One of the great things about being a band director is things are always changing, according to Bob McNutt.

One of the great things about being a band director is things are always changing, according to Bob McNutt.

McNutt, who's been a music teacher for 33 years, said being director of the Central Crossing High School Band "is not a job, it's a passion."

Central Crossing's marching band has been around since 2002, which makes it the newest of the other three high school marching bands in the South-Western City School district. In the beginning, the band had 70 members and no seniors, McNutt said.

Today it has about 150 members and last year attained the rank of regional champion at the Bands of America Regional Championship at Youngstown State University.

"I use the team approach," McNutt said. "The whole concept is that unity of team and I think that attributed positively. We're all here for the same reason."

And as far as change, "the philosophy is to be better than yesterday," he added.

Some senior band members also praised the development of the band in the past four years.

"It's grown a lot," said Stevon Duey, a senior field commander. "It's so much more evolved."

Senior trumpet player Adam Downing said he is proud to be the fourth Ohio band ever to win the regional championship.

"It's amazing to see how much the program's grown," Downing added.

McNutt said he knows not all his students will become professional musicians, but that's not what he teaches. He said the skills his students learn in band will help them in life.

The ability to analyze oneself and give self-criticism is a skill that McNutt said he tries to teach to his students.

"That's a gift," he said. "That's an art."

Originally from Pittsburgh, McNutt said he first learned to play the guitar at age 8. He said he earned a bachelor degree in music education from Otterbein College.

Later, he earned a master's degree in education from the University of South Florida. He began teaching music with SWCS in 1999 at Westland High School. In 2002, he moved to CCHS.

McNutt said teaching is rewarding in many ways.

"It's just a joy," he said. "It's an honor."

But the biggest reward is the passion of the students, McNutt added.

"It keeps you young," he said. "It keeps you going."

Some of his students said McNutt is a great teacher. He's relaxed, funny and he's got a different style than other band teachers the students said they liked.

Duey said a student can talk to McNutt outside of class about things other than band.

"He's more than a teacher," said Charlie Cash, another senior field commander. "He's a half-friend."