Gahanna Lincoln High School junior Konner Barr hopes to catch the attention of Ohio State University's marching band as he dazzles All-Ohio State Fair Band audiences with his baton-twirling ability.
Konner is one of two drum majors performing with the All-Ohio State Fair Band at the Ohio State Fair, which runs through Aug. 4.
"He's in line to lead OSU," said Greg Eyer, drum major coordinator at the fair. "He's being groomed. All this work leads to 'The Best Damn Band in the Land.' This is the stepping stone to OSU."
Eyer said he has coached a lot of OSU drum majors, and the past three were part of the fair band.
He said Barr, 16, is a hard worker, sets goals and competes in the state and nationally.
Barr said he first became interesting in being a drum major when he saw his cousin practicing for Gahanna Lincoln.
"I thought it was cool," he said. "I started going to competitions when I was about 7 years old."
In April 2012 he was part of Team USA in Switzerland at the World Championships for baton twirling. He's also a five-time national men's baton champion.
Barr has been attending summer clinics at OSU for drum majors since he was a boy.
"I've always dreamed of being an OSU drum major," he said.
The son of Ken and Sue Barr also plans to study physical therapy while attending OSU.
He said he became involved with the fair band through Eyer.
"I expressed interest though him and came with here last Saturday (July 20)," he said. "It has been a lot of twirling. It has been fun to see people's expressions when the band comes out. It has been great fun."
Eyer said the fair band is a good experience to test students in various elements, from grass to sawdust and concrete.
"They have to adjust their skills," he said.
The fair band resides in the Rhodes Center throughout the fair. Members were scheduled to perform 95 concerts throughout the 12-day run. They march in the daily parade through the fairgrounds beginning at 4 p.m. On Aug. 1, the band will perform in the Coliseum for The Governor's Cup at 5:30 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 2, it will perform at 6:30 p.m. on the Rhodes Lawn and at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, in Central Park.
The fair band was founded in 1925 and originally was known as the All-Ohio Boys' State Fair Band. It now comprises superior musicians and performers from throughout Ohio.
After Barr concludes his schedule with the fair band, he will begin leadership camp with the Gahanna Lincoln marching band.
"Since I'll be a junior, there will be more leadership," he said. "The show will be fun."
Gahanna band director Rob Cebriak said Barr is outstanding.
"I'm sure Ohio State will want to see him in a few years," he said. "He's also a trumpet player in concert season."
Cebriak said it has been a long time since Gahanna has had a student in the fair band.
"Most of the time, our kids can't go because it runs into our band camp," he said. "This is Konner's second year in marching band since we don't march ninth-graders."
Cebriak said Barr has dedicated himself to twirling, and it shows.
"He really lights up the crowd," he said. "He's something special. The student section goes berserk for him."
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