Written by Mark Griffin
Monday, 22 September 2008 11:06
Ralph Myers can smile about it now.
On one of his first days on the job as the new principal at Woodmore High School, Myers received a phone call in early July about the possibility of the Ohio State University marching band playing at one of the Wildcats’ games this fall.
The call was from Jon Waters, an OSU assistant band director and a Woodmore graduate.
“You know, it’s my first day on my job and I’m afraid of my own shadow,” Myers recalled, laughing. “Jon called saying there was a possibility of an opening and they might be available at halftime of a Woodmore game. “I said, ‘Let me talk to the superintendent (Jane Garling).’ I pretty much knew they were going to say yes, and they did.”
The OSU marching band will perform with the Woodmore and Lakota bands before and during halftime of the Wildcats’ game against the Raiders on Friday, Oct. 17.
Presale tickets will go on sale to the public on Sept. 29 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the high school office. Tickets for the game are $6 for adults and $4 for students.
Presale tickets will be available in the high school office during normal office hours, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. through the rest of the weeks leading up to the game.
Additional seating will be brought in for the event to seat approximately 3,500 people.
The permanent home stands will be designated for reserved seating for this event. Reserved seats will go on sale on Sept. 29.
Mike Libben, president of the OSU Ottawa County Alumni Club, which is raising money for the event, said the club was contacted by Waters in early July about the possibility of the 225-member band playing at a Woodmore game.
“We hosted the band two years ago at Oak Harbor,” Libben said. “Initially they were going to be traveling to Northwestern this year, but something fell through and this was (Waters’) backup. It was a good experience here two years ago and it was an opportunity (for the OSU band) to go to the Michigan State game on Oct. 18. They go to one away game a year.”
Libben, a 1995 Woodmore graduate and former trumpet player in the school band, said the local OSU alumni club is raising money to play for the hotel rooms and to feed the band.
“We don’t actually pay the band, but we provide housing and food,” he said, adding that there were more than 6,000 in attendance when the OSU band performed in Oak Harbor in 2006.
“This year we’re anticipating feeding close to 5,000,” Libben said. “If we paid for everything - food, housing - we have a total budget of around $14,000. Kroger has donated the breakfast and lunch on Saturday for the marching band. We still need about $8,000 to pay for the housing.”
OSU’s marching band is the largest all-brass band in the country.
“It’s just the tradition that Ohio State has,” Libben said. “The marching band has that military style to it and is very precision-oriented. You don’t find a finer marching band in the country.”
The band will be housed at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg.
Myers said the band’s presence in Elmore “is a big morale booster for our community and our school and our band program.”
“It’s just a winning combination for everybody,” the principal said. “We’re proud of what Jon Waters has accomplished and it’s a good welcome back to Woodmore for him, too. It’s going to be special for him to come back to his alma mater.”
Ken Emerine, who has been involved with the Woodmore band for 13 years and has been its director for two years, said the Woodmore and Lakota bands will join the OSU marching band during halftime.
The OSU band will perform a double “Script Ohio” and will perform a full pre-game and halftime show. It will be the same show the band will perform the following day at Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.
Woodmore’s band consists of 57 members, and Emerine said Lakota has more than 30 band members.
“We haven’t ironed out what we’re going to do with the OSU band just yet,” Emerine said. “ I expect we’ll probably only do one, maybe two pieces with them. These kids are going to have a great time. I met Jon Waters when I was first hired here. When I met him, he was in college at Ohio State and he was trying out for band that fall. Now he’s coming back and bringing his band along.”
Emerine said there will be approximately 260 band members on the field during the halftime performance.
“Hold on to your hats,” he said, “because it’s going to be a great show.”
Anyone wishing to donate money to help pay for the OSU marching band’s overnight expenses can contact Libben at 419-351-0320 or the Woodmore High School office at 419-862-2721.