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Cimino: Westminster High music programs are local treasures

I've been thinking about ... local treasures.

About a year and a half ago, we opened a fund here at the Community Foundation of Carroll County for the Westminster High School Instrumental Music Boosters. The purpose of the fund is to support the program's efforts to bring in professional clinicians, provide lessons, music, copyrights, travel and other costs associated with all aspects of the instrumental music program at the school.

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The boosters, comprised of teachers, students, parents and community supporters, want to assist students and the music department in their effort to produce the highest-quality musicians and programs in the county. They do this by cooperating with those in charge of the instrumental music program and also its administrative officials. Another goal of the program is to be actively engaged with the greater Westminster community in events and activities. The Boosters think that this community engagement will promote interest, enthusiasm and financial support for all the music programs.

I've been thinking about ... changes.

I'm here to tell you that both the boosters and the bands are doing the job. Since the year 2000, the concert bands and orchestras have consistently received superior ratings at district band and orchestra festivals. The marching band has participated in a gubernatorial inauguration parade, performed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, performed in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington, D.C., were named regional champions in the Bands of America Competition, and in 2015 and 2016, Westminster High School hosted the only school Jazz Festival in Carroll County and that's the short list.

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On behalf of the Westminster High School Instrumental Music Boosters I would like to reach out to the community and especially those of you that may have been a teacher or member of the WHS marching band, orchestra, jazz ensemble or one of the chamber music groups. The program will be buying new uniforms this year for the marching band and are in serious need of new music room lockers. Funds have been raised for the uniforms but ever decreasing budgets leave the job of paying for the new lockers squarely on the shoulders of the boosters.

We know that many of the music program alumni are still here in Carroll County and I would like to apply "Audrey's Rule of Should" to this situation. The rule asks, who "should" be interested in helping you do something. In this case, that would be anyone who taught or played in marching band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, color guard, wind or percussion ensemble or symphony.

Last year for the Miracle on Main Street Parade here in Westminster, I was sitting on the porch of my friend's house as the Westminster High School Marching Band went by. They were like an invading army. They were sharp, they were playing beautifully, there were a lot of them and they made my heart start pounding with pride because that band belongs to us, the community. We can be proud of them because they have earned it and deserve it.

I think it is our turn to help. If anyone is interested in helping the Westminster High School Instrumental Music Boosters with the purchase of new music lockers, you can make a gift online or send a check for that purpose to CFCC WHS Music Boosters, 255 Clifton Blvd., Suite 313, Westminster, MD 21157.

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I have another small philosophy: If everyone does a little bit, no one has to do it all.

Audrey Cimino is executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. She writes from Westminster.



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