On Dec. 30, the Grove City High School marching band flies to Arizona to perform at the invitation of the Fiesta Bowl.
Over 200 student musicians will represent the community as they perform at the Fiesta Bowl Parade as well as the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship.
"The Fiesta Bowl recognized the many honors that the GCHS band has achieved over the years," said George Edge, band director and 2007 Ohio Teacher of the Year for the state of Ohio. "For instance, we have been the consistent grand champion winner at OMEA field shows in Ohio, two time performer in the Tournament of Roses Parade, performer in the 2005 London, England New Year’s Day Parade, Sweepstakes winner at Music Fest Orlando in Florida, and a two time performer in the Mid West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago."
Accolades aside, the road to the Fiesta Bowl was paved with hours of hard work – both on the field and in fund raising activities.
According to band parent Lora Baker, "The students have sold everything! They have sold pies, cookbooks, entertainment books, and submarine sandwiches."
Then she added, "Students as well as their parents have also worked concessions for Crew games, Columbus Clipper games and various events at the Schottenstein Center. There were also car washes throughout the summer and fall."
Baker insisted that all the long hours are worth it for her daughter, Morgan.
"I think band provides a sense of belonging and community. It gives our children a chance to be a part of something great that they can have pride in for years to come. The discipline and hard work will be beneficial in their adult lives."
That’s exactly what Edge intends.
"For years, the band program has helped so many students develop wonderful person skills such as: self-confidence, commitment, dedication, pride in doing ones’s best in whatever they pursue. Hopefully, the high standard of excellence the students achieve through their musical performances carries over into every area of their lives."
Senior band members Allen Sun, 16, and Ginny Hall, 17, agree with these sentiments. Their band experience has given them essential leadership skills – but it has also given them an opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves.
"It’s been a very intense four years but very rewarding," reflected Hall. "You really get to know a lot of people, especially in our band, with the contests and the trips. It’s like our extended family."
While Edge is humble about his role, the students feel grateful for his influence in their lives.
"Mr. Edge is the one who’s bringing out our individual skills," said Hall, the band’s student secretary. "He’s a great teacher because he can bring out the skills then we all work as a whole."
Sun, band president, expressed gratitude to others as well.
"Everyone in the band is really grateful for all the community support of time and money. We’ve really felt everyone behind us!"