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Behind the scenes of halftime magic

September 30, 2014

It takes ingenuity and hard work to pull off halftime shows that go viral before the last seconds tick off at a Buckeye football game. In the videos below, see how The Ohio State University Marching Band brought the Wizard of Oz, The Rolling Stones and many more to Ohio Stadium this season.

In a 1930 game against Navy, the Ohio State marching band wowed the world with the very first “floating formation” – an anchor that moved downfield as musicians performed Anchors AweighFans in the stadium weren't the only ones moved by the display; band historians say The New York Times wrote an article about the splashy halftime performance.

“The Best Damn Band in the Land,” has a long track record of trying new things. Recently, stunning halftime performances have gained the band recognition beyond Buckeye Nation and throughout the rest of the world.

This season alone, band members have made Bart Simpson skateboard across Ohio Stadium, honored the legacy of D-Day and, as seen below, celebrated the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz with an animated Scarecrow, Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy.

But there is much more to appreciate about the 225 Buckeyes who comprise the all-brass band. Keep these facts in mind the next time you watch their performances:

  • They’re more than musicians: 83 percent of band members majoring in something at Ohio State other than music. These student-musicians study everything from English to engineering to mathematics to nursing. Their average GPA is 3.5.
  • They practice – a lot: Students in the band dedicate a cumulative 365,000 hours to practice in a year.  
  • They are good citizens, too: In 2013-14 alone, band members performed 5,000 hours of community service.
  • Just like the football team, they have a big fan base: Skull Sessions started in 1957 and were originally closed to the public – which is hard to fathom when you see 10,000 people squeeze into St. John Arena on Saturdays to watch the band’s final practice before kickoff.
  • They are helping the band of the future: The Ohio State Marching Band offers a summer clinic for high schoolers and out-of-town students who want to improve their musicianship and marching skills. Also, a current band member has developed an app to help them learn the marching, school songs and more to help aspiring band members get a leg up at auditions.

Watch all of the shows

Here's a look at the halftime magic The Ohio State Marching Band has put on display for fans during the 2014 season.

Oct. 18: Tribute to Classic Rock

Sept. 27: The 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

Sept. 13: The Legacy of D-Day

Sept. 6: Celebrating TV Land