The marching band directors at both Central Crossing and Grove City high schools consider the time their students spend at band camp to be about more than just learning and practicing music.

The camps are a way for band members to build bonds of friendship.

"Band camp is when the band becomes the band," Grove City band director Jason Graham said. "It's not just the time on the field, but the off time, when students get to know each other and form that bond.

"It's also a time when we're able to concentrate on the band," he said. "Our students probably learn as much in that one week as they would in 10 or 12 weeks at school. That's because their primary focus is on the band. There aren't any other distractions."

"Band camp is where our students learn about teamwork and they come together as a unit," Central Crossing band director Eric Hubbell said. "They learn about setting and achieving goals and how to support one another."

Central Crossing's band camp was held July 30 to Aug. 3 at Fort Hill Christian Youth Camp near Hillsboro. Grove City's camp was scheduled Aug. 4 to 9 at Skyview Ranch in Millersburg.

Hubbell is starting his first full school year as band director, but he isn't a new face to Central Crossing.

He is entering his 17th year at Central Crossing, serving previously as assistant band director and percussion director. He was named Sept. 14, 2018, as interim director after Keith Hallas was put on paid leave after being arrested and charged with pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

Hallas resigned his position Dec. 10, 2018. His case is scheduled to be heard Tuesday, Aug. 13, according to the file on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court website.

Central Crossing band members "are really excited about getting the new season started and about the show we're doing this year," Hubbell said.

Central Crossing's show, "The Grid," will feature music from the soundtrack to "Tron Legacy" by Daft Punk, original music by composer Joshua Hinkel and music from "Shawshank Redemption," he said.

"As they perform the show, our students will be navigating themselves through a grid we create on the field," Hubbell said.

"In general, there's room for the interpretation of the meaning of the show to be left up to the audience," he said.

For the band students, "we're relating it to how you experience the challenges in life," Hubbell said. "The first movement is when you find a challenge you have to face up to, the second movement is about the discovery of personal strength and confidence and the third movement is applying that new-found confidence to overcome the obstacles in front of you."

The band will perform portions of "The Grid" at each home football game.

Central Crossing's competitions and special performances will include Grove City High School's annual band invitational on Sept. 21; the Bands of America Central Indiana Regional Championship Oct. 5 at Ball State University; Ohio Music Education Association competitions on Oct. 19 at Dublin Jerome High School and Oct. 26 at Thomas Worthington High School.

About 170 students are participating in this year's band, Hubbell said. If Central Crossing's show for the season is about handling challenges, Grove City's band has already faced a minor challenge as it prepares for the new season.

"We haven't been able to use our band room during the summer because of a roof repair project that's taking place at the school," Graham said. "We've had to spend a lot of time on our practice field and in space at the Naz (the Grove City Church of the Nazarene). The Naz has really been great. There really hasn't been any disruption to our precamp."

The band will present "Rhapsody" as its show this season.

"All of the music we've selected for the show is based around some form of rhapsody," Graham said. "There are many different type of musical forms that fit under the umbrella of 'rhapsody.' We've chosen about eight of them for our show this year."

The selections will include "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" by Rachmaninoff; "A Somerset Rhapsody" by Gustav Holst; "Norfolk Rhapsodies" by Ralph Vaughn Williams and "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin.

"Freddie Mercury might even make an appearance," Graham said with a smile. "These rhapsodies offer opportunities for moments in the spotlight for individuals or groups of band members," he said.

The show will feature a stage placed at the front part of the field, Graham said.

Along with hosting its invitational on Sept. 21, the highlights for Grove City's band will include participating Sept. 28 in Ohio State's Buckeye Invitational at the Horseshoe and Oct. 25 at the Bands of America Super Regional Competition at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, he said.

The band also will participate in the OMEA State Finals Nov. 2 in Hilliard, he said.

The band has about 250 members this year, Graham said.

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