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Teens still marching to Beatles
Are today's high school musicians affected by the passing of George Harrison?

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Date published: 12/12/2001

JOHN WAS THE political one. Paul was the cute one. Ringo was the goofy one. And George was the quiet one.

Together, of course, they were the Beatles, the most famous rock 'n' roll band of all time.

I know that.

You know that.

And many adults around the world were saddened by the recent death of George Harrison at age 58 after his long fight against cancer.

With Harrison's passing, only two Beatles survive: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot to death by a crazed fan in December, 1980.

As I listened to
a Beatles' tune on the radio last week, I wondered if many young people in Stafford County were affected by Harrison's death.

Did the passing of a Beatle mean anything special to the current group of music-minded teen-agers who play instruments at the county's high schools?

The answer, it seems, is yes and no.

At North Stafford High, everyone is marching to the tune of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," because that is part of the school's show performance for this fall.

Band director Lori Hambrick selected "The Music of the Beatles" as the theme for North Stafford's program, and the show includes such tunes as "Eleanor Rigby," "With a Little Help From My Friends," "When I'm Sixty-Four," and "Yesterday."

But even though the Marching Wolverines have been tapping their toes to Beatles' music, Hambrick says that most of the band members don't know a great deal about Harrison.

"His death was more of an 'oh, by the way' kind of thing," she said. "Their parents understand. But the students are just too young."

Chuck Hite, the band director at Stafford, said some of his students were saddened by Harrison's death and knew that he was a member of the Beatles, "but they really didn't know much about him as a musician or a guitarist."

"Among the Beatles, these kids probably know Paul McCartney the best," he said. "He has been in the news the most in recent years. And he has a connection
to Michael Jackson."

Hite said his students were not as affected by Harrison's loss as the recent death of Aaliyah, a contemporary singer who was killed in plane crash.

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