For decades Ohio State fans have known that no matter how the football team does on the field, the Ohio State University Marching Band always won at halftime. For the first 24 games of the Urban Meyer era, the football team also always did their part and OSU fans couldn’t have been happier. Unfortunately that winning streak came to an end on Saturday night but while Buckeye fans were disappointed with the outcome of the football game, fans couldn’t be disappointed with the pregame and halftime performances from the band.
Saturday was a long day for TBDBITL. After a morning rehearsal at Lucas Oil Stadium along with the Spartan Marching Band, the OSUMB performed at a pair of pep rallies, one put on by the OSU Alumni Society and the other put on by the Big Ten. Following the pep rallies, it was time for a trip back to Lucas Oil Stadium to get ready for pregame.
Both bands performed traditional pregame shows featuring lots of school songs to get their fans fired up for the game, the OSUMB’s pregame of course culminating in a double Script Ohio. Following their individual pregame performances, the two bands joined together on the field for the National Anthem, a classy move that provided a powerful performance that has drawn lots of praise from fans at the game.
Halftime saw the OSUMB reprise their Gettysburg show for the third time this season. Due to having less time at the Big Ten title game, halftime was split between both bands, and the added expense of having to take more people to Indianapolis, the portion of The Battle Hymn of The Republican that had featured the OSU Men’s Glee Club singing was cut from the halftime show. The remaining show was still great and the animated formations and strong playing from the band got great reactions from the crowd and much praise from both fan bases.
The Spartan Marching Band went a little more recent with their selection of a halftime show theme, presenting a salute to ‘Hair Metal’. The SMB is probably my second favorite marching band and their performance on Saturday certainly lived up to their reputation for great performances. The Spartan Marching Band performed a more contemporary style drill featuring lots of abstract shapes; while the number and intricacies of the OSUMB’s animated formations are new, animated formations as a concept are actually rather old school. The SMB did a great job with their show though I would have loved for it to have included a percussion feature to really show off the drum line that MSU is famous for.
While the loss on Saturday cost Ohio State a spot in the BCS title game, they did get a bid to play Clemson in the Orange Bowl. On the positive side this is a BCS bowl game and the matchup against Clemson promises for an entertaining game that will give the Buckeyes a chance to help improve the Big Ten’s reputation as a major conference. On the negative side, especially for fans of the bands, the Orange Bowl is by far the least friendly bowl towards marching bands. Most bowl games work similar to regular season games with a visiting band in that both bands will perform at pregame and halftime, though the halftime shows are normally a bit shorter due to the bowls often choosing to include some other performance as part of halftime as well. Having both bands performing at the bowl game is a major part of the great college atmosphere that fans love and that makes the college game special. Unfortunately, the Orange Bowl doesn’t seem to have such a fondness for the college atmosphere and seems instead to want to promote as much of an NFL atmosphere as possible.
Halftime for the Orange Bowl will not feature performances from either TBDBITL or the Clemson band, rather the entire halftime show will be performed by Dierks Bentley , a country music artist. The marching bands will only get to perform at pregame and even then they are only given four minutes to perform. This isn’t anything new for the Orange Bowl; rather this has been their policy for years. I remember back during the 2003 season when I was in the band, OSU was expected to go to the Orange Bowl and thus we were rehearsing for a very short performance that would essentially feature the fight song and a double Script Ohio; we were thrilled when it was announced that we would be going to the Fiesta Bowl instead as that meant time for proper pregame and halftime performances.
Now sure, I am biased as a former member of TBDBITL but I feel that the marching bands are a critical part of the college game atmosphere and that atmosphere is much more fun than the more corporate, commercial atmosphere at NFL games. I would much rather see the marching bands perform at halftime than any singer. I seem to not be the only one who would rather see the band; TBDBITL’s most viewed video on Youtube is last year’s video game show with over 16 million views, followed closely by this year’s Hollywood Blockbuster show with 14.5 million views. In contrast, Dierks Bentley’s most viewed video on Youtube only has 3.5 million views.
It is unfortunate that due to the Orange Bowl’s policies the OSUMB will not get the chance to fully demonstrate their abilities but at least they will have time at pregame to perform Script Ohio so make sure to get to your seats early as pregame starts about 50 or so minutes before kickoff. It is also nice that the band will get to enjoy a warm weather destination, giving them a nice break from the cold of Columbus, and most importantly they will get a chance to cheer on and support the football team as they seek to close out the season on a high note and earn more national respect. Make sure you check back with us as the game approaches for the full schedule of performances by TBDBITL in Miami and how you can get to see them.