The Ohio State Marching Band Hits Put-in-Bay

The best damn band in the land is coming to one of our favorite islands.

Hang on, Sloopy. Is that a bellowing tuba on that boat? A drum major squad, sliding trombones and, all told, 228 performers from the Ohio State University will march off the Miller Ferry and land on Put-in-Bay on Sept. 3 for a Labor Day parade and performance. We caught up with marching band director Christopher Hoch to find out more about the show.

Orchestrating Logistics: Unlike hauling your family by ferry to Put-in-Bay, planning an island trip for players and their instruments plus band staff is a completely different score. If you have a mental picture of a boatload of brass and percussion, that’s about right. “We’ll leave instrument cases in storage on the mainland, and weather allowing, we’ll play on the boat as we approach the docks,” Hoch says. Next comes a parade through the main streets before students can enjoy free time for dinner. Don’t be surprised to dine next to a trumpet. 

Tradition and Innovation: The band has built many traditions since launching in 1878, but the most famous, Hoch explains, are the perfectly timed and coordinated ramp entrance established in 1928, Script Ohio in 1936 and the singing of “Hang On Sloopy” in 1965. “Not only do we hold on to our roots, we are innovators in our field. During the last 10 years, we have developed halftime shows that are modern and engage the audience in new ways. That is always at the forefront of our minds.”

Dotting the i: “There is some talk of an abbreviated Script Ohio in front of the Perry monument and we’ll perform an evening concert,” Hoch says. 

Departing Mainland: It has been 10 years since the band visited Put-in-Bay. “Taking the band away from Ohio Stadium is always fun. The students enjoy performing for people who don’t normally get to see us — and they get to see what we are all about.”

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