Ohio State University athletic band
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|The Ohio State University Athletic Band|
|School||The Ohio State University|
|Assistant director||Dr. Chris Hoch|
|Fight song||Across the Field, Buckeye Battle Cry|
|Uniform||Black pants and red polo shirt. Black socks and shoes. Black baseball cap for Spring Athletic Band.|
The Ohio State University Athletic Band is a non-auditioned group for any OSU student with prior instrumental experience. Though some students in the OSU Marching Band also play in both. Each Athletic Band features full contemporary concert band instrumentation, including woodwinds. It performs throughout the year at various athletic and goodwill functions across campus. The members of an OSU Athletic Band can also get course credits from their band participation .
Military training was an important part of the early curriculum at Ohio State, and a band was formed to provide music for the cadets to drill to. The first appearance of the OSU marching band was in 1896. Gustav Bruder, a professional musician with military band experience, was hired to lead the band. Under Bruder, the band grew in size and began playing and marching for all military and athletic events. As well, in 1934, Bruder removed all woodwind instruments from the marching band (flutes, clarinets, saxophones, etc.) The only exception to this was during World War II. From 1943-1945, woodwinds, strings, and choir members, as well as both men and women (because Title IX was not yet in effect, the band maintained an all male composition), young (i.e. high school and middle school students) and old (i.e. band alumni from decades past) donned uniforms to fill the ranks of the band, all in support of the college aged troops fighting abroad. Because of the removal of woodwinds, many marches that were used by the ROTC department for parades and ceremonies either had to be rewritten or performed by a band with woodwind instruments. The ROTC department still had control over the marching band, and decided that a separate band, for military ceremonies only, would not detract from the traditions of the marching band. Many members performed in both, since all members of the OSUMB had to be members of ROTC. The OSU Military Band was led by commissioned military officers and had its own drum major. The repertoire of the Military Band consisted mainly of traditional marches.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the OSU Marching Band severed its ties as an ROTC cadet program. This allowed the general membership of The Ohio State University to try out and become members of the band. At the same time, the Military Band was having difficulty keeping numbers, since the Marching Band no longer had compulsory ROTC service. As such, the ROTC commanders decided to give control of the OSU Military Band to the directing staff of the OSU Marching Band. Both bands were kept separate from the 1950s on, even though their directing staff were essentially the same. During the 1970s, largely due to the Vietnam War, ROTC became highly unpopular. As such, there were significantly fewer needs for a band at military functions. At the same time, the Marching Band was becoming taxed with various off-season performances, which were then shifted to the Military Band. The Military Band wore a military-style uniform, based on the Marching Band's uniform, and performed at the Spring Football Scrimmage. The band was open to all instruments, which allowed woodwind players to perform a pre-game and halftime show on the field in Ohio Stadium.
In the Autumn Quarter of 1996, Dr. Jon Woods, then director of both the Marching and Military Bands, along with the OSU Athletic Department, decided to try a new, experimental band program. This band would perform at women's volleyball games during the autumn and then perform at the early season men's basketball games. The Military Band then took over these performances in the winter and spring after the Marching Band's season was over. The first Volleyball Band at OSU premiered with 14 students, one of whom was the conductor. The popularity of a non-audition Autumn Quarter band took off, and soon after, the Military Band was re-branded as the Spring Athletic Band, and the Volleyball Band became the Fall and Winter Athletic Band. Shortly thereafter, in the early 2000s (decade), the differentiation between the fall and winter bands, and the spring band, was dropped, helping to create what is known as the "Total Band Program." The directing staff of the Marching Band also conducts the Athletic Band at all rehearsals and games. Only in the event of a conflicting event, such as an away trip with the Marching Band or the Homecoming performance of the Athletic Band at Skull Session, will a visiting director be asked to step in and conduct.
The school fight songs—"Buckeye Battle Cry" and "Fight the Team Across the Field"—were first performed in the early 20th century. Other traditional songs performed by the band are the 1960s pop hit "Hang on Sloopy" and the famous "We Don't Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan", which was popularized by James Thurber in the Broadway production of The Male Animal. Several other popular charts include Al Jarreau's "Boogie Down," the Michael Stanley Band's "My Town," Royal Crown Revue's "Hey, Pachuco!" Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," and recent hits such as Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," and Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby."
