Ohio State Marching Band's Classical Finale This Weekend

Nov 16, 2017

Video games, Michael Jackson, TV Land, Back to the Futuresuperheroes.

Performing with The Ohio State University Marching Band over the past several years has come with a feeling of chasing ghosts.

How will we stack up to the instant classics of recent seasons? Which show will be the next viral YouTube sensation? What new innovation will have people asking, "How'd they pull that off?" 

It's just part of life in The Best Damn Band in the Land.

But ask any TBDBITL member what performances define their band career, and they'll likely point to the traditional routines fielded week after week, the Ramp Entrance and Script Ohio:

And it's no wonder — these are the formations that float through the imaginations of band students across the state of Ohio who dream of one day donning the crossbelts and marching in front of 109,000 Buckeyes in The Horseshoe.

Participating as a steward of these traditions so tightly woven into fabric of Ohio State history and culture is an experience unlike any other. (I'm one of 51 B-flat trumpet players in the band.)

It's fitting, then, that the band will close our 2017 home season with what will be our most traditional halftime show of the year, the "Classical Finale." TBDBITL performs its annual Hometown Concert at Mershon Auditorium at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.

Charted by Andrew Markworth, who made his debut on TBDBITL's arranging staff in 2016 with "Buckeyes on Broadway," and percussion by band instructor Mark Reynolds, the show features what may be the most ambitious, technically demanding music the band will have performed in a number of years.

It certainly seems that way as I write this post in a secluded corner of the Steinbrenner Band Center with only two days left to perfect and memorize my share of the show, anyway. Gulp.

Selections include adaptations of:

  • Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4
  • Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9
  • A medley of Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies 5 and 9
  • Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5

Each piece offers an opportunity for the band to show off a different element of our marching style.

The stately, imposing fanfare of the opener has marchers striding downfield in a full chair-step, knees reaching 90 degrees with toes pointed, before going double-time into a number of complex box rotations with fiery brass runs.

The more lyrical Dvorak is illustrated by curvilinear formations spanning nearly the length of the field, as the band explores the highs and lows of the 195-piece, all-brass and percussion ensemble's dynamic range.

Cross-through marching, animated pictures and a number other classic TBDBITL hallmarks all make appearances in a showstopping bookend to another year of Buckeyes football in Columbus.

The Ohio State University Marching Band performs on campus at Mershon Auditorium for its annual Hometown Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19. The Best Damn Band in the Land will entertain fans with selections from its popular halftime shows, fan favorites and traditional Ohio State tunes.