06:19 AM

London Calling: Ohio State Marching Band to make international NFL appearance

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Marching Band will lift off next fall for a trip to London, taking its groundbreaking field performances abroad for the first time.

The marching band will perform a pregame show on Sunday, Oct. 25, at the NFL matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium. It is the second of three games scheduled in London this fall as part of the NFL International Series.

Ohio State’s marching band routinely performs at Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns games and has received invitations to international sporting events in the past, but this is the first time the scheduling stars aligned to make travel abroad for the band possible, said Interim Director Christopher Hoch.

“We’re fortunate to have an international reputation thanks to shows that have gone viral on video or received widespread media attention,” Hoch said. “It will be a real thrill to have a chance to perform for the people of London.

“The NFL has requested a London-themed show, but left the creative elements up to us. We are planning a very special and exciting performance.”

The performance is a first for the NFL International Series, as well.

“We are very excited to be bringing the Ohio State University to Wembley and can’t wait to see what they have in store for our fans,” said NFLUK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood. “This will be very different to anything we have done at the International Series games before and we know that the band is planning something spectacular to celebrate and commemorate being in the UK.”

Hoch was named interim director of the band in May. He has been pivotal in shaping the band’s global reputation for innovation as the lead designer of complex animated marching formations. Just one example: Hoch designed and orchestrated the 2012 Tribute to the Classic Video Games, which became the band’s first show to top 15 million hits on YouTube.

“We couldn’t be the world-class band that we’ve become without the tremendous dedication of our student musicians. They work incredibly hard preparing and performing each season, and I’m really pleased that they are being rewarded with this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hoch said.

The use of technology to enhance rehearsals and performances is one of many marching band innovations developed at Ohio State, and learning drills on iPads solidified its status as not just The Best Damn Band in the Land, but also the highest-tech band in the land. Other innovations include floating formations, measured-step marching and script writing – which originated with the incomparable Script Ohio formation.

Everyone in the band is ecstatic and thrilled about the opportunity to travel to London, said head drum major Nathan MacMaster, a graduate student from Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

“Our shows have been seen online around the world, but to actually perform in person on such a global stage will be the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “I can't wait for this amazing opportunity to represent The Ohio State University."

Ohio State’s marching band is one of a few collegiate all brass and percussion bands in the United States, and with 225 members, is commonly acknowledged as the largest of its type in the world.

The NFL will cover all of the band’s travel costs for the London trip.