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County may make musical history
Stafford County's four high school bands have a chance to earn a special distinction on Friday night.

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LEE WOOLF
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Date published: 3/10/2004

By LEE WOOLF

THE LAST THING I want to do is jinx a musical milestone for the Stafford County public schools this week by predicting it will happen.

But even Doug Armstrong, the band director at Brooke Point High School, said there is a "good possibility" that on Friday all four Stafford high schools could earn the distinction of having Virginia Honor Bands.

This would be not only a first for Stafford County, but a rarity on the state scene, as well.

"Oh, it just doesn't happen," said Janet Payne, the fine-arts coordinator for Stafford County schools. "I don't know that it's ever happened in Virginia."

Said Armstrong: "I don't know that they keep records on such things. It might have been done in a county with only a couple of high schools. But in a county with four high schoolswell, that makes it a lot tougher."

To be recognized as a Virginia Honor Band by the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association, a high school must achieve a superior rating at the state marching-band festival in the fall and a superior rating with its highest-level group at the district band festival in March.

The marching bands from all four Stafford County high schools already have earned superior ratings. And on Friday, the wind ensembles from the four schools will try to close the deal with superior performances at the District 15 Band Festival at Stafford High School.

To give the accomplishment some perspective, check out these numbers. From more than 300 high schools in the state, only 42 earned the distinction of having Virginia Honor Bands last year.

So, for one county to boast of four honor bandswell, that would make everyone connected with music in the county schools feel as if Stafford had just swept the Academy Awards.

All four county high schools have earned the honor-band distinction in previous years--North Stafford 13 times, Brooke Point four times and both Colonial Forge and Stafford two times. But never have all four schools achieved that goal in the same year.


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