While people can debate about the proper reaction from fans to the football team’s 20 point win in their season opener, what cannot be debated is that the Ohio State Marching Band got the season off to a great start. Coming off an amazing 2012 season that featured several shows that received international attention, expectations for the band were sky high this season and with an a show featuring music from some of our favorite animated movies including Shrek, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and The Incredibles; TBDBITL showed that it is ready to meet and exceed those expectations.
Perhaps the most popular parts of last season’s shows were the animated formations and the band broke out a pair of them in this show: a dancing crab (at 3:15 in the video) and a superhero lifting a car (at 6:47). The tricky part of these animated formations is that you have created a recognizable image and thus everyone in the audience can tell if a mistake is made in forming or moving that image; more abstract formations are safer for a band as the audience cannot tell as easily if the formation is off from the design.
The band also created an impressive flower-like formation, visible at 1:53 in the video. On first watch it appears that the inner and outer lines of the band are passing through each other but if one focuses on just watching one or two band members, you realize that isn’t actually what is happening. This form is an example of what I tend to call an ‘optical illusion drill’ (there probably is a technical name for it but I don’t know what it is) and the band has employed this type of drill with great effect over the years. The appearance of the lines passing through each other is created by the lines marching toward each other and just as two people would pass by each other, they execute a turn-to-the-rear and march back in the direction they came from, causing the appearance that the lines passed through each other. The band does a horn flash on their turns, adding visual flash to the move and allowing them to execute it in tight quarters without hitting other band members. Timing is crucial in a drill like this as people turning at the wrong time would completely break the illusion.
Of course halftime isn’t the only time the band performs during the game and earlier in the day TBDBITL set foot on the field for the first time in the 2013 season with their traditional pregame show featuring a double Script Ohio. Check out the video of pregame from a just slightly above field level which lets you get a closer look at some of the details of the band’s marching.
While the football team got a chance to get some rest on Sunday, the band was back in action, heading north to perform at the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial. The OSUMB played a concert in Port Clinton, Ohio before heading to Put-In-Bay for a parade and a concert. While this led to a busy and exhausting weekend for the band, their hard work and performance at the anniversary of this important battle in US history was greatly enjoyed by those attending the festivities, as can be seen below.
This coming weekend’s game will be a big one for the band as it is the 45th annual TBDBITL Alumni Reunion where the current band will be joined on the field by over 600 alumni. Sure, the alumni are a little slower, their turns not as crisp, their leg lift not as high, their playing not as clear but anyone who has ever been to an alumni band game will have to agree that there is something special about watching hundreds of alumni marching down the ramp to do it “one more time”, many of them in their 60s and 70s, or older. As always during alumni weekend, the halftime show will culminate with the alumni band and the current band joining together for a quadruple Script Ohio, always a great photo opportunity. For the third year in a row, the quad script will feature four full size Script Ohio’s (before then it was two full size ones by the alumni on the sidelines while the current band did the smaller double scripts in the endzones) with the alumni band forming three of the scripts while the current band forms the fourth, with Phil McIntosh getting the honor as the i-dotter for the current band.