Marietta to host Band-O-Rama Saturday

Photo by Erin O’Neill Members of the Wall of Sound drum and percussion section rehearse after school in preparation for the Band-O-Rama competition Saturday.

MARIETTA — Sweet music will once again fill the air above Don Drumm Stadium on Saturday as the 56th annual Band-O-Rama kicks off at 10 a.m.

The Ohio Music Education Association adjudicated competition will include eight regional bands and the Marietta High School Wall of Sound performing in exhibition as the host school. The Wall will be eligible to qualify for state competition.

For some area districts, the show marks a time of re-growth for their band programs, after dwindling numbers in years past.

Led by Marshall University graduate and St. Marys native Chris Bunner, the MHS band has 69 seventh- through 12th-grade members who have worked to perfect their competition marching show “Opus 88” since band camp at Cedar Lakes in Ripley in July.

“Our show is inspired by popular piano music. We use Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ as the central musical theme for the show to tie everything together,” Bunner said.

Photo by Erin O’Neill Sierra Yannitell, a senior color guard member, practices her routine on the blacktop parking lot on the Academy Drive side of Marietta High School.

For MHS senior color guard member Sierra Yannitell, 17, this being her last Band-O-Rama is bittersweet.

“It’s sad. I just started band last year but this will be my last Band-O-Rama,” she said. “It’s been really fun and I love our show; I think it’s a real winner.”

The number of students participating in Band-O-Rama is 610; Bunner said there is one fewer band participating this year than last but, overall, numbers of students participating in band seems to be up.

Belpre High School will be participating in Band-O-Rama again this year with the show “A Tribute to Journey” and the program is growing since being disbanded in 2008 due to lack of interest.

“In 2010 we started the process back up and now we have 46 members,” said director Bill VanPelt. “We tend to stick around Belpre to compete but we like to showcase the band and the progress that we’ve made.”

Another local band competing is the Fort Frye Marching Cadets. Band director Jonathan Lucy said the band has 34 members, up from 22 last year. Seventeen of those members, middle and high school students, are new to the program. They will present a show titled “Shattered Earth,” which depicts the end of the world and its aftermath, according to Lucy.

“The band is performing a far more difficult show this year,” he said. “The drill is more complex, there are more sets and the music is written specifically for them by me and a close friend of mine.”

Waterford will attend Band-O-Rama as its third competition of the season and will be first on the field with the show “Scenes from Simple Gifts,” something that makes first-year director Chase Myers a little nervous.

“I usually like to be the last to perform but I’ve told the kids to own it, to own their time slot and make it happen,” he said.

The 22-member Class C band consists of seventh- through 12-graders and most are freshmen.

Band-O-Rama has always served as a fundraiser for the Marietta Band Boosters and as a way to spotlight the hard work that goes into creating a competition marching show. There are overall trophies as well as trophies for each class and the individual captions, being individual performance, music, visual effect and auxiliary.

Meredith Becker has been a co-chair of the event for the past four years and says there is a lot of parent and community involvement that goes into making the event a success.

“This is one of our bigger fundraisers and the boosters do everything from helping with parking, concessions, security and first aid. The students also get excited because they all have jobs to do, too,” she said.

Lucy said he likes Band-O-Rama and appreciates being able to showcase his students’ efforts.

“It’s a good opportunity for local area bands to compete and a more accessible place for parents to come watch,” he said.

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56th Band-O-Rama

* When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

* Where: Don Drumm Stadium, Marietta

* Who: Hosted by Marietta High School Wall of Sound

* Cost: $5; age 5 and under free

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Schedule

* 10 a.m. National Anthem by MHS Vocal Point

* 10:05 a.m. Waterford

* 10:20 a.m. Fort Frye

* 10:35 a.m. Belpre

* 10:50 a.m. St. Marys

* 11:05 a.m. John Glenn

* 11:20 a.m. Lunch break

* 11:50 a.m. Berne Union

* 12:05 p.m. Point Pleasant High School

* 12:20 p.m. Perry High School

* 12:35 p..m. Marietta High School Wall of Sound

* 12:50 p.m. Awards

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