Ohio State band puts great jazz on the gridiron

Ohio State University’s football team may be ranked No 1 in the nation right now; they certainly showed their stuff against Maryland earlier today. But if you didn’t catch the halftime performance of Ohio State’s premier marching band, have a listen. Especially if you’re a jazz lover.

The Ohio State University Marching Band brought back memories of the jazz era during its halftime performance at the Buckeyes’ homecoming game against Maryland, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The traditional show was a tribute to former OSU marching band director Dr Jon Woods, who died recently and loved jazz music.

Musical selections included the following:

  • “Manteca” by Dizzy Gillespie
  • “A Night in Tunisia,” also by Dizzy Gillespie
  • “Oye Como Va,” Tito Puetne’s 1963 masterpiece
  • “Caravan” by Juan Tizol

The show was arranged by retired Ohio State professor of African American music, William T (Ted) McDaniel. The show was designed by Brian Stevens, an Ohio State alumnus. He is director of the Jerome High School Band in Dublin, Ohio, and a music arranger and drill designer for several bands in the Columbus area.

The band’s history has been jazzed more than today’s performance, though. Director Jonathan Waters was fired last year, after a two-month investigation characterized the culture within the band as “an environment conducive to sexual harassment.”

And just a few months ago, in July, the band came under fire for a book of parody songs that was allegedly circulated privately by band members, including a song entitled “Goodbye Kramer,” which contained joking references to furnaces and train cars used for killing prisoners, most of them Jews, in the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The book of songs prompted a statement from the university that the school is “committed to eradicating” such “shocking behavior” from its marching band program, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Sharon Terlep wrote:

The songbook, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, included an introduction that noted “Goodbye Kramer” as a new addition, along with a parody of the fight song of University of Nebraska, then a new member of the Big Ten conference. An introduction to the book said: “Some of these [songs] may be offensive to you. If so, you can either ignore them, or you can suck it up, act like you got a pair and have a good time singing them.”

Ohio State’s band is clearly top-notch. How much hanky-panky, from none to widespread, is justified by that end result? Read the 1989 book The Sterilization of Carrie Buck by J David Smith and K Ray Nelson, and see the C3 Social Studies standards essay entitled “Eugenics Past and Present: Remembering Buck v Bell” for more information.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.