“The big announcement of our invitation came in August on the last day of band camp. Since then, it took 18 months and countless hours to prepare for the trip,” band trip coordinator and school secretary
Heather Lantz said.
The trip in question was the five-day voyage down to Atlanta, Georgia on which the Olentangy Orange Marching Pioneers embarked during winter break. The band had been invited to be a part of the Chick- l-A Peach Bowl, an honor that only four other bands across the country were given.
Traveling with more than 200 hundred students, countless chaperones and a few school personnel, organization and communication were key to keep the band on schedule and where it was supposed
“We utilized the REMIND 101 text message system to mass communicate with students, and Dr. Cox held a briefing meeting every morning prior to our departure and upon or return to the hotel each evening,” Lantz said.
By constantly communicating with participants, it made it easy to keep track of everyone while still ensuring they had fun as they visited local Atlanta attractions. Some of the places that the band visited included the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke and the Varsity restaurant.
“Getting to go around the city with my friends was definitely the best way to end my band years,” senior trumpet player and section leader Morgan Hafner said.
Of course, the main reason that the group went was to take part in the Chick- l-A Peach Bowl and the competition that it encompassed. All of the bands were placed in class divisions based on school size and were then judged in the following categories: eld show performance, parading, jazz band performance and concert band performance.
“There were classifications and sub- awards within the festival experience. The band took first place in all categories and grand champion,” band director Dr. Ishbah Cox said.
There was plenty of excitement to go around once the awards were announced but that was not the only thing that spread throughout the band. Starting in the early hours on the fourth day of the trip, many band members fell ill with a gastrointestinal virus, possibly norovirus, which left several of them unable to take part in some of the final events.
“I think the sickness was handled very well given how quickly it came about, and we owe many thanks to the professionals who helped take care of the sick,” Hafner said.
Despite the bumps that they ran into while on the trip, the students not only performed well marching and music wise, but were able to leave an impression of what Orange stands for.
“I expected the band to represent the program, the community, the school and the state in a first-class manner,” Cox said. “I knew that the students would do well, but I could not have imagined them performing and representing Orange the way they did. It was humbling to me.”