Twelve bands will perform music ranging from classical to rock at the 29th annual Grove City High School Marching Band Invitational.
The event will start at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Grove City High School. Tickets are $6 per person at the gate, with proceeds going toward the GCHS band.
Concession stands will be open.
“We have quite a wonderful array of bands coming in from all over the state,” said GCHS band director George Edge.
Participating high school bands will include Hilliard Davidson, Licking Heights, Fort Frye, Newton, Pickerington North, Fairmont, Adena, Willoughby South, Westfall, Franklin Heights, Westervillle Central and Grove City.
Each band will perform a seven- to 10-minute show. Nine judges will rate the shows on musical performance, marching performance and overall general effect. The highest scoring schools in the top two and bottom two of the four marching band classes will be named grand champions. Bands in each of the four classes will be awarded for best auxiliary, best percussion and best overall performance.
As host band, GCHS’s 240-member marching band won’t participate in the competition, though it will perform. The GCHS show this year is “American Songs of Inspiration.” It commemorates the anniversaries of the Civil War, Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The show features inspirational songs such as “When the Saints go Marching In.”
“In the midst of all this tragedy, there have been songs that have uplifted the people,” Edge said of the selection.
James Swearingen, former GCHS band director, began the marching band invitational in the mid-1980s, Edge said. Grove City had one of the first high school bands in the state of Ohio, dating to the early 1900s.
Currently, 5,000 to 6,000 people generally attend the invitational, Edge said.
“We love to show them what a wonderful place Grove City is,” he said.
More than 1,300 students will perform, said event chair Dave Nelson.
“These kids have been working very hard for the last two months to be able to perform a show,” he said.
While preparing for the invitational, the students learn other skills and values besides music performance. “It’s a life lesson that they’re going to have with them,” Nelson said.
Though the invitational is a “good, honest competition among rivals,” it’s done in the spirit of sportsmanship, Nelson said, saying the event has a very supportive environment.
“They know the hard work that’s going in to every single program and they know what it takes to get there,” he said.