Bands showcased at competition

The St. Marys High School Marching Blue Devils come off the field after performing.

With music in the air, trumpets blaring, drums pounding and flags waving, the 56th annual Band-O-Rama was held Saturday in Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.

Proud parents and marching band fans were entertained as nine regional bands showcased their talents. Eight of the bands competed in the Band-O-Rama, which is an Ohio Music Education Association’s adjudicated competition. Host band, Marietta High School’s Wall of Sound, also performed in exhibition.

Several local high schools competed in the Band-O-Rama including Belpre, Fort Frye, Waterford and St. Marys high schools. In total, 610 students participated in the competition this year.

Trophies were awarded for the top three places in each class — A, AA, B and C — as well as Best Auxiliary and Best Percussion. Overall trophies were presented for High Auxiliary, High Percussion, High General Effect, High Visual Effect and High Music. This year’s Overall Grand Champion was Perry High School from Massillon.

The Band-O-Rama has served as a fundraiser for the Marietta Band Boosters for many years. The competition also serves as a great venue for high school marching bands to spotlight the shows that they have been working on.

Perry High School’s color guard gathers before the awards ceremony.

“We are the oldest and longest running band competition in the state of Ohio,” stated Band-O-Rama co-chair Meredith Becker. “It started in 1961.”

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” continued Becker. “It’s perfect.”

Becker, who’s youngest daughter is a member of the band, expressed that she believes that participating in the Band-O-Rama is a great experience for the kids. Becker said she participated in the Band-O-Rama herself while being a band member at Warren High School during the mid- to late-80s.

“We have a lot of great bands here today and wonderful weather,” said Marietta band director Chris Bunner.

“To think about all of the history of this event, being the oldest show in Ohio,” added Bunner, “it’s really great being a part of it.”

The Belpre High School Golden Eagles Marching Band performs “A Tribute to Journey.”

Saturday was the last time that Marietta senior color guard member Sierra Unruh, 17, will get to perform in the Band-O-Rama.

“I feel kind of emotional because this is my last year,” admitted Unruh, “but I feel that I’ve committed a lot of work to it, so it feels good at the end of the day. After this year, I’ll miss this and everybody. We’re very close.”

Waterford High School band director Chase Myers, said it was a beautiful day to be out performing. Myers said it was Waterford’s third band contest and he felt that they were really growing. He thought it was their best performance so far.

“I think they did fantastic out there. This is a unique experience for us,” stated St. Marys High School band director Patrick Norton. “Usually we do competitions in West Virginia. This is our first time doing an Ohio show.”

“It’s always a great experience to come to Marietta’s Band-O-Rama. It’s a wonderful contest,” said John Glenn High School band director John Kelsy. “This is our second time out and we’re looking forward to doing our performance today honoring our own John Glenn and striving to getting a superior rating.”

Marietta High School’s “Wall of Sound” performs in exhibition at Don Drumm Stadium.

Field Commander Jordan Price, 16, a junior at John Glenn High School, shared that he was glad to be back in Marietta.

“I’m excited about our performance today. This is my fourth competition here,” revealed Price. “We always feel welcome in Marietta. I love the atmosphere. At most competitions, I feel anxious, but I feel comfortable here.”




DOUG LOYER Special to the Times The John Glenn High School’s marching band honored its namesake John Glenn with their “Godspeed, John Glenn” performance.

Grand Champion: Perry H.S.

High Music: Perry H.S.

High Visual Effect: Berne Union H.S.

High General Effect: Perry H.S.

High Percussion: Perry H.S.

High Auxiliary: Pt. Pleasant H.S.

Class AA

1st Place: Perry H.S.

Best Percussion: Perry H.S.

Best Auxiliary: Perry H.S.

Class A

1st Place: Berne Union H.S.

2nd Place: Pt. Pleasant H.S.

Best Percussion: Pt. Pleasant H.S.

Best Auxiliary: Pt. Pleasant H.S.

Class B

1st Place: John Glenn H.S.

Best Percussion: John Glenn H.S.

Best Auxiliary: John Glenn H.S.

Class C

1st Place: Belpre H.S.

2nd Place: Waterford H.S.

3rd Place: Ft. Frye H.S.

Best Percussion: Belpre H.S.

Best Auxiliary: Waterford H.S.