Key senior bonds with band mates on tour in Europe


SHE SAW CASTLES ON the Rhine and the top of the Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland.

But the memories that will embed themselves permanently in the mind of Joyce Watkins are of the friendships she made when she toured Europe with 150 other teen-agers in the Spirit of America Honor Band during the summer.

"It was an awesome trip," said Watkins, 17, a senior at Francis Scott Key High School, where she is drum major in the marching band. "Every day was packed with sightseeing and performances. And the director was fantastic. He knew how to get people to work with other people. It was so great.

"I made so many friends on this trip. Kids came from all over the country -- even Alaska. And making friends was the best part. It would have been a great trip even without the sightseeing -- if we had just stayed on the bus all the time and talked to each other," she said.

Members of the band stay in touch, especially through e-mail. Watkins says the e-mail list is so long that all the addressees can't be reached in a single message.

Watkins was invited to join the group next summer for another European tour, but she'll pass on that and join the band's world tour in 2001.

As drum major this year, Watkins claims her greatest reward is helping freshmen learn to march and play an instrument at the same time -- skills she taught them in band camp.

In Key's first competition this fall, held at Middletown High School, the band received honors for best marching, best music and best overall performance.

"All the members had a smile on their face when they came off the field. They put on the show they wanted to do," she said.

Watkins has her eye on a college degree in music education, and teaches music to children at her parish, St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Taneytown. She will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday when the Key High School band is host of the Showcase of Bands.

Information: 410-751-3320.

World Communion Sunday

On Sunday, Messiah United Methodist Church in Taneytown celebrates World Communion Sunday with a worship service at 10: 15 a.m.

The theme for this year's service, "Unity in Christ," will be enhanced with children and adults wearing costumes representing countries from around the world. An international buffet follows the service.

Information: 410-840-2086 or 410-751-6897.

Fire prevention queen

Becky Arnold was chosen Miss New Windsor Fire Prevention Queen in a competition last weekend at New Windsor Fire Hall.

The junior queen is Brittany Brown.

Little League meets

As someone who has watched more than her share of Little League baseball games, I've come to appreciate the tremendous effort it takes to pull off a league of any size in any community.

But watching a kid slide into home plate or hit the ball over the fence is worth every hot dog sold, every field mowed and raked, and every umpire hired.

Join the effort when Taneytown Lions Little League meets at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Roberts Mill Park behind Food Lion. Anyone who wishes to coach or manage a team next season is encouraged to attend.

Information: Wanda Melvin, 410-756-1223 or 410-876-9957.

New 'Neighbors' columnist

This column has been a joy for me to write for the past seven years. Thanks to all who have graciously talked to me about activities, shared experiences, alerted me to events, accomplishments, and hobbies, and let me write about them in this space.

It's time to pass the torch to neighbor and friend Jean Marie Beall while I'm off to Baltimore each day pursuing a teaching career.

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