Every September, the Marching Band holds tryouts. Roughly 400 or more people try out for the Marching Band's 225 positions. As such, a significant number of musicians are cut. The directing staff offers all those cut the opportunity to return to the band room the following Wednesday to play through various school songs and popular music pieces. Many students who have committed to moving in early, as well as Columbus-local students, return for these pre-school year rehearsals. Marching Band candidates make up a significant proportion of the entire Athletic Band membership. Many students who do not make the Marching Band their first or second year improve their marching and musicianship via the Athletic Band and subsequently make the Marching Band.
The Athletic Band is a non-audition band, meaning any student with previous music experience is allowed to join. In sections such as the Trumpets and Trombones, part placement hearings are held. These do not deny a person the ability to perform, however, it will denote which part they play for that quarter, such as Trumpet 1, 2, or 3, or Trombone 1, 2, or 3. These hearings consist of scales, range exercises, and reading the School Songs.
The band consists of the following instrumentation:
- E♭ Cornets
- B♭ Trumpets
- B♭ Flugelhorns
- F Mellophones
- B♭ Trombones
- B♭ Bass Trombones
- B♭ Baritones
- B♭ Sousaphones
- C Piccolos
- C Flutes
- B♭ Clarinets
- E♭ Alto Saxophones
- B♭ Tenor Saxophones
- E♭ Baritone Saxophones
- Snare Drums
- Tenor Drums
- Bass Drums
- Drum Set
On occasion, other instruments may show up playing on parts in their natural range. Such oddities have included C Oboes, B♭ Bassoons, E♭ Alto horns, C trumpets, B♭ Tromboniums, as well as G Soprano and Contrabass Bugles. For Spring Athletic Band, the band is broken down into a block band for the field performances at the Spring Football Scrimmage and Lacrosse games. The instrumentation of the Spring Band is not modified to fit the block, rather the block is modified to accommodate the number of musicians. The formula for the Marching Band's block is: 16 x 12 = 192. Typically the Spring Band is significantly larger than this, by often 100 or more. The ratio of "16:12" is kept as cleanly as possible, however it is not always effective. Each row of the block band is kept at an even number, often in the neighborhood of 16-20 depending on the enrollment. If there are more instruments than will fit in the 16-20 person file, additional members of that section will be added to neighboring rows. It is not uncommon to see flutes and trumpets marching in the same row, or Sousaphones and cymbals, etc. If the number of musicians is too odd to complete a block, excess band members will be added to end of the block, creating an incomplete row, filled from the center towards the ends.
For purposes of band quality, and because of a limited number of seats at various athletic events, the band is divided as evenly as possible into two larger bands called Scarlet and Gray, which each compose of one half of the band, as well as numerous other bands, labeled A, B, and C (sometimes even D, E, F, etc.), which are all divided as evenly as possible. The smallest bands typically perform at men's basketball games, so the greatest number of tickets can be available for the numerous fans.
Starting in Winter of 2011, at the request of the Athletic Department, a decision was made to limit the size of the Men's Basketball Band at 57. With a total band enrollment of over 300, not completely equal, with significantly more brass than woodwinds, and disproportionate numbers within sections, a decision was made to make men's basketball games audition only. Musical auditions were conducted at the start of the quarter (now semesters) for the full range of instruments, as well as drum set, bass guitar, and electric guitar. All other aspects of the Athletic Band's schedule: M/W Volleyball, Wrestling, Swimming, Lacrosse, M/W Soccer, W Basketball, and M/W Hockey, will remain non-audition and open to the general enrollment of the university.
