COLUMBUS — The All-Ohio State Fair Band and Choir will be celebrating another year as musical entertainers for the Ohio State Fair. This will be the All-Ohio State Fair Band’s 93rd year, while this will be the All-Ohio State Fair Choir’s 54th year.
The band, directed by Brian Dodd, has been a featured attraction of the Ohio State Fair since 1925. AOSFB began as an all-boys band with 250 boys split into five separate bands. Today, the All-Ohio State Fair Band will have 201 musicians and they will all play under a single co-ed band.
The choir, directed by John C. Peterson, was founded in 1963. The first choir had 180 members, similar to the 178 members that are performing this year.
The band represents 47 counties and 84 schools (including one homeschool student) all throughout the state of Ohio. High school students (incoming freshmen through seniors) apply for membership in the All-Ohio State Fair Band through their local school’s band director. Membership is determined by student ability, instrumentation needs of the band and geographical consideration.
Local students students performing with the band will be EmmaVallandingham and Hunter Lloyd, both of Russia. Vallandingham is a 2017 graduate of Russia High School and plays the clarinet. Lloyd is a junior at Russia High School and plays the baritone bass clef.
Their enthusiastic tunes have thrilled thousands of fairgoers each year, including the performance of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever!” at the conclusion of each performance.
The choir will have students from 53 counties and 96 high schools, as well as two homeschooled students. Students in grades 9-12 are selected each spring by the director on the basis of their ability and experience, the recommendation of their high school choral director, geographical considerations and the consent and promised support of their parent or guardian.
Local students who will be performing with the choir include Mya Elsass and Annie Stemen, both of Sidney, Madison Wagner, of Port Jefferson, and Celeste Winemiller, of Pemberton. Elsas is a junior at Fairlawn High School and is a soprano 2. Stemen is a senior at Fairlawn High School and is a soprano 1. Wagner is a 2017 graduate of Botkins High School and is a soprano 1. Winemiller is a 2017 graduate of Jackson Center High Shool and is a bass 2.
Both the All-Ohio State Fair Band and Youth Choir perform approximately 200 times during the 12-day fair and arrive a week before the fair starts to begin practicing.