Online classes and social distancing didn’t stop the Ohio University Marching 110 from making music together. The video “Virtual Marching 110 – Stand Up and Cheer!” features band members playing their parts of the fight song from home. Posted on March 30, 2020, the video has more 25,000 views on the band’s YouTube channel. The video gained prominence after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine featured it at the end of his March 31 press conference, dedicating it to first responders and other essential workers.
This recognition has been a bit of good news for the Marching 110, which had its May trip to Japan canceled due to the coronavirus. The band had also been anticipating a likely trip to the NCAA tournament with the university’s women’s basketball team.
Dr. Richard Suk, director of athletic bands, thought of the idea when he saw the band’s assistant director, Emily Talley, using the Acappella app to create a single-person, multi-part clarinet performance. Because the app allows only a few separate parts, Suk recruited snare drummer and integrated media major Ricky Reinzan to edit and compile the video.
“This was a perfect opportunity to be a part of something significant for us,” Reinzan says. “Being a media major, this helped to build my portfolio.”
Balancing the audio properly to reflect the proper instrumentation was a challenge. Many students who play larger instruments couldn’t submit videos because they didn’t have access to them at home. “I learned the mathematics behind (audio) balancing,” Reinzan says. “I knew people would listen to this on all different formats—phone, laptop, tablet. I just wanted to do everything from a technical aspect with it right.”
When the video was complete, Suk posted the video to the band’s YouTube page for the community to enjoy. However, Suk noticed his phone blowing up with messages from people who had seen it on DeWine’s broadcast. “An Ohio alum sent it to the governor,” Suk says.
Suk says that his favorite part of the coverage has been “reading alumni responses on the university’s Facebook page and how that uplifted their day and was exactly what they needed.”
Many other high school and college bands such as The Ohio State University, Georgia State University, the University of North Florida, and the University of New Hampshire, just to name a few, have also created virtual fight song performances.