The bands from Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison high schools have been preparing for the kickoff of the fall season.

Led by director Chad McGee, himself a member of the Brass Band of Columbus and a former Lancaster High School band director, the Canal Winchester Marching Indians look to high-step seamlessly into 2019.

According to McGee, the band operates under a theme of balance, an idea evident even in the group's composition, as its 97 members are made up of 26 seniors, 23 juniors, 29 sophomores and 19 freshmen.

The Marching Indians are led by field commanders Taylor Clark, Nathan Dent and Abby Harshman. The assistant director is Brian Moore, Jared Hunter is percussion instructor and Nicolas Shirley is the guard instructor.

"The Canal Winchester High School marching band has had a tradition of success in the state of Ohio, including participation in the OMEA state sarching band finals," McGee wrote in a biography of the band. "The band has received superior ratings in recent years at marching band events at the local and state level."

In addition to its full schedule of football halftime shows and other performances, the group also performed during last year's spring break at Orlando's Magic Kingdom, he said.

For the Groveport band, this year represents the beginning of a new era as first-year band director Jonah Angulo-Hurtig takes over for Bart Pickenpaugh.

"Things have been going really well," said Angelo-Hurtig, who served as the associate director and head of percussion the past two years. "We've had a very smooth transition from our Fourth of July parade into band camp. Morale is very high right now."

Angulo-Hurtig is striving to secure the band's strong reputation throughout his first season. In addition to the group winning Parade Grand Champion at last year's Peach Bowl, he said it has a long history of qualifying for OMEA state competitions.

The band boasts close to 120 members, Angelo-Hurtig said, although he said an influx of returning students will cause that number to fluctuate as the band settles into the school year.

He believes the band, led by field commanders Alyssa Cain and Rachel Conners, is ready for big things.

"It's almost impossible to single out one section that's leading the way, since they're all doing so well," he said. "There's a lot of great energy right now."

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