The Athletic Band is unique in that there is no limit to the number of quarters one may spend in the program. The Marching Band, like OSU's Varsity Sports program, only allows for 5 years maximum within the program, unless there are extenuating circumstances. A student may petition for a sixth year, but unless a year could not be completed for reasons beyond their control: i.e. death in the family, military service, etc. it is rare and next to impossible to be granted a sixth year. Since there is no maximum number of years one may spend in the program, many students through the years have accumulated 20+ quarters of seniority in the program (the average four year college student would spend 12 quarters in the program). Because of the nature of the program, it is also open to PSEOP students (high school juniors and seniors taking college courses on campus), graduate and doctorate level students, the Office of Continuing Education's Senior Program (persons 60+ years of age who qualify for free non-credit courses at OSU), as well as OSU Faculty and Staff. There are several OSU Staff members who regularly perform with the band with 25+ quarters of seniority.
The purpose of seniority within the Athletic Band is to select members for tournament trips. NCAA rules set the limit of musicians at all tournament games at 29. This does not include one director, which makes the number an even 30. For Men's Basketball, the band is selected from the 57 members of the Men's Basketball Band based upon seniority and instrumentation. All of the instruments are represented except bass guitar, electric guitar, crash cymbals, and tenor drums. Jon Waters conducts the Men's Basketball tournament band. Out of the rest of the Athletic band, those with the highest seniority per section are invited to play for the women's basketball tournament, directed by Dr. Chris Hoch. Those who do not make that are invited to perform for the men's hockey tournament, directed by one of the graduate assistants. Seniority also assists in picking section leaders, primarily for Spring Band, when the Athletic Band performs a full pre-game and halftime show. Often one member of Athletic Band will be the "head" squad leader and a member with less seniority, but performs with both the Marching and Athletic Bands, will be "assistant" squad leader, helping mainly with marching.
Student Staff 
As well as the 200-300 marching and playing members of the band, there are 14 additional student staff members who do not march. The Student Staff is responsible for the day to day happenings on the student level of the band. There are three Heads of Staff who are in charge of three separate areas. The Head Secretary oversees the secretary’s office, the Head Manager oversees the Staff Managers, and the Head Treasurer oversees the money made off of purchases of CDs and other collectibles. The 14 member Student Staff breaks down as follows:
- Head Treasurer and record fund manager
- Head Secretary, two assistant secretaries and one librarian/secretary
- Head Manager oversees the two uniform managers, one seamstress, two instrument managers, and two A/V technicians.
All Staff members wear the Athletic Band uniform and work throughout the entire school year in the band offices. The Student Staff is in charge of holding the ladders for the directors for stability during field performances. Extra staff members not holding ladders stand along the sidelines spaced evenly to scan the field for wayward hats, mouthpieces, or tuning slides that may fall off during a performance.
Script On "insert location here" 
Script Ohio was first performed by The Ohio State University Marching Band on October 24, 1936 at the Ohio State versus University of Pittsburgh football game. According to The Ohio State University Library, a similar floating formation was first performed during the 1932 season by the University of Michigan Marching band; however, it was a set-piece, instead of being formed through marching described below.
The Script Ohio is the most identifiable trademark associated The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands. It was devised by band director Eugene J. Weigel, who based the looped "Ohio" script design on the marquee sign of the Loew's Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus.
