It’s 6:30 am. Buses are loaded with shiny, silver tubas, freshly ironed uniforms, and half-asleep band kids. But the anticipation of a great performance is enough to keep 110 members awake and antsy with excitement—at least for a little while during the three-hour drive to Cincinnati.
On Sunday, the Marching 110 will perform at halftime during the Bengals vs Chargers game at Paul Brown Stadium, the day after performing at the Ohio Bobcats vs SE Louisiana Lions home game. Although they have a packed schedule this weekend, 110 members are excited to once again visit the Queen City to get thousands of Bengals fans on their feet during halftime.
Those in the band who call Southwest Ohio their home are especially eager to bring Ohio University’s name and reputation to their very own stomping grounds. As an OU senior, Ryan Andrews, 110 trombone player and dance commander, has always been a tried-and-true Bengals fan, so he’s ready for his fourth and final Bengals game appearance to be a great one.
“The first time I did it, I was kind of star-struck just because I’d always sit down with my family on a Sunday and watch the Bengals game,” says Andrews, who graduated from Turpin High School, located 20 minutes east of Cincinnati. “But for the past four years, we’ve been able to go and actually march on that field in front of thousands of people from my hometown.”
Even though some band members have never visited Cincinnati before, they’re still excited for the chance to perform at a professional football game. Justin Kevan, graduate student and teaching assistant, grew up in Wisconsin, so the Marching 110 and the state of Ohio in general are entirely new experiences for him. Even still, he’s thrilled for his first Bengals game, and might even treat himself to Skyline Chili for the first time while he’s in town.
“I’m really excited for a professional football game and seeing the 110 in that kind of environment,” says Kevan, who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2014 with a degree in music education. “I anticipate the crowd is going to love every second of it, and I expect that we’re going to have a lot of support from anyone we run into.”
This past Saturday, Kevan experienced his first OU football game when Ohio Bobcats took on the Marshall Herd for the “Battle of the Bell” in the first home game of the season.
“Especially as an outsider, I didn’t know what to expect,” says Kevan. “I guess I was trying to soak everything up as far as learning what I can do when I’m in front of the ensemble, and learning the traditions and cultures of being a 110 member or student in the stands.”
But Kevan’s favorite part about conducting and instructing the band is all of the small 110 traditions that separate them from other collegiate marching bands.
“All of the tiny, little traditions, like the vocals during the cadences, are very minute but I think they’re awesome,” says Kevan. “It adds a ton of character to the band. I think every student in here is proud to be a part of the 110, including myself.”
The 110 plans to build on last week’s fun, high energy, and intense Bruno Mars halftime show by working even harder this week to bring an entirely new show and dance to Saturday and Sunday’s crowds.
“It seems that Internet dances to hip hop songs seem to be a really big thing right now, so we’ve really modeled our dance after that,” says Andrews. “I think especially the younger generation is going to recognize it and think it’s really cool.”
Whether they’re dancing to standards like Ain’t Been Good at a post-game show or marching along to modern pop songs across the state, the Marching 110 always strives to bring the pride and reputation of Ohio University with them no matter where they are.
“Allowing everyone to see what we put all of our passion into and show them what we’re made of is a really humbling experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” says Andrews. “We definitely always strive to make it better than the best ever.”
Written by Amanda Weisbrod
*The author of this blog is also a member of the Marching 110.