honest.”

In addition to the performance at Morgan State, the all-state jazz ensemble performances will be at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County from Feb. 28 to March 2.

Coming from a smaller group of students at Barbara Ingram, Sung, who’s made all-county band all four years in high school, said he’s always excited to play with a larger group of students.

“Coming up here with a whole bunch of people and most of them you don’t know ... it really feels different,” he said. “I think it’s fun.”

Three guest conductors took the reins to lead the talented young performers, including Scott Hippensteel of Shepherd University, David Zerull of Shenandoah Conservatory and Graham Breedlove, a renowned jazz trumpeter.

It was the first time Hippensteel served as a conductor for the performance of the all-county high-school concert band, but was quite impressed with the talent among his young musicians, despite a shortened amount of practice time.

“They really worked hard and made it happen,” he said. “They looked a little like deer in the headlights about the last half-hour yesterday ... but they came back this morning. We had another two-hour rehearsal and they really worked hard for me. We made a big stride just this morning.”

The musical card featured five songs each, in order of performance, from the high school jazz ensemble and the middle-school concert band, with the high-school concert band wrapping up the evening.

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