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The Ohio State University Marching Band

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The Ohio State University Marching Band is one of the few all-brass and percussion bands in the country, perhaps the largest of its type in the world. However, Ohio State’s band had humble beginnings. The first instrumental musical organization on campus was a 12-piece fife and drum corps organized in 1878. A 16-piece band performed for the commencement of 1879.

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. In 1920, by combining the Marching Band with the Varsity Band, a 100-piece band marched under the leadership of Edwin “Tubby” Essington, the first strutting drum major.

Many marching band innovations were first tried and developed at Ohio State. Among them are: floating and animated formations, measured step marching, script writing, and the fast cadence with a high knee lift. Brass instruments especially designed for marching bands were also first used at Ohio State.

The school fight songs - “Buckeye Battle Cry” and “Across The Field” - were first performed in the early 1900’s. Others such as “Hang On Sloopy” have become modern traditions. “Script Ohio,” the “Trademark of The Ohio State University Marching Band,” is considered by many to be the most memorable tradition in college band history.

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