Listen out for music and images from The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Toy Story and many more.

The Ohio State University Marching Band performs at Ohio State American Football games and other events during the fall semester (similar to our Autumn term). Here they are performing a Disney medley. It is one of the few all-brass and percussion bands in the USA, perhaps the largest of its type in the world. It was founded in 1878 and now has 228 members consisting of 192 pre-game marchers, 195 half-time marchers and 36 alternate members (who challenge the marchers for their spot every match).

As you can imagine, competition for places is tough and standards are very high. Once the band is picked and until the school term starts, the band practices three times a day Monday through Friday. Once term starts, the band rehearses every weekday afternoon. Many shows must be learned in as little as four days, with all music and drill (formations) committed to memory!

Marching bands make use of instruments specifically designed for marching. The sousaphone is a good example of this. It is a brass instrument in the same family as the tuba, and was created around 1893 at the direction of American bandleader John Philip Sousa (after whom the instrument was then named). As you can see below, it has been designed with ease of carrying and direction of sound in mind. Another brass instrument used by the band is the mellophone. This is a 2 or 3 valve instrument with a conical bore like that of the euphonium and flugelhorn. The mellophone is used as the middle-voiced brass instrument in place of French horns.

A mellophone
Sousaphones in use
A sousaphone



Watch from 5 mins 45

Watch some of this video to experience what it’s like to be performing with the Ohio State Marching Band.

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