The band’s back together: reminiscing with Marching 110 alums

Nostalgia and excitement swirled together in the air Saturday as Bobcats, old and new, filled the seats of Peden Stadium for the Homecoming game. The weekend’s festivities were in full swing as I spoke with some of the Marching 110’s alumni on the sidelines, where they were confident and excited to be taking the field as they had in the past.

Some were going over their routine one last time, twisting and turning in time, while others chatted with old friends. As they waited, their reminiscing whisked them away to days gone by.

It seemed that every band member had a story to tell, and they did not disappoint. One graduate of the class of 2012, Derek Fulk, said he remembered his freshman Homecoming game where he was able to play together with his older brother, a 2003 graduate, when he returned to the field with the other alumni. Due to the age difference, Fulk hadn’t been able to march in a band with his brother before.

“Marching with my brother was priceless,” said Fulk.

Another woman, Kristi Moore, was proud to say that she met her current husband while marching together. Moore, who graduated in 1999, played the clarinet and her future husband played the snare drum. The long practices and bus rides may have been a factor in their budding romance, but Moore joked that they “probably met at a band party.”

It was clear to see the Marching 110 was still an “exhilarating” part of their lives. Every alum said the same thing — they were and always will be a family. They also laughed about the rigorous practices and how worth it they were.

“The games, the crowds, that’s where they payoff was. That’s what made it worth it,” said Clinton Harris, a graduate of 2000.

Harris went on to say the band made it possible for him to play in amazing places like OSU’s stadium, Toronto, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which he called “the best five miles of cold weather” he’d experienced.

“The band has taken me many places, but I always come back,” said Harris, who has only missed two Homecoming games since graduation.

The alums all agreed that the most noticeable changes to campus were the new buildings that occupied ground previously held by little more than grass. They also said that no matter how much the campus changes physically, the people were still as genial and welcoming as ever.

“There might be new buildings and dorms, but there’s still the same great people,” said Harris.

As the clock ticked down closer to halftime, the alum gathered their gear and prepared to storm the field and show the fans that they still had the 110 spirit. The second quarter ended and the Bobcats had a strong lead of 17-3 against the dreaded Miami Redhawks.

Even though the game had paused, the fans did not. They rose to greet the 110 alums with a wild roar as the graduates stepped onto familiar ground. While they may have moved onto the next chapter in their lives, they still relished the opportunity to perform for their Bobcat family.

“Just because you leave Athens doesn’t mean you stop calling it home,” said Moore.

Hang up the uniforms, the Marching 110 has a free weekend

Like other sports organizations, Ohio University’s Marching 110 gets a small2015-10-02 00.24.14 break every now and then during the season. Even though they can be seen rehearsing every day of the week and often times performing over the weekend, sometimes the members of the 110 are lucky enough to get some free time. This coming weekend is their first free one of the semester, so they have their uniforms hanging up and staying in their bags for this Ohio University extended weekend. What do they do with that free time?

 

  1. Rest: As an organization that practices a few hours a day every single day of the week, those kids need some time to relax. So of course, if they get a weekend that they don’t have to march, they rest.
  2. Study: Sure, that may not be everyone’s idea of what down-time looks like, but with this weekend off and the “reading day” for all OU students, some members of the 110 are indeed cracking open their books. It’s midterm season, and understandably so, it can be difficult to balance schoolwork and marching band. So while some of them might be taking this weekend just to relax, some of them are taking advantage of the time to crack down on some homework.
  3. Watch football: Although this may sound counter-productive, there are indeed 110 members who watch football if they get the time. Usually their Saturdays are filled with watching the Bobcats play, not that watching them isn’t exciting, but then they miss out on a lot of other big-deal college football games. This Saturday, they don’t have to miss out.
  4. Visit home: There are a lot of Bobcats going home for the extended weekend, even some marching Bobcats. This is especially significant for 110 members because they haven’t had a weekend free yet this semester in which they could go home, while other students at OU have. However, this weekend, all Bobcats get the chance to go back to their stomping grounds. Sophomore euphonium player Sarah Strinka said, “I’m spending time with my family and going to the high school football game.” She, like many other 110 marchers, is spending her time this weekend living it up back home.

Even though the Marching 110 won’t be seen out anywhere this weekend, they will be back in action very soon. Next weekend (October 9-11) is homecoming weekend at OU and the Bobcats will face the Redhawks of Miami University that Saturday, October 10, at 2 p.m. at Peden Stadium.

3 competitive sides to OU’s Marching 110

When thinking about college organizations that compete, the marching band isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind, but at OU that’s a little different. The Marching 110 of Ohio University has a long history of performing seemingly unforgettable shows, which makes sense considering they are the “most exciting band in the land.” With the level of talent and attention the 110 gets, competitions in various forms are inevitable. Here are a few glimpses into them.

  1. Between fellow band members: The name Marching 110 is a little deceiving because there actually are 250 members of the band. The “110” comes from how many members are on the field. But in the stands, all 250 members blast their horns and beat their drums. How do they narrow it down to 110? They compete. According to sophomore euphonium player Sarah Strinka, “We have to compete for our spots on the field for each show based on a marching and music score.”  Placing only the best members on the field ensures the band lives up to its reputation.
  2. Marching 110 logoWith other bands: The 110 has a unique style. This puts pressure on them to consistently perform at a high level.  This also presents another way the band competes — the Marching 110 is not the only notable band around. First off there is OSU’s band, and then there are the bands from the other schools in the MAC conference (the conference of OU). For example, at the OU vs. Marshall game a few weeks ago (Saturday, Sept. 12), Marshall’s band came to Athens. There is a little competition there already with two bands playing in the stands, but it escalated when, at halftime, OU and Marshall both performed songs by Bruno Mars. To compete with these other bands, especially Marshall at that game, the 110 sticks to its unique style.
  3. Offseason competing: Marching bands are in action during the fall football season. So what do members do when it’s not marching season? Some join other music groups around campus, some play music on their own, and some join a competitive marching band for the summer. There is something called DCI (Drum Corps International), appropriately called “marching music’s major league.” In a sense, DCI is like a professional marching band. What does this have to do with the 110? There are quite a few members of the 110 who, when they aren’t marching as a Bobcat, are marching professionally over the summer as a member of a DCI group. Drum Corps International is a competition-based league. Corps from around the world travel to a new place almost every week to compete. They do this until they all come together in early August at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN to compete in the DCI World Championships World Class Finals.

The marching 110 may not be the first Bobcat organization that comes to mind when thinking about competition, but they definitely compete. The marching 110 will be in action again at the Jackson Apple Festival in Jackson, Ohio, this Saturday, Sept. 26 and will be back home at Peden Stadium at OU for the homecoming game against the Miami University on Oct. 10.


The marching 110 during halftime of the OU vs. Marshall football game.