A former Licking Heights teacher, the son of longtime Hartford Fair secretary John McDavid, will strike up the Olympic Marching Band at this summer's Beijing Olympic Games.

A former Licking Heights teacher, the son of longtime Hartford Fair secretary John McDavid, will strike up the Olympic Marching Band at this summer's Beijing Olympic Games.

Brad McDavid, a 1980 graduate of Centerburg High School, is preparing to lead the official Olympic Marching Band at this summer's games.

McDavid, who has led the marching band at the University of Washington in Seattle for the last 14 years, first received the invitation about a year and half ago and jumped at the chance to conduct the group. It will consist of 2,008 high school and college-aged musicians from around the world.

John McDavid, who resigned as fair secretary earlier this year, said he and his wife Judy are two of only 200 "Shadows" to accompany 650 band members from the United States.

"We'll go from Seattle to California and from California to China," he said. "We're getting ready.

"It will be exciting and an adventure you never anticipate, but we're glad our son was fortunate enough to be selected. This was an opportunity where we could go and stay in the village with the band."

Brad McDavid taught at Licking Heights in the late 1980s, when he took his students to the Fiesta Bowl.

That trip led him to the University of Arizona, where he earned a master's degree.

The UW band has 240 members -- about the average size for a large university -- but the opportunity to coordinate a halftime show for such a large group was something McDavid said he " just couldn't pass up."

McDavid isn't quite sure how he was selected to lead the Olympic band, but it more than likely stems from the tour of Beijing and Shanghai that he led the UW Marching Band on in the summer of 2001.

"While performing around Beijing, we had the opportunity to do a show at the center of campus at Beijing University," he said. "There were an estimated 4,000 people in attendance, including university dignitaries as well as the directors from the Chinese Army Band. I guess we must have impressed the right people."

Rehearsals have already begun in different pockets around the country for the American contingent that primarily comes from the West coast due to the frequency of direct flights to Beijing, McDavid said.

McDavid, along with the rest of the international staff, will arrive in Beijing to begin rehearsing the Chinese contingent on July 25.

He will be joined by his wife Janie (also a music teacher) and son Skylar, along with his parents, on July 28.

The games officially begin with the Opening Ceremonies on Aug. 8.

While in Beijing, the band and staff will be housed and rehearsing at a facility much like the athletes village.

An entire resort north of the city has been rented out for all musicians.

"We'll be staying at the Epoch Village, which is a multiple hotel resort that is enclosed with a giant wall," McDavid said. "It very closely resembles the Forbidden City in Beijing. The architecture is truly stunning."

It's also enormous, as the front nine of the golf course is housed within the resort's walls.

McDavid, however, doubts whether he'll have much time to play golf.

"When I'm not rehearsing the band, I'll probably be trying to keep our 5-year-old son out of trouble," he said.

McDavid's association with this ensemble literally brings him full circle as he was selected in 1984 as one of four members of the Ohio State Marching Band to perform as a member of the Olympic Games that were held that year in Los Angeles.

John McDavid said he hopes to e-mail photos and messages from the Olympics to friends at the Hartford Fair, where a 150th anniversary celebration will be taking place.