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ACPS Holds All-County Middle/High Band Festival

Allegany County Public Schools recently relaunched the Middle and High School All-County Honor Band Festival at Fort Hill High School, making it the first countywide band festival since 2020.  

The Middle School Honor Band was conducted by John Boyd, a visiting high school band director from Virginia Beach. Wind and percussion students from Braddock, Mount Savage, Washington, and Westmar Middle Schools auditioned for All-County Band and rehearsed under Boyd’s direction for two days before performing in the concert. Westmar percussionist, Destiny Studli commented, “I was able to get better on my percussion part when Mr. Boyd came back to our section and gave me tips and demonstrated how to play my part.” 

Boyd spoke highly of the teachers and students who worked to prepare for the festival. “These young people are a credit to this community.  Their hard work, enthusiasm, and collaboration shine a light on the incredible potential in leadership, performance, and service in the years to come.” He continued “It is very exciting to be able to witness and be a small part in their development.”

This was also the first All-County Band Festival for Washington Middle School band director Michael Lee. "The All-County Band program is an excellent opportunity for students to collaborate with their peers from across the county.  Their dedication to the fine arts leads to teamwork, leadership, and other life skills that will help them to become successful young adults."

The Senior High All-County Band consisted of wind and percussion students from Allegany, Fort Hill and Mountain Ridge High Schools.  The High School Honor band was conducted by Dr. Mark Lortz, from Stevenson University, a nationally recognized composer and arranger of symphonic band and orchestra music. “I enjoyed having Mark Lortz as my conductor,” said Fort Hill student, Hailey Beining.

Lortz has previously conducted, adjudicated, and presented professional development in Allegany County. “The students were incredibly well prepared, and respectful, which is a direct correlation to parental support and their band director’s preparation.” 

The senior band was given the opportunity to perform a world premiere of Lortz’s symphonic band arrangement of “Can Can” by Jacques Offenback.

The Festival was well attended by ACPS staff, as well as members of the community. Frostburg State University Music Intern, Brice Simpson summed up the evening, "The work-ethic displayed by the Allegany County students was second to none, and their efforts culminated in a vibrant performance. Their proud faces after the concert said a million words."

Questions about the Visual and Performing Arts programs in Allegany County can be directed to Jeff Avey, Assistant Supervisor of Fine Arts.