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Hernando All County Band is the ultimate supergroup

BROOKSVILLE — The directors of the four high school bands in Hernando County had an inspiration: If each of their bands is good, imagine how terrific an all-county band could be?

During a planning session in August, the directors — Mike Miller of Weeki Wachee, Rick Dasher of Springstead, Josh Autrey of Hernando High and Denise Virgadamo of Nature Coast Technical — kicked the idea around.

Then the school year began and the directors each got busy with teaching and events and the idea slipped to the back burner.

In January, Miller and Dasher met again, this time at the Florida Music Educators Association January conference and reignited the idea.

The teachers handpicked students and sent them to Weeki Wachee High School on Jan. 29 for clinics and rehearsals, starting with a 31/2 hour rehearsal.

The clinics were run by three local music teachers — Powell Middle School's David Pletinceks and Amanda Mole and West Hernando Middle School's Cristina Ledford — and six University of Florida music graduate students — Rickie Santiago, Valery Neiberger, Margaret Dixon, Anna Paulsma, Stephen Salsem and Matthew Boeggeman.

These nine volunteers each led three-hour sessions on individual instruments.

After a lunch break of pizza supplied by band parents, there was another rehearsal, this one for 21/2 hours. The result was a concert in the Weeki Wachee auditeria for parents, teachers and Hernando superintendent of schools Bryan Blavatt.

The All County Band, made up of 80 students from four high schools, played four songs, Fanfare Prelude on Ode to Joy, Air for Band, Gettysburg the Third Day, and Our Director. Each of the band directors stepped up to conduct one selection.

Miller hopes to continue this newly revived band activity. He said he would like to make it bigger and better and include middle school students. He also hopes a collegiate musician, perhaps a university director of bands, could be enticed to participate.

Hernando All County Band is the ultimate supergroup 02/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2:56pm]

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