Hernando County's middle and high school band programs are planning to showcase some of their finest talent on Jan 28.
The middle school and high school all-county bands will perform at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively, at the Hernando High School Performing Arts Center in Brooksville. The concerts are free.
This is the second year the high school band directors have pulled together an all-county band, but the first time for an all-county middle school band. Each school nominates its top players, who then audition for seating positions.
The bands will meet and learn new music for three sessions before the concerts. The high school band will be conducted by Alex Kaminsky, the band director at Buchholz High School in Gainesville.
"He's one of the top high school band directors in the state," said Hernando High band director Joe Harrin. "Upper-level band directors get invited to participate in the all-county bands across the state."
The all-county bands are an effort by the directors to provide more opportunities for students to perform with other students and, for most, in another venue. The spots for all-state bands are limited, and most students do not get to participate.
The students also learn more challenging literature, Harrin said.
There will be about 65 members in the high school band and about 55 in the middle school band.
The participating high schools and their directors include: Hernando, Harrin; Springstead, Rick Dasher; Weeki Wachee, Mike Miller; Nature Coast Technical, Denise Virgadamo, and Central, Stephen Stirks.
The middle schools include: Parrott, Bruce Brazinski; Powell, Ross McCarthy; Challenger, Kathy Thompson; Fox Chapel, Ashley Pritz; West Hernando, Cristina Ledford, and J.D. Floyd, which currently has a temporary director.
The all-county bands provide opportunities for both the students and the directors.
"The students benefit," said Miller, of Weeki Wachee High, "because they get to collaborate with students from across the county." Also, students from small bands get to play in big ones.
The work among the directors, Miller said, "fosters collegiality."