Band preparing for music festival

January 16, 2003

Matt Sauers looks forward to the RHHStival at River Hill High with eager anticipation. His band, Finitimini, has not been included yet - selections will be made tomorrow - but members have submitted their compact disc to the music selection committee and they are waiting to hear.

"I've been going to the RHHStival for a couple of years, and it's kind of been something that I've always wanted to participate in, so it kind of means a lot to me, I guess," said Matt, 17, who plays bass guitar.

The fifth RHHStival will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 24 at River Hill High School. The event offers a venue "for kids who are rehearsing in their basements and garages," said River Hill band director Steve Wampler. Each year, the RHHStival draws a larger audience.

"Last year, the auditorium was nearly full. We probably had 500 to 550 kids show up last year," said Matt's mother, Kay Sauers, who chairs the school's Music Boosters and is coordinating this year's festival.

"It's hard to take a count because they're not in the seats that much," Wampler said. "It's a loud night. And it's good music. We have kids that are coming back for the second, third time. [Some] were inspired to put together their own bands."

Matt organized Finitimini a few months ago, when he and drummer Andy Suther of Highland began playing together. Along the way, they were joined by Mark Elliott, who plays keyboards, and Charley Smith, who plays guitar and sings.

"To finally get a band together that I feel comfortable playing with, and know that everyone there is just as motivated as I am, it's pretty cool," Matt said. "And this one is basically my best friends anyway."

The name Finitimini came from Andy and Mark, who are in a Latin class together. "That's a Latin word, and I think it means `neighbor,' " Matt said. "It didn't necessarily sound like a high school band name, like the Drowning Monkeys or something like that."

Each group will be given 24 1/2 minutes to play, Kay Sauers said. "We have three hours to get six bands in there. At 25 minutes, [Mr. Wampler] is going to walk out there and flip the switch." Student volunteers will act as roadies, who move the cables and make sure everything is set up.

Finitimini plays "heavy rock or metal, however you'd like to define that," Matt said. Influences include Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Trust Company and System of a Down, he said. "For me that's personally where I get a lot of my motivation and inspiration."

Finitimini hopes to debut a new song at the RHHStival.

"It's basically a song that our drummer Andy came up with the original concept - it's called `Embolism,'" Matt said. "He started thinking of a beat and a rhythm and some notes and said, `Hey, that would be cool, I'll call Matt.'"

"We think it's our best song, and we're really proud of it and we look forward to debuting that song at the festival. Our first single, we hope," Matt said.

Admission to the RHHStival is $5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. No one will be admitted after 8 p.m. Proceeds will help maintain the school's musical instruments and pay for new uniforms, sheet music and trips to music competitions, Kay Sauers said.

SAT prep courses to begin next month

The PTSA of River Hill High School will sponsor SAT preparation courses, beginning next month and in March.

Classes, which will be taught by River Hill faculty members, will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The cost is $250 for math and verbal courses; $150 for one. Classes will be limited to 15 students. Registration is due by Jan. 24.

Registration forms are available at or in the school's guidance office. Information: 443-535-9878 or

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