Another week, another show by the Ohio State Marching Band being talked about on the internet. It was rare that a marching band show would ever get any major attention online or in the news but TBDBITL is on a roll this year, starting with the band’s surfer formation making it to the front page of Reddit. This was topped by the band’s video game show from the Nebraska game which showed up pretty much everywhere imaginable. Now the band’s show from last week has also shown up online. The OSUMB presented a show inspired by the Mayan apocalypse which is supposed to occur in December. The show told the story of a group of Michigan fan aliens who kidnapped an OSU cheerleader and then traveled back in time. Fortunately with the help of the band forming a giant DeLorean and dancing the Time Warp, Brutus was able to rescue the cheerleader and return her safely to our time.
Last week’s show once again was a perfect embodiment of the band’s philosophy of combining tradition and innovation. While the major talk after the show was about the dancing alien the band formed and how the band actually danced, this show was a major homage to OSUMB shows of yesteryear. The skit show telling a story is like similarly cheesy story shows that the band would do back in the 70s; the show was particularly similar to a show from that era where the band told the story of Batman and Robin rescuing a Buckeye cheerleader who had been kidnapped by a bunch of Wolverines. The band dancing is also not a new thing, while the OSUMB does not dance often, they have done so from time to time in the past.
The drill design was also a bit of a flashback. In recent years the band’s drill has primarily been designed with the instruments directed toward the one sideline with band members turning their lower bodies in order to move in other directions; this is done in order to get a more powerful sound but has the downside of only directing this sound toward one part of the stadium. Much of the drill in last week’s show was done in a direction of travel style, which had been the primary style of the band in past decades. With the band members turning their entire body in the direction they are traveling, this drill style spreads the sound out in more directions, resulting a sound that may be less forceful but is more evenly spread throughout the stadium. Both drill styles have their advantages and it was nice to see the band do a show that was more direction of travel, allowing more of the stadium to fully appreciate the music. Smaller marching bands often have to stick solely to a style with all the instruments directed to one sideline but the size and the all brass and percussion natures of TBDBITL means they produce a strong enough style to have instruments pointed in different directions.
This week the football team travels to Penn State and unfortunately the band will not being going with them. Due to cost, the athletic department only sends the band to one away game each year and this year’s trip was to Michigan State. This will actually be the band’s first Saturday off this year as they traveled to MSU and hosted the Buckeye Invitational high school band festival the weekend of the Indiana game. The band will be back in action on Sunday though as they travel to Cleveland to perform at the Browns-Chargers game. Each season the band performs at one NFL game, alternating between traveling to Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Even though the band has no performances this weekend, they will undboutably be hard at work on their next show. The season has been amazing so far, possibly the strongest the band has ever had as they keep coming up with creative and engaging shows. The attention the band has gotten this season has been amazing and is bringing a lot of good press to Ohio State. The band got a mention on Slate.com this week as a writer decided to write a piece debating who was better, TBDBITL or the Ohio University Marching 110, as if there is even a debate there. This debate has been going on for a while actually as fans and band members of each band steadfastly insist their band is better. Both bands are great at what they do and have very different styles that appeal more to some people that others. TBDBITL is a traditional style college marching band that plays a wide variety of music and performs precision drill while the Ohio University band is more of a dance band style group which dances while playing pop music. I am of course biased but I have always far preferred the OSUMB’s style. No matter your feelings on the debate, we can all agree that this year has been amazing for TBDBITL and I think we are all anxious to see what the band has planned for their remaining two shows.