Ohio State band does the Hollywood blockbusters

This wonderful video of the Ohio State University marching band performing at halftime of OSU’s game with Penn State was made just last Saturday, but already has over four million views on YouTube. Watch and see why. It’s a tribute to Hollywood’s blockbusters.

Don’t miss the T. rex nomming the bandleader; that parts starts at about 5:59.

The YouTube notes include this:

Coming off of their Michael Jackson Tribute show, students had a week to learn the drill associated with this show and a little over a week to learn the music.

And don’t forget they’re playing their instruments as they make the figures!

h/t: Chris



  1. Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink



  2. Kevin
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Impressive. I love clever marching bands.

  3. gbjames
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Most excellent.

  4. marksolock
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  5. Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Brilliant – and it took them only one week to learn that drill? Impressive!

  6. Kevin F
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I was there! I love how they were playing Penn State, but they sunk Michigan’s ship

  7. Lurker111
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    That’s almost a Genre Killer (see tvtropes). Any other marching band member who sees this will likely hang up their Sousaphone and go home.

    The part where the T. rex _walks_ is fantastic.

  8. Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Very well done, indeed!

    I suspect most aren’t aware but won’t be surprised to learn that there is specialized software for designing these routines — and it’s obviously much more sophisticated today than when I last looked over somebody’s shoulder in the ’90s.

    That they were able to learn the routine so fast means that, first, they’re skilled and well trained; and, second, that they’ve figured out some efficient techniques of how to choreograph this and maintain alignment over such distances. Obviously, the field marks are significant but hardly sufficient. I suspect there must be things like, “Make sure you can see the bell of Sue’s sousaphone but none of George’s trombone.



    • Nick
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Ha! As soon as I saw Superman flying to right the building I thought, “They must use computer software to design these routines.”

      Thanks for validating my ticket.

      • Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        You’re welcome!

        I don’t think the stuff I saw back in the ’90s could do animations; I think it was mostly “graph paper on a computer.” Today, they’re obviously doing sprite animation. I expect we’ll soon see even much more sophisticated stuff, likely even with color and shading and the like (presumably, with the musicians flipping hats or capes or the like).



  9. Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    these kids are just as worthy, or more, of appreciation than the sport players that they support.

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 31, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Yeah, and as the mother of two kids who were in marching band, I wanna tell you the audience is invariably rude when they’re performing, shouting and laughing with each other while standing in front of those (few) of us who obviously want to watch the show.

      When my son was in Michigan State’s marching band, they put in ~14 hours/week practicing. On top of all their non-music college classes, of course.

      • Posted October 31, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        as one of the nerds who was neither in band or sports, I know who the people I wanted to spend time with were.

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          I know, right? 😉

          Bandos are an eclectic group. Funny how music nerds aren’t considered cool till they, I don’t know, become rock stars I guess (among the good ones of which are a lot of erstwhile music nerds).

          • Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            Bill Cosby had a sketch about how children are dain brammaged. I think that explains all the insanity of school as well as any other theory I’ve heard.

            I know there are those who long to relive their high school days, but those were the worst days of my life. Almost every year since then has been progressively better, with this one being the best so far, and next year looking to be even better….


            • Diane G.
              Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              Way to live, Ben!

              Unlike most parents who seemed to be telling their kids HS would be the best years of their lives, I told mine pretty much the opposite.

              Seemed to work out OK; they actually enjoyed it a little more than I did (of course, that only had to be some percentage over 0). Maybe because of the low expectations.

              (Or maybe because they were both in bands; I never was…)

  10. bruce
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    meh. let’s see them do a scene from ‘Deep Throat’!

    • M'thew
      Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      Was that a Hollywood blockbuster like Superman or the Pirates?

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    OMG, that was insane! I am usually not a fan of marching bands, but those movements were unbelievable! Wow.

  12. Notagod
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Too bad a hankydown ticket is required for admittance to the band show.

  13. Scote
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Wow! Absolutely incredible, and way more precise than the last one.

    However, what is up with the drum major? He (she?) just twirls his baton an dances, as if he’s in a completely different show, like a drunk guy walking through a bar fight. I found the drum major’s presence odd and distracting.

  14. RFW
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Fun and games, but the grinch in me asks “What does this spectacle have to do with higher education?”

    • Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Who says that no fun and games are allowed in higher education?

      It it makes you feel better, at least at Arizona State University (and, I strongly suspect, everywhere else), the marching band is a one-credit course that has as busy and rigorous schedule as you can imagine from seeing that performance — generally with rehearsals starting before the semester, even. Often, students who have music education scholarships (which are merit-based) are required to participate in the marching band as a condition of the scholarship. There’s usually only one professor in charge of the band program, with at most a couple graduate assistants. That professor generally also conducts at least one or two other large or medium-sized ensembles, and often has conducting students or classes to teach as well. Pay, as for most other university professors, is comfortable but nothing to get excited over. And there’s not much in the way of budget…uniforms are generally old and beat up, as are the instruments. And many of the musicians use their own instruments, too.

