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New drum major will lead TBDBITL
The Lantern
By Chris Pollock
May 19, 1999

Media Credit: File Photo Matt Bally (not shown)

The Ohio State Marching Band, often referred to as “TBDBITL,” short for “The Best Damn Band In The Land” as Woody Hayes affectionately named it, has a new drum major.

Sophomore Matt Bally, a business major, was selected for the honor after auditions Tuesday. Bally beat out the former drum major Scott Sommer, who held the position for only one year.

The drum major is the most visible member of the band. He or she leads the band up the ramp onto the field and is the lead marcher when they form the famous script Ohio.

Ordinarily, once a drum major is selected, they retain the position for two years, even though tryouts are held yearly. Oddly enough, the man Bally beat out for the position was his former roommate.

Sommer, a junior musical education major, was philosophical about his defeat.

“ On any given day, anyone can twirl better or do better,” Sommer said. “He beat me, but he twirled better than I did, so he deserved to win.”

Bally’s success did not come easily. He said that he practiced 15-20 hours a week to prepare.
“ I put in a lot of work here in the last few weeks,” he said. “I just performed well. Everything came together.”

The audition for the position was uncomplicated, but physically demanding. All applicants had to demonstrate a ramp entrance, do a staff twirling routine to music, and throw the staff into the air five times with a unique catch.

“ I did a back-handspring, but I dropped [the staff],” Bally said.

Sommer intends to compete for the spot again next year.

“ Everybody tries out every year,” Sommer said. “It keeps the person who has it from slacking off.”
Bally is prepared for the challenge, but it will be a friendly rivalry.

“ I’m sure he’ll be around,” Bally said. “He’s still my best friend. We’ve trained together since the tenth grade.”