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Michael Smith, the Assistant Director of Marching and Athletic Bands at Ohio State University, caused quite a stir around the country when his band performed a tribute to all of the greatest shows on television. Now in his third year, Smith has the OSU band doing the kind of presentations usually associated with HBCU bands which has caused quite a stir among certain HBCU corridors.

Smith met up with Tom and J. Anthony Brown in Columbus, Ohio to talk about OSU’s now-famous tribute to Michael Jackson and who he ranks as the top three HBCU bands in the land.

On OSU’s performance: 

“We’re just trying to bring some pretty music to the people.”

On OSU’s band:

“We have 225 marching members of which a 192 are on the field. The rest of them are alternates.”

On if he thinks HBCU bands are too big:

“Maybe there is such a thing as being too big….”

On His Top Three HBCU Marching Bands:

3. Grambling State University

2. Southern University


How The OSU Band Prepares:

We have a number of arrangers. We have about 7 arrangers that arrange the music exclusively for us. We start in the springtime and pick the shows that we want to do and divide it out among the arrangers. Once they get the music to come to life, with the brass band that we have then we start to do the drills.

Our primary drill writer is Dr. Chris Hoke and he does an amazing job with the visuals. We will put the music and drills together and we rehearse in one week, sometimes we have the luxury of two weeks. We rehearse every day from 4:10 to 6:20. On Friday, we have music check and they have to know everything.

Click the link above to hear the entire interview!

(Photo: OSU)

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5 thoughts on “Michael Smith, OSU’s Assistant Band Director Talks Infamous Half-Time Performance, Ranks Top Three HBCU Bands

  1. His opinion on Hbcu band are irrelevant. He never attended or marched in a hbcu band plus he’s from the North and has no understanding of how we get down. And Tom Joyner need to step his game up. Howard Stern killing him plus his Alma Mater Tuskegee has one of the worst bands as we speak. Osu is doing nothing new. Check Famu. They have been doing pic drills for forever.

    • Right? I went to an all black high school and we were doing that back then. Over….many years ago! Nothing new here. It seems whenever white folks do something, it is always the new thing. Example, full lips, braids, lined l ips and big butts 🙂

  2. Jstate just murdered FAMU marching 10… We kill Grambling and Southern every year. What has he been watching and he needs to return his Sip card. Disrespectful to his Mississippi people legacy.

    • Lanier Avant on said:

      In addition to the truth you just spoke, Mark, do we really have to go to an assistant director at a white university to get a perspective on the greatness of black college bands? This is crazy. As to his list, I have to assume he has not seen nor heard The Hundred in three years. YouTube it. And if he bemoans large bands, as his comments strongly suggest, it’s incredible that his top band is the largest of them all, again, assuming he last saw them when you decipher what they were playing…about three years ago or any time prior to. Yes, The BOOM is the best, but that’s beside the point. When do we get to rate the top three while college bands? I have some ideas and thoughts…

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