In the early 2000s (decade), the Athletic Band directing staff, as well as the Athletic Department, realized the wild popularity of the Script Ohio. Having been performed at professional football games, a World Series game, and on the deck of the USS Enterprise, the Athletic Dept wanted to bring this longstanding tradition to new audiences, and asked the Band Staff if it would be possible to create a Script Ohio on an ice rink. The directing staff decided to try it, and an instant hit was created. Members of the Athletic Band don ice cleats strapped on to their shoes and march on the ice between 1st and 2nd period of men's hockey games, typically a Friday night OSU vs. Michigan or Michigan State hockey game. Because of the dangers of marching on ice, the Script on Ice was highly modified from the Marching Band's counterpart. A typical Script on Ice program occurs as follows:
A block band marches in through the Zamboni/Visitor's tunnel onto the ice, marching to the Marching Band's "Ramp" Cadence at roughly 160 beats per minute (as opposed to the Marching Band's strict 180 bpm). The drum major blows the whistle and the band turns and faces the side of the rink they are closest to. Facing forward, those on the left three rows face the home stands, and those one the right three rows face the visitor stands. From this position, the band plays "Buckeye Battle Cry." Once finished, a "roll-off" is given by a single snare drum, and the band plays "Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse." The block band marks time, and every 32 counts of music starts the formation of a letter in the script "Ohio." The band members, at the given point in the music, simply march from the block band into the shape of the letter, without any significant frills, allowing for inexperienced marchers to gain enough confidence to march on the ice. At the approprite time, a "senior" Sousaphone player, who has marched from the Sousaphone section of the block band in the area of the "O" to the flute/clarinet section of the "o" is led to the top of the "i" by the drum major. Because of safety concerns with marching on ice, typically there is no strut or bowing, though various Sousaphone players have done a combination of both. To the surprise of a purist of the original Script Ohio, the dotting of the "i" in a Script on Ice is still wildly popular amongst the crowds in attendance. The seniority system for Athletic Band Sousaphone players is significantly more relaxed than that of the Marching Band. The seniority system is passed down each year through the membership of the section. Oftentimes the "i" dotter may only be a second or third year in the program. This is because a fourth or fifth year member has already dotted the "i." The "ice dot," as it is commonly referred to, is an honor that is bestowed upon all Athletic Band Sousaphone players, should they choose to accept it. Some Athletic Band members also perform in the Marching Band, and do not wish to take an opportunity away from someone who is not in the Marching Band to dot the "ice."
After the performance of "Script on Ice," the band stands in place and performs the last 40 seconds of "Hang On, Sloopy!" after which the "Sanchez" Cadence is played and the band forms back up into a block and parades off of the ice.
As the title of this section suggests, the Athletic Band does not stop at performing Script Ohio at hockey games. Script Ohio's were performed at many other events, including in the bottom of the unfilled, Olympic size swimming pool at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion prior to opening. In 2007, Athletics asked if the band would be willing to perform a Script Ohio on the Basketball court at the OSU vs. Wisconsin men's basketball game. Because of the limitations of the court, not as many students could participate, but it was wildly popular to the fans, and has been a yearly tradition every since, preferably at the OSU vs. Michigan game.
St. John Pep Rally 
Before the Spring Football Scrimmage, the Athletic Band performs a concert of their pre-game and halftime music on the grassy knoll outside of St. John Arena. This pep rally is not only designed to pump up fans of Ohio State Athletics, it also functions as a last-minute music rehearsal for the Athletic Band, much in the same fashion that the Skull Session operates for football games and the Marching Band. In 2008, Athletics started adding a Men's Lacrosse game before the Spring Scrimmage as a chance to break an NCAA attendance record. While there are not too many opportunities for a band to perform during a lacrosse game, the directors decided to split the band in half. Half of the band would perform a Pep Rally during the first half of the lacrosse game, and the other half during the second half of the game. Because of the decision to add a lacrosse game directly before the Spring Scrimmage, it was decided to add a pre-game and halftime show to the lacrosse game as well. The first lacrosse game played at Ohio Stadium to include a pre-game and halftime show was in 2008 when OSU hosted the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Spring Scrimmage 
The Spring Scrimmage, known around Columbus as the Spring Football Game, has been an Ohio State tradition for many years. This pits the football team against itself as a type of public practice, which also gets fans pumped up for the upcoming football season. Since the days of the Military Band, there has been a band to perform a halftime show for the fans. Every year, students studying Marching Band Technique at OSU are given the chance to help write the drill for the pre-game and halftime shows performed by the Athletic Band. Students are often given the chance to arrange music for the halftime show as well. Since 2008, the Athletic Band has performed their pre-game and halftime shows twice: one time each for the lacrosse game, and one time each for the football scrimmage immediately following. Both the pre-game and halftime shows require full music memorization, which is checked by section leaders and directing staff. Drill charts for the Athletic Band often are extensively modified on-the-fly since instrumentation numbers are not set. One Spring may have 250 people, and the following year may have 350. Often the drill is simpler than that of the Marching Band, allowing for the fact the rehearsal schedule of the Athletic Band is much more limited. Musical selections have included Latin, Broadway, Heavy Metal, Big Band, and etc. The Spring Band's show music is as varied as the Marching Band's.
