Last weekend saw the TBDBITL alumni descend on campus for their annual reunion, a weekend of reliving memories with old friends that culminates in the alumni band’s performance at the football game. The Ohio State University Marching Band prides itself on its tradition so there is something special about seeing the people who helped create those traditions sharing the field with the current band who is charged with maintaining and improving on those traditions. The bands put on a rousing halftime show with the current OSUMB putting on a show featuring songs by ‘one hit wonders’. They were then followed by a group that is anything but a one hit wonder as the TBDBITL alumni band took to the field to perform a show of old favorites that was highlighted by the alumni band forming a giant American flag that they ‘waved’ on the field, much to the delight of the crowd that was enthusiastically clapping along with the music.
The fans’ hands didn’t get a break as the alumni band was then followed by both bands joining together to perform quad Script Ohio’s. It is always an amazing sight, 600 musicians on the field at the same time performing the four Scripts, and this year the bands did an exceptionally good job. A major challenge of performing the four Scripts is keeping everyone together musically. Anytime you have musicians spread widely apart on the field you have to worry about sound delay issues, namely that by the time a band member hears a note from someone on the other side of the field; they are already behind in the music. The quad Scripts result in the band members being spread as far as possible across the field meaning that the time delay issues are as bad as they can be. Avoiding the time delay issues requires strict focus on the directors in order to keep everyone together. Making things even more difficult in this case is also the thing that makes quad Scripts so special, that you have band alumni in their 60s, 70s, and 80s all marching, which causes a tendency for the alumni band to slow down the beat a bit unless they are really focusing on staying on tempo. This year the two bands did a great job of keeping all four Script Ohio’s together musically, you can hear a little bit of dragging late in the video of the Scripts that is at the end of the article but for the most part the bands do great at the difficult job staying together musically.
This week the band will travel to Michigan State to help support the team as they take on the Spartans in the Big Ten opener. Other than Michigan, which is a given that the band will travel to when the game is there, Michigan State is the Big Ten school that the marching band has traveled to the most over the past decade, a fact that I believe speaks to the friendship and respect between the OSUMB and the Spartan Marching Band. I have always enjoyed the MSU band and feel that they are the second best band in the Big Ten, after TBDBITL of course, plus there is the bond we share with them by having a mutual enemy.
There is a famous story that Woody Hayes was once on a recruiting trip to Michigan and on his way home ran out of gas, rather than buying gas in that state up North, Woody pushed his car back across the Ohio border. Whether this actually happened or not is unknown, but in a nod of respect to Woody, TBDBITL always spends the Friday night before a trip to East Lansing or Ann Arbor in the Toledo area, rather than staying somewhere in Michigan. While this does mean that the band gets to stay, and do a Friday night performance, in friendlier confines, it also means an earlier wakeup for the band as they then have a longer bus ride in the morning to get to the stadium. This year the band will be staying in Port Clinton and performing at the Port Clinton high school football game Friday night; any readers in that area should go check them out. Saturday morning the band will have a rehearsal at Adam’s Field on MSU’s campus, located next to the school of music on the northern portion of campus. After lunch the band will then march to Spartan Stadium, followed by the MSU band. If you are going to watch the OSUMB march to the stadium it is worth hanging around for a couple minutes to watch the Spartan Marching Band march by doing their famous ‘Series’ cadences which are pretty entertaining.
As is standard practice for visiting bands at Big Ten stadiums, the two bands will split time for pregame and halftime. The OSUMB will lead off for pregame, doing a selection of school songs, the MSU fight song in honor of their hosts, and then a double Script Ohio. A double Script is performed for all away games as it lets both sides of the stadium get a good look at the script and because it gets the most people possible performing in pregame; 224 of the 225 members perform in pregame and the double Script with one percussion alternate sitting out in order to keep the band at even numbers. For halftime the band will be performing a repeat of their Beach Boys show from the season opener, it is tradition that the OSUMB will not premier a new show on the road. The Beach Boys show is a great choice for the trip to MSU as the band’s floating surfer formation is sure to draw cheers from the Spartan fans, it made the front page of reddit after it was performed during the season opener.
In one other band related item, Sports Illustrated is running a ‘bracket’ contest to determine the best college football tradition in the country. I put the word bracket in quotes because instead of doing one round at a time, Sports Illustrated is having people cast their votes all the way through the matchups, not entirely sure how votes will be counted for later rounds. SI picked 16 traditions for the contest and Ohio State is represented by the incomparable Script Ohio. Now we all know that Script Ohio is the greatest tradition in college sports but that doesn’t mean the rest of the country realizes that and some misguided fans from other schools will undoubtedly be voting for some other tradition to be better. We cannot let that happen and you can help, make sure you visit the bracket contest and cast your vote. You can vote as many times as you like so vote early and vote often; share this with your friends too and let’s make sure Script Ohio comes out on top.