As the team and fans prepare for the first college football game of the season, The Best Damn Band in the Land is busy learning music and perfecting every formation. On September 3, the 228-piece band will usher in the new season with a few Capital students making the temporary switch from purple to scarlet and grey.
“It’s definitely the biggest crowd I’d ever performed in front of. That first game, it was the first time ever performing in Ohio Stadium with the band, and it was my first time at a game ever. I was born and raised in Columbus, but I’ve never been to one,” said Corbin Russ, music education. “It didn’t really hit me until we turned around and I heard the roar of the crowd. I remember thinking, ‘wow, I’m actually here!’”
Iconic traditions such as the ramp entrance can make the anticipation of marching into the stadium feel surreal for the band members.
“Your first time down the ramp straight into the stadium full of people is a little bit stressful, but it’s also the coolest feeling in the world,” said Olivia Carruthers. A music education major, she is going into her fourth year of marching with her brass trombone and has “loved every second of it.”
Students can tryout for The Ohio State Marching Band (OSUMB) because Capital University is a member of the Higher Education Council of Columbus (HECC). The HECC is an association of eight area colleges and universities located in the greater Columbus metropolitan area. As a service to students at the participating institutions, the Council approved a cross-registration program for undergraduate, full-time students only.
“I started playing trumpet around sixth grade. Through my high school marching band, we went to a competition called the Buckeye Invitational at The Ohio State and you get to play in the Shoe. After I played in that type of environment, I knew I wanted to continue with marching band in college,” said Luke Atkins, biology. “When I was applying for universities, I applied with the intention of being in The Ohio State Marching Band.”
For students planning on pursuing music professionally, marching band can give them skills outside of the classroom that will be used in their careers. Carruthers has found the experience to be extremely rewarding and one she will take with her as she helps shape future musicians.
“Learning how to write drills, teach a band, and all those little things that go into making a marching band a marching band are all the skills that you just have to learn by doing. We have the opportunity to see how our director changes things on the fly from the field, and it’s also really interesting to watch,” said Carruthers. “It will help shape me into a better teacher. My ultimate goal is to be a good director who helps their students have a good time and make music.”
Students interested in OSUMB can participate in summer sessions before tryouts in August. Band members spend at least 10 hours a week rehearsing either with their section, row, or even full band. On top of that, they are expected to spend time outside of rehearsal to practice and prepare for the week.
“I have my community at Capital and I also have my friends at OSU. Going between the two can be difficult at times, especially when you feel like you’re around one more than the other, but as long as you find that happy medium, it’s kind of like the best of both worlds. I feel like I’m living at both universities, which is really fun,” said Ella Wielinski, biology. “I love trumpet and I love science. I wanted to do both, and then I realized I still could get a biology degree and continue to do music for fun.”
To learn more about the music and music education programs offered at Capital, visit https://www.capital.edu/conservatory/ and https://www.capital.edu/academics/conservatory-of-music/music-education/.