ROTC Pass-in-Review and Mirror Lake Concert 
In keeping with the long standing traditions of the Military Band from which the Athletic Band stems, every May the Athletic Band forms up on the Oval and provides ceremonial and marching music for the ROTC Program's annual Pass-in-Review. This ceremony is done so that a highly decorated military official can review the troops. In ROTC's case, it is an opportunity for family and friends to see cadets and midshipmen publicly congratulated and rewarded for a year of hard mental and physical work. Each year the reviewing officer is also the keynote speaker, and is always a flag officer (O-7 or higher). The Athletic Band's ceremonial functions include the performance of several bugle calls, including "Adjutant's Call," as well as "Ruffles and Flourishes" for the presentation of the flag officer, as well as "The Star Spangled Banner" when the colors are presented to commence the program. The marching music performed often includes "National Emblem" during the color guard's marches for presentation and placement of the colors, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" to close the ceremony, and a march for the pass-in-review itself. In past years both a medley of armed forces songs has been played, as well as "Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse." While typically associated with the Marching Band and Script Ohio, this march is the national military march of France, and has been used in the United States at graduation ceremonies for several military colleges, including West Point. Typically, upon the closing of the Pass-in-Review Ceremony, the ROTC department provides refreshments for the Athletic Band, who then proceed over to the Mirror Lake Amphitheater for the second performance of the day - the Mirror Lake Concert. This concert highlights the OSU School Songs, as well as the most popular tunes of the year for the Athletic Band. Many bystanders watching the Pass-in-Review follow the Athletic Band to the Mirror Lake Concert, making for a very diverse crowd.
Cedar Point and Spring Trips 
Each year, the Athletic Band is the featured guest of Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. The Athletic Band performs the opening ceremonies for the first day of the regular season at the amusement park. They are then invited to enjoy the park for a few hours before another mid-day performance, and then the remainder of the afternoon for fun and entertainment. In past years, the band has performed at Cleveland Indians games, the West Virginia Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon, WV, the Indianapolis 500 Parade, and the Kentucky Derby Parade. These performances are typically in the spring, when the Marching Band is no longer rehearsing, leaving the Athletic Band as the trusted guardians of the University's goodwill and good spirit in Ohio and neighboring states.
The uniforms of the Athletic Band have varied extensively throughout its history. The Athletic Band, and prior Military Band, essentially wore the same uniform as the Marching Band, up until the 1980s. The Military Band wore the following alterations on their uniforms:
- Hat: Dark blue peaked visor cap, same as the marching band, but instead of wearing an "Eagle Ohio" emblem, a simpler device with the letters "ROTC" surrounded by a wreath was worn. No plume was worn in the hat.
- Jacket: Dark blue four buttoned jacket with scalloped breast pockets and lower flap pockets. On the shoulders were patches, one which contained a buckeye leaf and read "The Ohio State University Buckeyes." The other was a patch of the Ohio State University seal. This jacket was the same as worn by the Marching Band. A white shirt and black tie were also worn, just like the Marching Band. However, the Military/Athletic Bands wore a red shoulder cord on the left shoulder and a white belt with silver buckle was worn around the waist. These were worn in lieu of crossbelts. Gloves were not worn with this uniform.
- Pants: Same as the marching band - dark blue trousers.
- Shoes: Same as the marching band - black patent leather shoes. No spats were worn however. The requirement for military style shoes was also relaxed to any solid black shoe. Boots (i.e. Western or work styles) were not allowed.
