Eight Pickerington high school students recently were chosen to be part of a band featuring Ohio's top scholastic music talent.
Seven students from Pickerington High School North and one from Pickerington High School Central have been named to the Ohio Music Education Association's All-State Band.
North's representatives are Drew Arnold (senior, percussion), Isabelle Bement (junior, horn), Micah Hausmann (sophomore, bass), Jonah Larson (senior, euphonium), Kara Linard (junior, clarinet), Casey Miller (senior, percussion) and Liam Niemeyer (senior, tenor saxophone).
Josh Ackley (sophomore, percussion) is Central's representative to the band.
The students were chosen by OMEA members, which include people involved in all levels of music education in Ohio.
They were named to the All-State Band following an application process in which more than 400 students throughout the state submitted recordings of selected music pieces.
Feb. 7, the band -- which has approximately four to 10 students for each instrument -- performed during the 2014 OMEA Professional Development Conference.
"Acceptance into All-State band, which is done by audition process, is the top awarded individual honor by Ohio's chief governing musical association, Ohio Music Educator's Association," said Tim Gorgas, a Central music teacher and assistant band director.
As one of Ackley's teachers, Gorgas lauded his student's dedication to improving as a musician.
"Josh is an extremely bright and hard-working young musician," Gorgas said.
"His dedication to practice and perfection has allowed him to improve to the level necessary to compete with and perform with Ohio's top high school musicians."
With seven selectees, North Band Director Marc Parulekar said his students' inclusion in the All-State Band proves they are among the most talented band musicians in the Buckeye State.
"This is a huge honor on par with being selected 1st team All-Ohio in a sport," he said.
Rather than single them out, Parulekar spoke collectively of his pride in the work and accomplishments of Arnold, Bement, Hausmann, Larson, Linard, Miller and Niemeyer.
"They have invested in many years of private lessons, home practice and dedicated themselves to refining their craft to attain a high level of musicianship.
"These kids work really hard," Parulekar said.
The selections also maintain a longstanding tradition for both high schools, which have been represented annually on the All-State Band roster.
Last year, North had six students in the band and Central had a single representative.