Less than a year after the passage of the South-Western City Schools operating levy the Grove City High School marching band has bounced back.

Less than a year after the passage of the South-Western City Schools operating levy the Grove City High School marching band has bounced back.

The band had been cut from the high school curriculum last year and was returned when the levy passed.

And now the band has been grand champion of each competition it's participated in this fall, director George Edge said.

"We've had a fantastic season and the students have worked extremely hard because we really have two freshman classes this year," Edge said.

Band president John Banghoff, who has been playing trumpet since the sixth grade, said he was disappointed in the situation last fall, especially after 2008-2009, when the band was named grand champion of the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix and champion runner-up in the National Field Show Competition.

"It was tough coming in after the year before, with everything being perfected, every line being straight," Banghoff said. "To not have a band last year, to be only able to play one song. That was very tough and it made me really thankful to be in such a great band program with such a great history. It taught us that we had taken it for granted, and we shouldn't do that."

The band qualified for the Ohio Music Education Association state finals during its first contest of the year Sept. 23, and continued its streak of superior ratings when it was named grand champion at the Mid Ohio Classic Band competition Oct. 2 at Watkins Memorial High School.

The band also was named grand champion of the Buckeye Invitational competition, held Oct. 16 in the Ohio State University stadium.

"There were 32 bands at the Buckeye Invitational and we performed in Ohio Stadium at 6:15 p.m., right before the Ohio State University marching band played," Edge said.

This year's show is called "Man's Hopes, Aspirations and Dreams" and features excerpts of "I Dreamed a Dream," from Les Miserables, "Harrison's Dream," "The Echo Never Fades,"and the Olympic theme. The show incorporates quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and includes a skit about children's dreams.

"We have a couple of students that play like they're a doctor, a nurse and they act on the field," Edge said.

The 227-member band will perform in the OMEA state finals at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 at Dublin Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Road, Dublin.

Banghoff is happy with how this season has turned out.

"We're just very excited about being back, and we're very appreciative of the community support, and we're excited about continuing the legacy of the Grove City band," he said.

Edge, too, has been impressed with the band's performance.

"The kids have worked so hard," Edge said. "Our seniors have done a great job of becoming leaders after not having leaders last year."

In addition to Edge, the Grove City High School band is led by assistant directors Thomas Traini and Walter Riesenberg, as well as flag corps instructor Emily Ebert. Cory Hanlon, who plays trombone, is this year's band vice president.