With only one day remaining until the start of the 2013 football season, last minute preparations are underway by thousands of people at Ohio State. While the football team and coaches are having their last practice and making their last tweaks to the game plan, stadium workers are finishing getting Ohio Stadium ready for over 100,000 fans, campus area bars are stocking up on beer and food, and fans are making sure all their gameday gear is out and ready. Another important part of the OSU gameday experience, the Ohio State Marching Band is also getting ready for their first game of the season.
While Buckeye fans have always known that the OSUMB is truly The Best Damn Band in the Land and the band has gotten prays from numerous sources over the years, the bands fame went up several notches last year due to a series of amazing shows, highlighted by the now famous video game show from the Nebraska game that went viral. That show is still getting talked about and it is featured in the battle of the bands contest being conducted on NCAA.com ; TBDBITL is currently leading but Texas A&M is still within striking distance so take a minute or two and go vote. The NCAA isn’t the only website giving the band some attention, ESPN is conducting a poll ranking the top college football traditions; currently Script Ohio is way down in 9th place and in need of some serious help. While all the attention that the band received last season was great, this season presents an even bigger opportunity for the band to get well deserved recognition thanks to the busiest performance schedule the band has ever had; TBDBITL will be performing at four away games in addition to home football games and some concerts and high school band festivals.
Ever since tryouts concluded on August 12th, the band has been busy preparing for the season. Normally the band has only a week to learn a new show, so having three weeks of practices between the end of tryouts and the first game of the year is a major blessing. The band takes advantage of that time with an intense practice schedule designed to get the band to gel into a cohesive unit and to perfect its performances. The one week turnarounds between most shows during the season means that most rehearsal time is spent on the new halftime show, thus these past three weeks have seen a lot of work on the traditional elements of the pregame performance and other band traditions like Hang on Sloopy and Script Ohio. While these things may seem easy, getting them perfected to the standard that is expected in TBDBITL takes some time and the preseason is the best source of that time.
Practices this season have been a little different thanks to some new technology. Ever since the opening of the new Joan Zieg Steinbrenner in 2001, the OSUMB has enjoyed access to the latest technology to aid its rehearsals. The major use of technology in the past decade has been to make video recordings of rehearsals and performances which the directors then use to determine what needs to be improved; projectors and a telestrator in the band center then allowed these videos to be played back for the band while the directors pointed out things that needed to be fixed. Now the band is moving to embrace tablet computers. The band normally spends more than $20,000 each year on printing and copying music and drill charts for each band member but in a new program the band is testing, those would all be replaced with iPads loaned to each band member for the season . In addition to getting rid of the need for paper music and charts, the iPads allow band members to watch animations from the drill writing program that show how each formation is supposed to go from one to the other and even watch video of practices. All of this will allow the band to better visualize the drill that they are learning and means that the band can do even more complex and exciting formations. While the band has secured a grant to pay for all the iPads, they have only given them out to squad leaders this year as they work out the bugs in the program.