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Garfield Marching Pride ~ Priceless


Garrettsville – Well, there weren’t 76 trombones but there were lots of  families and awards and plenty of  recognition for the members of the James A. Garfield Marching Pride at the annual band awards banquet, held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

‘Twas a pretty full house too, upwards of one hundred eighty attendees of all ages–band members, siblings, parents, grandparents, connections of all sorts and all into the decidedly upbeat occasion.  It was the “home bleachers” crowd.  They were entertained before the meal by a video slide show of candid moments, mostly of seniors, who made up a large contingent of the Marching Pride this year.  Band Boosters president, Becky Russell, welcomed everyone to the festivities, acknowledged the effort that had gone into providing the entire band with the new uniforms on display this past season and gave the seniors and their families first crack at the waiting food.  Co-ordinators of the victuals, Marianne Norris and Dorothy Sheller kept the lines moving past the pyramid of salads, the chicken, the potatoes and the pasta…sort of like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, but catered by Guido’s.  Freshmen, although they were last to the line (which moved pretty fast, all things considered), did not starve.  Seniors checked the cake to see whose name was not there and whose was misspelled, causing considerable merriment.

The table at the front was piled with awards–umbrellas, blankets, medals, plaques, hats, letters, patches.  There were gift bags, bags of coffee, picture frames, even a giant Crayola.  Three awards (Gilmore, Arion, Sousa)  were taped over to conceal the names of the winners to be announced; they are the capstone to a band member’s musical career at the high school level.  Band directors, Theo M. Cebulla and Joe M. Gaither were the masters of ceremonies for the distribution of this outpouring of loot…also recipients of some items themselves. And, by-the-by, the winners of those three big awards were : Gilmore–Andrea Sheller, Arion–Michael Eby, John Philip Sousa–Stefan Wickli.

Congratulations to all…and hang on to those “Upcoming Events” calendars; band camp is only ten weeks away!

And to top off the year, the James A. Garfield Local Schools and Band Department celebrated the 23rd Annual District-Wide Spring Concert, featuring instrumentalists from fifth and sixth grade bands (Intermediate School) through Middle School Concert Band (seventh and eighth grade) and the High School Concert Band.  The finale was, fittingly, all of the groups combining to perform the Garfield Fight Song–it’s a natural for a sing-along.

Opening the event was the presentation of colors by the Garfield Marching Pride Honor Guard as the high school concert band played “The Star-Spangled Banner”.  Then each individual ensemble showcased selections from its repertoire.  The variety was amazing…and entertaining, from “Garage Band” to ”Pirates of the Caribbean” all the way through to “Gettysburg” and  selections from “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables”, as well as “A Disneyland Celebration”, finishing up with that perennial concert band gem, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.

Band seniors–of which there were many–were honored throughout the program (Two of them, Brittany Sisson and Stefan Wickli, are to be salutatorians at the upcoming graduation ceremony).

All of these things (plus the trivia quiz in the program) make it clear that the arts–visual and performance, music and drama, etc.– are part of a successful academic program at any level and in any community.

Congratulations to students, parents, faculty & staff,  directors (Joe Gaither, Theo Cebulla), band boosters, patrons and supporters.

It was great and YOU did it!