The Garfield "Marching Pride" is in its 77th season and has 77 members plus 7 middle school students that make up the honor guard.
Band Director Theo Cebulla said the band is carrying on the tradition of being a "little band with a big sound." He added the students have a lot of energy and work hard to accomplish their goals.
"Everyone has been working well together and putting forth good effort," Cebulla. "The students really get a lot done in a short amount of rehearsal time."
While the school may be small in size, Cebulla said students are "well rounded" and involved in many activities, from dance and athletics, to quiz team and 4H. He added many different groups rely on the kids to represent the school and community at a high level, and "they don't disappoint."
"I like that they can have varied interests and still manage to put on a great show," Cebulla said.
He said senior class and band officers have been instrumental to this success. The band is led by president-Jenna Montez, vice president-Drew Tushar, manager-John Lorinchack, crew chief-Andrew Pemberton, and librarian-Shannon Williams. The drumline captain is Simon Varner, and the flagline is led by captains Lyndsey Johns and Alyssa Zupancic.
While there are 17 freshmen in the band, many are returning students who Cebulla said are capable of earning superior ratings at OMEA solo and ensemble and concert band contests.
"This musicianship allows us to play music the students and audience will enjoy," Cebulla said.
The band prides itself on playing a wide variety of tunes from old classics to new favorites. Some of the artists or groups represented are Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Flo Rida, Fitz and the Tantrums, Aerosmith, The Foundations, Twenty One Pilots, and The Weeknd. During the annual homecoming game, held Sept. 29 the band was joined by the middle school bands and alumni.
In addition to band shows, the group is also looking forward to its Florida Trip 2018 in February.
The band is directed by Theo Cebulla and Joel Logan. They are assisted by drumline instructor Kevin Kifer, flagline advisor Christina Pesecky, and trumpet extraordinaire Jerry Kleman.
Cebulla worked as high school director for three years at Beaver Local Schools in Lisbon. He began at Garfield in 2002 as assistant director with Michael Kelly. He became the head director in 2005.
The band director grew up in Hiram township, and still lives there today. He graduated from Crestwood High School in 1994, and said "great directors" like Ms. Monroe, Dr. Guegold, and Mr. Collins influenced his career as did his experience experience at The University of Akron "with many outstanding faculty and musicians."
While he has respect and admiration for his influences, Cebulla said he is very proud to work with the Marching Pride at JAG.
"The faculty, administration, community, and most importantly, the students, make Garfield a great place to be," Cebulla said. "I enjoy hearing the students struggle through hot cross buns in fifth grade, and then play with college level power and precision in high school. I also enjoy hearing about the success of our alumni, whether they are pursuing a trade, a career in the military, or have gone on to become a chemist, engineer, etc... I like to think "hot cross buns" had a little something to do with it."