Pickerington's two high school marching bands will be together again on a grand stage at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade and Bandfest.

It's more than a year away, but the Pickerington High School Central Marching Tigers and the Pickerington High School North Marching Panthers are heading to Pasadena, California.

It was announced at the conclusion of the 43rd Pickerington Band Festival, held Sept. 23 at North, that both schools have been invited to march in the annual, nationally-televised parade Jan. 1, 2019. They also will perform jointly at the related Bandfest.

"I'm beyond excited for all band students in Pickerington," said Nathan Stowe, the PHS Central band director. "I'm proud to be a part of making history as the first Ohio band to go five times to the rose parade."

Pickerington High School's marching band performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1993 and 1997.

After enrollment growth in the district forced the high school to break into Central and North, both bands were invited to the parade in 2006, and Central returned in 2010.

"This will be the second time the Central and North bands will participate together at the Tournament of Roses," said Marc Parulekar, PHS North's band director.

"The bands will perform a combined field show together at Bandfest, which is part of the Tournament of Roses activities," he said. "They also will march together in the 5 1/2-mile Tournament of Roses Parade."

The 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade will be the 130th.

Parulekar said a lot of work and coordination will take place over the next year.

"We really won't start getting students involved with the performance aspects of the event until the summer of 2018," he said. "We'll be focused 100 percent on 2017 marching bands and 100 percent on 2018 concert bands.

"When we flip over in the summer, the students who will comprise the 2018 marching bands will start to make the Tournament of Roses performance a reality."

The Pasadena trip will mark Stowe's first. He said his mother marched with the Columbus West High School band in the 1969 parade.

He said the invite is momentous for both himself, as a band director, and the community.

"I look forward to fulfilling a lifelong dream as a band director," Stowe said. "The significance is huge.

"Large communities tend to extend the division of schools into the community outside of school," he said.

"It's important to remember that we are one town with two high schools, not two sub-communities. Our combined efforts in the (Tournament of Roses Parade) are a reminder that we are Pickerington."

Parulekar concurred.

"The awesome thing is we have a really supportive community that always rises to the occasion," Parulekar said. "We've got two great sets of parents that I know are going to work well together.

"We already work together on combined projects like the Pickerington Band Festival, Tag Day and other joint projects," he said.

"We're scaling it up, obviously, but we already have a great working relationship."

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