Our community enjoys so many points of pride: the Mirolo Dream Field at Mount Carmel Stadium, an extraordinary Town Center, Century Village, a new library, Windsor Park and Scioto Grove Metro Park, to name a few. The Grove City Community Winds band ranks among these local treasures.

Our community enjoys so many points of pride: the Mirolo Dream Field at Mount Carmel Stadium, an extraordinary Town Center, Century Village, a new library, Windsor Park and Scioto Grove Metro Park, to name a few. The Grove City Community Winds band ranks among these local treasures.

If you don't know much about our community band or haven't been to one of its concerts, you must plan to attend one soon. It is one of the most celebrated community bands in Ohio with a music director recognized around the world.

The Grove City Community Winds features a cross section of dedicated musicians ranging in ages from 20s to 70s, many of whom travel from throughout central Ohio to be a part of this prestigious group of 65.

But it remains truly representative of our community, as 25 members are former South-Western City Schools music students or current or past music educators. These musicians are united in their passion to perform at the highest level.

James Swearingen, the Winds' music director for the past 15 years, is recognized as one of the most accomplished band-literature composers in the world. With nearly 600 published works, his band compositions and arrangements reflect a variety of musical forms and style.

Swearingen frequently appears as a guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States, Japan, Australia, Europe, Canada and China.

Last September, the Grove City Community Winds was invited to perform in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, at the Flight 93 Memorial National Park -- the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four planes hijacked Sept. 11, 2001, and the only one that did not reach its intended target, presumed to be the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The band performed "Flight of Valor," a composition Swearingen was commissioned to write for the Somerset County Community Band on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The band was the first musical group invited to perform at this historic national park. It was an honor and humbling to have our band perform at such a significant and hallowed place in our country's history.

Locally, the Winds share the concert stage several times a year with middle school and high school bands to help inspire students to pursue their musical talents.

The annual musical season for the Winds includes a longstanding shared concert with the New Albany Community Band, as well as performances with the Civitan Club of North Columbus Park of Roses Concert Series and our own Grove City Summer Sizzle Concert Series.

Band members share their time and immense talent around central Ohio, serving as tremendous musical ambassadors for our community.

Our Grove City Community Winds is one of my community points of pride, and I hope in this new year you will share an evening of cultural pleasure with Ohio's best community band in central Ohio's "Best Hometown."

Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor of Grove City.