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In the News!

Groveport students prepare for band invitational

* The high school band also is getting ready for a trip to New York City.

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:32 AM EDT
With the performance of Malaguena and Sway (Quien Sera), fans will be treated to a latin flavor from the 135-member Groveport Madison High School Marching Cruisers this year.

"(The pieces) allow the brass section to shine and there are many opportunities for the percussion section to add to the flavor of the music," said Sarah Brown, who is beginning her 19th year as band director.

Sway was released in a popular version last year by the Pussycat Dolls. The composers are Normal Gimble and Pablo Beltran Ruiz. Malaguena was composed by Ernesto Lecuona.

The band will compete at the Hilliard Band Invitational Friday, Sept. 14, at Hilliard Darby High School stadium. This will mark the first of two competitive efforts. The band will compete Oct. 13 at a contest at Thomas Worthington High School.

"We only go to two district contests during the marching season so our students have time to participate in other activities. A lot of schools go out almost every weekend to contests," said Brown.

"Our students are involved in a lot of activities including sports, drama. They serve in the capacity of student leadership. They are stretched very thin as far as everything that they do. They are great kids and they work extremely hard," said Brown.

For the past 18 years, the band earned superior ratings for performances at local contests and always has qualified for statewide competition. The contests are sponsored by the Ohio Music Eduction Association.

"We hope that we qualify for state. That's not really the main thrust of our program. We are not a trophy band," Brown said.

"We just want to be the best that we can be with the time that we spend, and we want to give the students a good experience and provide good entertainment at our halftime shows."

Students must audition to earn spots in the marching band.

Band size is limited in part because the high school's facilities are limited.

"We do that because we don't have enough room in band room. We don't fit in our band room. Percussion stands in the back hallway when we try to put stuff together," said Brown.

Her only marching band assistant, Patrick O'Donell who leads the percussion section, works with his drummers in the hallway.

"We don't own enough instruments and we don't have enough staff," said Brown.

Student musicians who don't want to participate or who aren't yet proficient enough for the marching band spend marching season in a concert band.

Come November when the marching season is over, auditions are held and students divvied up into two concert bands.

"We place students in the ensemble that will be suited to their abilities and level of play," said Brown.

The marching band traditionally takes a trip every three years -- usually to Florida.

But for the first time, the band is going to New York City this year.

Brown, who recently visited New York, said, "I immediately thought it would be a great experience for our students."

The band will perform at the atrium in the IBM Building, and will attend a clinic with an artist from either a concert band or orchestra.

The students will attend a performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, see a Broadway play, visit museums, the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. The group will stay at a hotel in New Jersey.

The cost for four days and three nights per student is $700. Various fundraising activities are under way, or are about to start, to help offset costs. Band members will sell candy bars and gift items.

Donations are welcome. Contributions may be sent in care of Sarah Brown, band director, Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport, 43125.

Meantime, the Groveport Madison Music Boosters are selling gift cards to help students pay for the trip. The boosters work to support students in both the marching and concert bands, said President Chris Braden.

"The boosters are there to support wherever needed. We're all parents and it's a year-round endeavor," she said.

For more information, visit

Shown below is the article that ran in The Southeast Messenger on September 26, 2005.  Thank you, Rick, for highlighting the band!

(photo caption) :

Cruiser Band Excels

The Groveport Madison High School Marching Cruiser Band participated in the Logan Elm Marching Band Classic on Sept. 17 where they competed against three other Class AA bands - including Reynoldsburg and Dublin Coffman - as well as for overall placement against 15 other bands.  The Cruiser Band received a superior rating, qualifying them for State Band Competition in early November. Besides receiving the 1 rating - the Cruiser Band also received second in the Class AA competition, second place - percussion in Class AA and Reserve Grand Champion which gave them the rank of second place of the 16 bands competing.
Pictured here are two of the band field commanders  Melanie Conners (left) and Kelli Nunnery.  Not pictured is the third field commander, Nicole Chiles. So far this year the band has participated in the Groveport July 4th parade and attended a week of pre-band camp at the high school and completed a full week of band camp at the University of Rio Grande. The GMHS Cruiser Band continues to perform at every football game and will attend another district contest at Nelsonville-York High School on Oct. 15. The band will perform on Band Aide Day at the Canal Winchester Kroger and at the Canal Winchester Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. ­ 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.1. Visit the Cruiser Band Web Site at:
Reprinted with permission from Rick Palsgrove, Editor, The Southeast Messenger.

And, in the October 24, 2005, edition of the "Southeast Messenger":
GMHS band superior
The Groveport Madison High School Cruiser Marching Band performed Oct. 15 at the Buckeye Classic District Band Competition at Nelsonville-York High School.  The band recieved a "1" (superior rating) from every judge and won every caption - music, marching, general effect and percussion.  The colorguard came in forth overall.  The Marching Band will compete next in the OMEA State Marching Band Competition on Nov. 4 at 7:45pm at Dublin Coffman High School Stadium.  Band supporters have asked the community to come to the state competition and support the band.
(Again - THANK YOU, Rick!)

Have pictures or news about the band you can share? Email them to Nancy Norris.