The Groveport Madison Marching Cruisers made some beautiful music and earned a superior rating at the state band competition held Nov. 2 at Dublin Coffman High School.
"All six judges gave us a superior rating," said Sarah Brown, director of the band, who added the percussion section also received a superior rating.
Two judges assess musical presentation, two gauge the visual presentation, and two more judges evaluate the combination of the musical and visual presentations.
The 135 member Cruiser Marching Band performed "Malaguena," "Doorman of My Heart," which is a tango, as well as an original percussion solo, according to Brown.
Additionally the band wowed the judges when the woodwind and brass sections produced yellow flags during the show that were cleverly concealed in their uniforms to accent the performance.
"It was a nice effect," said Brown of the flags.
But above all, Brown said it’s the music that rules the day in a performance.
"We always stress that we’re a musical ensemble that just happens to march," said Brown. "Our first responsibility is always to the music and our students always do a great job with the music. Marching is just the icing on the cake."
Rating a result of hard work
Brown said the band began practicing for the fall performance season last summer. They began with a week long "pre-band camp" at the school where the band practiced for three hours a day. Then it was off to Rio Grande College for a week long band camp where they rehearsed for nine hours a day.
Following band camp, the band then rehearsed twice a week until school started and once a week once school was underway.
Brown said the practice scheduled lessens when school began because "our students are spread thin…they’re also involved in clubs and fall sports, including football."
Importance of music to students
"Participation in marching band encourages students to develop leadership skills, learn responsibility, punctuality, and develop a ability to handle time management," said Brown. "It’s also certainly a plus in helping students develop social skills."
Brown said music also helps learning. She said a recent study of elementary students who were involved in instrumental music classes revealed that these students’ standardized test scores were generally higher than students who did not participate in music. The study noted that, two years later, the standardized test scores of students who remained in music programs remained high while those who left music programs saw their scores drop.
"Music definitely provides intellectual stimulation," said Brown.