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And on a happier note ...

The Freedom-Wharton war doesn't extend to band.

By AMBER MOBLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published August 31, 2007


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NEW TAMPA

There's feudin' a-brewin' along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

The only two public high schools in New Tampa proper, less than 5 miles apart, face off in football tonight.

But while the players rush, run and rumble for bragging rights, the schools' marching band directors plan an olive branch: a musical collaboration on the 1960s Billboard Hot 100 hit Hey! Baby.

Fraternity brothers and friends Michael Barrineau and Jason Allgair - band directors at Freedom and Wharton, respectively - want their students to be in harmony in every sense of the word.

"We want the kids to get together, talk, hang out, get to know each other a little," Barrineau said.

Barrineau, in his second full year as Freedom's band director, attended the University of Tampa.

At Wharton, Allgair, a University of South Florida graduate, is in his first year of teaching.

Both men play the saxophone and belong to Phi Mu Alpha men's music fraternity.

When Barrineau approached Allgair with the collaboration idea, the Wharton band director was all for it.

"We're all working toward one goal," said Allgair. "We're all here to make music."

Their bands will play together, 168-members strong, at the start of the fourth quarter.

A common collegiate marching band favorite, Hey! Baby is usually a kind of battle song, said Laine Hamilton, a 17-year-old Freedom senior who conducts and plays French horn.

"Bands usually have Hey! Baby-offs," she said with a chuckle. "This will definitely be different."

Two rival schools breaking musical bread to the beat of a song best known as a conflict composition: the irony is earth-shattering, right?

Eh, who knows, said Wharton senior trumpet player Jimmy Kaczmarek.

"I don't know if that's supposed to have any 'deep symbolic meaning,' " he said, making air quotation marks, "or if it just so happens to be the only song we both happen to know."

But what's sure is that both directors hope the pairing doesn't stop with the music.

Emilee Bannister, a sophomore flutist at Wharton, expects nothing less.

"Even when it's school versus school, when it comes to the bands, we're all one band," she said.

"When you get everybody together, it'll be like instant family."

Amber Mobley can be reached at amobley@sptimes.com or 813 269-5311.

[Last modified August 30, 2007, 08:32:51]


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