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Hey, let's strike up a band!
H.H. Poole Middle School's music department organizes parent-faculty band for holiday performance

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Date published: 12/10/2003


REMEMBER THOSE old movies with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland where the neighborhood teenagers get together and put on a show in someone's garage?

Despite the makeshift setting, Rooney brings the audience to its feet with his singing and dancing, and Garland adds her gifted voice to the grand finale.

I was reminded of those entertaining old flicks last week during a conversation with Veronica Sutherland, the band and music director at the county's H.H. Poole Middle School.

For the seventh year, Sutherland is recruiting parents and faculty members for a performance next Tuesday during the school's sixth-grade band concert in the North Stafford High School auditorium.

Most of the adult volunteers have borrowed instruments or dug out their own from dusty closets. Granted, they won't make musical history. But the band members' willingness to try and the group's collective enthusiasm is enough to make Rooney shout: "Let's put on a show!"

One of the newcomers this year is Assistant Principal Robert Bingham, who will be playing a trombone from his own middle-school days as part of the band.

"I've heard that people really enjoy taking part in this, and that it's a lot of fun," said Bingham, who is in his first year at H.H. Poole. "I haven't practiced much, but I'm looking forward to it."

Sutherland said her main motivation for the project is to demonstrate to her students that music can offer lifelong enjoyment.

"I think it's important for them to see that even if you never play professionally, music can always be a part of your life," she said.

"And this also can be an opportunity for students to help their parents learn about playing again. A lot of times, students play the same instrument as their parents. So, this project can put students in a teaching role, which is good for them, too."

Sutherland said the turnout during previous years has ranged between 20 and 70 band members, including some of her former students now in high school or college. Our conversation last week was before her first rehearsal, so she wasn't sure how many volunteers would participate next week.

"Some of the parents are a little rusty," she admitted. "But they get comfortable pretty quickly--especially when it's a smaller group."

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