Last week fans who attended the seasoning opening game between Ohio State and Miami (Ohio) were treated to another great performance by the Ohio State University Marching Band. During pregame the band premiered a new tunnel sequence incorporating their famous ‘Diamond Ohio’ formation which looked great and massive as it covered almost half of the field. At halftime the band had the crowd wishing they could have some fun in the sand and the surf as they performed music from the Beach Boys while forming numerous picture formations that harkened back to the style of show that the band used to more commonly perform a few decades ago. For those who were not able to be in attendance, you can find some videos of the pregame and halftime shows at the end of the preview, the camera angles are not great but that is what you get for staying home.
Last week’s game saw the Miami (Ohio) band visit and they did a great job with their performance. This week’s opponent UCF will not be bringing their band which isn’t a surprise due to the distance involved and the cost of travel. While it is always nice to see a visiting band, I wish bands would go to all away games as it adds to the atmosphere, the presence of a visiting band does alter what the home band does for their performance. Both pregame and halftime have a limited, set time for band performances; in pregame this is dictated by the time the teams return to their locker rooms after warm-ups and when they return to the field for the national anthem while halftime is obviously dictated by the regulation length of the half. When a visiting band comes this time must be shared between the two bands, shortening the length of their performances. This has the most notable impact on TBDBITL when it comes to pregame which can get very tight in terms of timing when there is a visiting band. The OSUMB must get in all their traditional pregame elements: the ramp entrance, the playing of the visiting team’s fight song (a classy move that is tradition among Big Ten bands), and the tunnel sequence. If you throw in a pregame ‘Script Ohio’ this takes up all of the time allowed for pregame. With nobody to share the field with this week the band will perform a more extensive pregame which will incorporate other school songs in addition to the traditional pregame requirements and a double ‘Script Ohio.’
People often wonder why the band sometimes does the traditional single ‘Script Ohio’ to one sideline and other times it does a double Script where smaller Scripts are done simultaneously to each sideline. The answer is that this is based on the number of ‘i’-dotters for that year. The honor of dotting the ‘i’ goes to a fourth year sousaphone player each week. The number of fourth year sousaphones will vary from year to year, as will the number of home games. Thus the number of home games that will have a single Script and the number that will have a double is determined after tryouts each year and is set so that each fourth year will have the opportunity to dot at a home game. This week’s ‘i’-dotters are Ric Reinhold, a military history major, and Mitch Finley, an electrical engineering major who is also minoring in music.
So what is the difference between a single and a double Script, other than the number of them being performed? Well the first thing that everyone most likely has noticed is the size. A single Script involves 192 band members whereas each of the double Scripts has 112 band members in it for a total of 224. So where do these extra band members come from? The Ohio State Marching Band features 225 musicians split between 16 rows. Each row consists of 12 regulars and 2 alternates except for the percussion row made up of the bass drums, quads, and cymbals; in order to have one alternate on each instrument in this row there must be three alternates giving the row a total of 15 members. Thus the band’s 225 members consist of 192 regulars and 33 alternates; I will discuss the differences between these in a later article. A single Script is performed by the regulars and the double Script sees 32 of the 33 alternates enter the field to join the Script block; one of the percussion alternates sits out the double Script as 225 is not divisible by two. There is another difference in addition to the size difference between the two types of Scripts and that is the length of time it takes to perform them. Since the double Scripts are smaller and feature fewer musicians, it takes fewer steps to fully form them. Fewer required steps means fewer beats of music needed and thus a slightly shortened version of Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse is used.
Halftime this week will feature the band performing a Funk Show arranged by Dr. Ted McDaniel with percussion by Aaron Bell. The show will open with Sing A Simple Song Fanfare, Tear The Roof Off That Sucka, I Feel Good/Brand New Bag, and Lets Groove/Boogie Wonderland. Dr. McDaniel is a Professor of Afro-American Music and the Director of the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Studies at Ohio State while also being the Chairman of the Black Studies Department. Dr. McDaniel is a long time arranger for TBDBITL, since 1981, contributing many hip, swinging arrangements for the bands as expected from an accomplished jazz composer and performer. Mr Bell is a former member of the OSUMB percussion section who went on to become the percussion instructor; he has written percussion parts for numerous TBDBITL shows over the past several years. The drill for this week’s show is written by Josh Laux, one of the OSUMB graduate assistant directors, and will close by featuring the percussion section in an exciting, funky drum solo.