While disappointed that the football team’s loss in the Big Ten championship game kept them from making the National Championship game, Buckeye fans were comforted by the fact that the football team got a berth in the Orange Bowl meaning another BCS appearance and a game against a good opponent that gave the football team a chance to earn a lot of national respect. The Orange Bowl also meant a chance for Buckeye fans to escape cold, snowy Ohio and spend a few days in January enjoying warm, sunny Miami while cheering on their beloved team. The Ohio State Marching Band will also get a chance to experience the warmer weather but this is very much a work trip for them and band members won’t have very much time to relax on the beaches or live it up in the clubs and bars.
Bowl trips are always a lot of fun for the band and some of my best memories from my time as a member of TBDBITL were on bowl trips. However a bowl trip is a very different experience for a band member than it is for a fan. While there is normally some free time for band members to enjoy the bowl location, most of the trip is consumed by practices, pep rallies, parades, and other performances before the main event of the game. Following the game the band pretty much always heads straight for the airport for a red eye flight back to Columbus.
While most OSU fans are enjoying the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st, OSUMB members and staff will be reporting to the band center and then heading to Rickenbacker Airport for an 8:00 pm departure for Miami. After arriving in Miami and loading their stuff on the buses, the band will head to their hotel for a midnight check-in. After checking-in it will probably be right to bed for most band members as January 2nd will be a busy day that starts early.
Band members will be up early on January 2nd for a quick 7 am breakfast before they load the buses and head out for a morning full of pep bands. One of the great aspects of most bowl games is their emphasis on giving back to the community in the form of community service projects which involve the participating teams and their fans; the OSUMB will be helping at this year’s Orange Bowl volunteer service project with an 8 am pep band performance to get the volunteers energized for the day. Following that pep band, it is back on the buses for a pep band performances at the annual Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon. After lunch, the band gets back to work with a performance at the annual Buckeye Bash put on by the Ohio State Alumni Association. This year’s Buckeye Bash will be at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park with festivities getting under way at 2:00 pm; the event is free but capacity is limited to 10,000 fans, limited free parking is available to those in Buckeye gear. After the Buckeye Bash the OSUMB gets a break with free time for the rest of the day.
Band members get to sleep in a bit on January 3rd as breakfast isn’t until 8:00 am. After a little free time in the morning and lunch, the band packs up its stuff, loads the buses, and checks out of the hotel. Game day activities start at 2:15 pm with a marching and music rehearsal at Nova High School where the band will run through and polish its Orange Bowl performance. Next up is a performance at the Orange Bowl Fan Zone event located in the Gate G parking lot of Sun Life Stadium; while the event runs from 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm, TBDBITL is expected to perform around 5:45 pm.
Finally it is time for the main event of the trip, the Orange Bowl. Unfortunately the Orange Bowl is not friendly toward marching bands, preferring having professional singers perform at halftime instead of the marching bands even though it takes away from much of the atmosphere that makes college football games so special; this year’s halftime performer will be Dierks Bentley (my first reaction to that announcement was “who?”). Because of this longstanding policy of the Orange Bowl, TBDBITL will only get a short time at pregame to perform on the field. The OSUMB will take the field at approximately 8:01 pm (so make sure to be in your seats early) for a performance that will consist of Buckeye Battlecry, Superman from their famous Hollywood Blockbusters show, and a double Script Ohio. While it is unfortunate that the band will not have enough time to perform a full show, it is nice that they will still get a chance to show off their skill level for tens of thousands of fans, many of whom may have never seen a TBDBITL performance live.
Following the game the band loads the buses and heads to the airport for a 3:30 am flight back to Columbus. After landing it is back to the band center to unload and put away all of the equipment before finally being dismissed at around 9:00 am to end a quick, hectic bowl trip. Even though the trip is so short and has little free time, band members are still thrilled to be making it and are excited to be there to support the football team in their attempt to get a new winning streak started.