The Groveport Madison High School band could march its way into school history books this winter by becoming the first group from the district to perform in a national parade.

The high school band was invited to perform at the 2018 Peach Bowl, in Atlanta on Dec. 26-30.

"When I got the letter in the mail, I was like, 'holy cow, this is a huge honor,' " said Bart Pickenpaugh, director of bands for the district.

He made a presentation about the trip to the school board at its April 11 meeting.

"This will be great publicity for our school, our community and our program," he said.

Plans call for students to depart for Georgia on Dec. 26. While in Atlanta, sightseeing tours would include visits to the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.; the Georgia Aquarium; the CNN Center and Coca-Cola's corporate headquarters.

The band would march in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Parade and attend the game's "fanfest" event.

Students also would have the opportunity to perform in various competitions and exhibitions and participate in an all-band practice and banquet with students from around the U.S., Pickenpaugh said.

"This is a huge effort for us," he said. "Our students have worked really hard."

The band regularly travels south in the winter, but this is an experience to "set the tone for our travel resume," Pickenpaugh said.

"We've taken a Disney trip every three years and we'd like to move that to every four," he said. "There's always a class that gets to go to Disney twice, and we'd like to do other things."

The trip is expected to cost $989 per student.

Students will be able to do fundraising to help cover expenses.

While the trip will not be mandatory, Pickenpaugh said he hopes most band members will attend.

The Groveport Madison Board of Education is expected to approve funding for the trip at its Wednesday, April 25, meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. at district offices, 4400 Marketing Place.

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