      All in all, marching band is a labor of love as much as anything else. Even implicitly comparing it to the football program is…well off the mark, and mildly insulting.



    • MikeN
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink


      Most common reaction here in Taiwan: “Wow, that’s incredible! Who are these guys?”

      “College students”

      “Uh, when do they study?”

  15. Vaal
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Un. Be. Lievable.

    Thanks for that.


  16. Max
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Very incredible,YES, but to me things like this make it too much about the show and too little about the music. This band didn’t play even one complete song. If the marching band world doesn’t watch out it’ll be like pop music today where the “live” concerts are so much about the show that the performers have to lip sync because they can’t dance that energetically and still sing.

    (Yes, I’m aware that some people very much dislike marching band music and would rather have it be a cool show like this.)

    • Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you have anything to worry about. There’s a great deal of variation from school to school. Some (few) can’t march worth shit but are filled with great musicians; some put all their effort into the marching; some strive for excellence in everything they do; and some are just plain incompetent and don’t give a damn.

      You might appreciate some of the stuff DCI bands do. The ones who win the competitions are generally very impressive musically. Their marching is, of course, precise and well-executed, but I think the winners are generally the ones who play music rather than notes.



      • Max
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Cool, thanks for the info!

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 31, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Yeah, because this is marching band. It’s as much about the drill and putting on a show that fills a stadium as it is about the music.

      The majority of these kids will be in concert band after marching season. Wait for that if you want classic concerts.

      • Max
        Posted October 31, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        They weren’t marching. Anyway, yes, I understand it’s a marching band not a sit-down band. But what does that have to do with playing more than snippets of music? This thing was 95% show and 5% music.

        As for classic concerts, what does that have to do with marching bands? That’s a whole different thing– concert bands, orchestras, symphonies, etc. rarely, if ever, play marching band arrangements. It’s like saying “if you don’t like that Britney Spears lip syncs during her show, go see the New York Philharmonic instead.

        • gbjames
          Posted October 31, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Perhaps it would be helpful to remember that this sort of thing happens in football stadiums not in concert halls.

          • Max
            Posted October 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            Yes, except this is a very new thing. I don’t think it’s too much to wish that a marching band would play songs. There have been marching bands for over a hundred years, and for maybe 90 years at football games. What they’ve done for all that time is march, do some simple formations, and play songs, not snippets and tidbits. I’ve never encountered something like in the above video and was (quite clearly, I thought) saying that I *hope* it doesn’t become the norm.

            I fail to understand why “go see a concert” is given as a response. Marching bands play different music than concert bands. If I wanted to see a concert I’d go to a concert. If I want to see a marching band I watch, well, marching bands. It’s like saying “if you don’t like Britney Spears lip synching, go see the London Symphony.” It’s not the same thing, is it? (I’ve now mentioned Britney more than I ever want to for the rest of my life.)

            • gbjames
              Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

              My advice to you is to stay away from football games if you are expecting a concert.

              • Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink


                Even back in the Reagan administration, when I last marched on a football field, we did medleys of pop tunes and (attempted to) line up in creative patterns. Ohio State’s performance is different only in terms of sophistication — and they’ve exhibited a great deal of sophistication, indeed.

                Max, you may be thinking of parades, which is a different genre entirely. And I’m pretty sure you’ll still find most bands playing longer works…except, of course, that they’re long gone before they get to the end of the work. And they also don’t tend to do anywhere near as much fancy footwork in parades. Some bands will still play Sousa marches in a parade, even.

                But if you don’t like the genre of stadium marching, don’t subject yourself to it! I’m not a fond of thrash punk, but I don’t whine and wish those bands would play Stravinsky instead.

                Really, if it’s something that upsets you enough to speak out against it, then it’s something that you should be doing something about, such as by organizing the type of performance you wish to attend. Or, at least, seeking it out — I’m sure I’ve mentioned that the DCI bands tend to focus more on music than marching. But just telling everybody else that they should enjoy it because you don’t enjoy it is…well…Jerry would refer to it as micturating on his carpet.



              • Diane G.
                Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                Thank you, Ben, saved me the trouble (and did a much better job).

  17. D. Taylor
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Terrific! Loved Harry Potter catching the Golden snitch!

    I’ve spent some good times (and winning times)in a marching band. Thanks for the memories.

    • BigBob
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I picked up on at 5:20.
      What an incredible show of skill.

  18. moarscienceplz
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    What is the double circle a reference to?

    • trou
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Probably “Lord of the Rings”.

  19. dogugotw
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I stopped watching football when the half time show became a jock talkfest.

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