Once the Athletic Band was conceived from the Military Band, it was decided that military style uniforms were too formal for sporting events. Eventually various combinations of polos, t-shirts, jackets, and pants were played with. Several notable combinations included a gray t-shirt with the Ohio State athletic logo with "Athletic Band" printed below it, which was worn with khaki pants; a zippered windbreaker in black, white, and red, with a small athletic logo on the left breast and a large one on the back, worn with black pants; and the current short sleeve red polo with the OSU Athletic Band's official logo, also worn with black pants. Rumors abound every year that the Athletic Department is planning on new uniforms for the band to keep up with other Big Ten schools. Many students however are reluctant to change, finding the polo simple and tasteful as a uniform. During the Spring, a black baseball cap with the Athletic Band logo is worn both as a homage to the military roots of the band (i.e. headgear to be worn while in uniform while outdoors) and for practical reasons of shielding eyes from the sun during outdoor performances.
Drum Major Uniforms 
The Drum Major’s uniform was based in the traditions of other military bands and as such was also based on the basic military uniform worn by the rest of the band. The drum major uniform contained:
- Hat: The same hat as the rest of the Military Band. No plume.
- Jacket: The jacket worn is of identical style as the regular band uniform, and therefore requires the wearing of dress shirt and tie. The only differences are the sleeve cuffs, which are gray and have a white trefoil and red block O similar to the Marching Band drum major’s cuffs, and two extra buttons under the shoulder straps which are used to attach the drum major cord. This cord is worn across the chest from the shoulders and has two cords (one hangs slightly lower) which are created of red and gray braided strands and has a red and gray tassel hanging from one side.
- Waist belt: The assistant drum major wears a simple waist belt instead of the cross belts.
- Trousers: The assistant drum major wears the same pants as the rest of the band.
There are no spats or gloves worn with this uniform and the shoes are of the same military style.
Today, the drum major wears a white polo shirt and black pants, as opposed to the red polo worn by the musicians in the Athletic Band. No headgear is worn by the drum major during performances.
Director Uniforms 
The directing staff has worn uniforms of differing style to the Marching and Military Bands since their inception. The uniforms took on a style similar to the U.S. Navy’s double-breasted dress jacket in the 1940s and 1950s, except manufactured from the same blue material as the band uniforms. Directing staff had two thin golden stripes running around the circumference of the cuff area of the sleeves, similar to the U.S. Navy’s ranking system stripes. Directing staff also wore two lapel pins which were matching lyre-shaped insignia. These were gold along with all of the buttons on the uniforms. The directors wore the same hat as the marching band minus the plume.
The uniform eventually changed to have a sleeve ranking structure under Dr. Paul Droste. His uniform had three stripes denoting him as director, and the assistant director, Dr. Jon Woods, had two stripes. Dr. Droste also was the first to use a military style hat with the “scrambled eggs” visor (which are just acorns and leaves).
After the image change of the Athletic Band, director uniforms have become more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. With the exception of Spring Band, directing staff typically wear an Ohio State polo of some type, and dress pants. On occasion, directors may show up to an event in shirt, tie, and blazer, but this is typically because of time contraints between classes/lectures/meetings and a performance. During the Spring, directing staff wear white polo shirts with the OSU Athletic Band logo and black pants. No headgear is worn by the directors during performances.
The OSU Athletic Band uses all types of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Some school-owned models are listed below:
- E♭ Cornets (Yamaha Xeno, Getzen Eterna)
- B♭ Trumpets (Yamaha Xeno, Getzen Capri)
- B♭ Flugelhorns (Yamaha, Getzen Capri)
- F Mellophones (King, Getzen)
- B♭ Tenor Trombones (King large bore, Conn small bore)
- Bass Trombones (Conn 110H)
- Baritones (King 625)
- Sousaphones (Conn 20K)
- Snare drums (Pearl)
- Cymbals (Sabian)
- Tenor drums (Pearl Quints)
- Bass Drums (Pearl)
Woodwind instruments are not provided by the Athletic Band, since the facilities house the Marching Band, which is all-brass. However, an agreement with the OSU School of Music allows for limited loan of woodwind instruments from their instrument office. These instruments are also shared with those who perform in OSU's Concert Bands who may not own their own instrument, as well as by music education students who are learning secondary instruments as part of their required curriculum. To date there have not been very many cases where a woodwind player did not supply their own instrument.