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!