While the outcome of the Orange Bowl was a disappointment for Ohio State fans, Buckeyes everywhere should still be proud of the season the team had and what Urban Meyer is building in Columbus. Fortunately there was one aspect of the Orange Bowl that OSU fans weren’t disappointed in and that was the performance of the Ohio State University Marching Band.
TBDBITL flew out of Columbus on the night of January 1st, arriving in Miami around midnight and heading to their hotel. January 2nd featured a pair of pep bands in the morning followed by a performance for the annual Buckeye Bash pep rally put on by the Ohio State Alumni Association where the band, cheerleaders, and Brutus helped to fire up a large crowd of the scarlet and grey faithful who had made the trip to Miami.
The afternoon of January 3rd saw the band have its final rehearsal before the bowl game at a local high school. While it was only a rehearsal, the band still attracted a crowd of alumni and fans who enjoyed a chance to watch and listen to the band, even if it was only practice.
Following rehearsal, the band boarded the buses for the trip to the stadium. Prior to the game, TBDBITL performed at the Orange Bowl Fan Zone along with Brutus and the cheerleaders.
Finally it was game time, unfortunately due to the Orange Bowl’s policy of always having professional acts perform at halftime shows, the OSUMB and the Clemson band were only given 6 minutes to perform at pregame. The OSUMB took to the field with Superman from their Hollywood Blockbusters show which took the internet by storm earlier this year. The crowd erupted into cheers when the band played their first note and those cheers only got louder as Superman flew up to save the building. The short time limit meant that the band couldn’t do the rest of the movie show, instead launching into Fight The Team while forming the script block and delighting the crowd with a double Script Ohio.
Unfortunately that pregame performance was the last fans would see of the bands on the field during the game as the Orange Bowl preferred to have country singer Dierks Bentley perform at halftime instead of embracing an actual college football atmosphere by having the bands perform. Now sure, I am a bit biased when it comes to the band but the fact that the OSUMB has far more Youtube views than Bentley and received a much better crowd reaction suggests I am far from the only one who would have preferred for TBDBITL to perform at halftime.
Two stories that came out of the Orange Bowl provide further evidence toward the popularity that the band enjoys. The first came before the band arrived in Miami, while the band flew down to Miami; the instruments were loaded on a truck that was driven down by Paul Walsh, a TBDBITL alumnus who continues to work with the band. The truck had stopped to refuel in Northern Florida when a truck driver noticed the OSU decal on the door, which made no mention of the band. The driver asked if Paul was with the OSU marching band and when he said yes, the driver asked what they were doing in Florida. Paul told him that the Buckeyes were in the Orange Bowl which earned this response from the truck driver “Oh man! I have seen you guys on Youtube! You are great! I am going to have to get a ticket and go to the game to see you!” How many schools have a band that is so good that it causes non-fans to think of the band before the football team and be willing to buy a ticket to a bowl game just to see the band?
The other story occurred while the band was waiting in the area near the tunnel to go into the stadium prior to their pregame performance. As OSU fans headed into the stadium, they saw the band and many of them stopped to take photos with the band. For at least 90 minutes there was always at least a dozen Buckeyes waiting in line to get their photo taken with members of the band and at times that number got much higher; the Clemson band did not receive such attention from their fans. When I was in the band I would occasionally get asked to take a picture with a fan or sign an autograph but have never seen or heard of a college band who received this kind of attention from their fans. I think this speaks highly of what the OSUMB has done the past two years and how loved they are by OSU fans.
After last season’s amazing set of shows by the band, many Buckeyes wondered how the band could possibly follow such a great season and many of us probably worried about a bit of a letdown. The band quickly put any such worries to rest and put together a season that was at least as good, if not better than the previous year, raising their international fame to a new level and showing everyone that they are truly deserving of the name TBDBITL. I’m sure that OSU fans everywhere are just as excited as I am to see what the band breaks out next year and I have faith that they will somehow raise the bar yet again.