How Did We Get the Title of "Best Damn Band in the Land"
June 24, 2008 - From Pete Quint
Part of being a Buckeye fanatic is buying into all the tradition; Woody, Archie, Ohio Stadium, Campus Chimes, the Oval, High Street, Heinygate, cows being crowned homecoming queen (seriously…look it up). Another tradition that everyone agrees upon is the Ohio State University Marching Band. Few can argue the impact the band plays when it explodes on to the field for the ramp entrance or after the third quarter when they play “Hang on Sloopy”. Win or lose the post game singing of Carmen Ohio never fails to send shivers down my spine and Script Ohio is recognized by just about everyone as one of the greatest traditions in college football. The OSUMB is a unique entity in college football in the fact that the band gets almost as recognizable as the football team.
The OSUMB has its roots in dating back to 1878 and became a more militaristic marching style band of 100 in 1920 under the leadership of the band’s first director Gustav Bruder. Since then it has become one of the most recognized collegiate marching band in the country and the largest all brass and percussion band in the world. The OSUMB has the distinction of being both the most recorded and the most nationally televised marching band in the country. You don’t have to be a band geek to “get” what the marching band means to the football team and the university experience.
The summer has begun and fall football camp has not yet started but the band is already hard at it. Starting every June, members of the OSUMB gather on Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9pm to sharpen their marching and playing skills. These Summer Sessions are open to any veteran or perspective student enrolled at the Ohio State University. They are open to the public and frequently attract small crowds of onlookers who need a reminder that football season is fast approaching.
Summer Sessions lead up to the annual tryouts in August; typically the week leading up to the first game. There are no guaranteed spots in the band so everyone has to tryout. Tryouts are intense and it’s not unusual to have one or two veterans get cut during the week. Three full, grueling days of marching and playing outline the tryout experience and on Wednesday afternoon the band is announced.
Immediately following the introduction of the band and a short speech by director John R. Woods, the newly anointed OSUMB is ushered out for their first rehearsal. The band gets two and a half days to learn charts and memorize all the music for Saturday’s upcoming show. Understand it’s not the same as having to learn an entire playbook and that these folks don’t have to endure getting tackled by 300 pound linemen but they work just as hard as the football team at what they do.
The OSUMB is a special organization that adds so much to the pageantry and traditions of the Ohio State University. So make sure you get to the stadium this fall and catch the band doing their Ramp Entrance. It’s one of the best ways to start off your game day experience.
When asked how the band got its famous nickname “TBDBITL”, Director Dr. Jon Woods claims, "Supposedly at a pep rally one year, Woody Hayes stood up after the band played a song and said, 'That's the best damn band in the land!' That's all it took. When Woody says something, it's law." - Miller, Rusty. "From O-H-I-O to TBDBITL with the OSUMB", Associated Press, 2006-11-15