• Drum Major Squad (D-Row) Has Record Tryout

    • By admin
    • August 31, 2010

    The Drum Major training squad, referred to as “D-Row,” had a record 11 candidates tryout for the 2010 Fall season. D-Row members serve as apprentices to the Drum Major in order to train and build a competitive pipeline of future Drum Majors. The competition was stiff, with 6 candidates, all rookies, making the final cut. In addition, Kyle West, returning after training on D-Row last season and competing right in the thick of Drum Major tryouts this past Spring, made the band as a part of the sousaphone section (KL Row). The member of the row are Shawn Wiler-Martin (Streetsboro H.S.), JD Johnson (Gahanna Lincoln H.S.), David Petitt (Portsmouth H.S.), Nate MacMaster (OSU Branch Transfer/Reynoldsburg H.S.), Josh Robinson (Dublin Scioto), and Shayna Half (Bexley H.S.).

    Drum Major Scholarship Chairman and 2001-02 Drum Major Adam Prescott was excited about the strong turnout “We achieved a record number of candidates, have a young Head Drum Major this season, and a very strong pipeline for the future. There is still a great deal of work to do in order to turn talent into performance, but the talent and competition level is where we have been trying to get it for some time. Our year round training program has definitely raised the bar. I expect a VERY competitive tryout for Head and Assistant Drum Major in the Spring. We have a young D-row and some additional experienced candidates that are eligible to tryout for the Head and Assistant positions given their prior training on the squad. This, along with the current Drum Major, Jason Stuckert, and Assistant, Matt Berndsen, should give the tryout a level of depth that we have not seen in recent memory.”

    Following the history making second season of Drum Major Dwight Hudson’s career, D-Row was established in 1979 to provide a training ground for hopeful Drum Majors to refine their skills and to carry on the tradition of innovative and inspiring OSU Drum Majors. In addition to Hudson raising the performance bar to a whole new level, OSU Director, Dr. Paul Droste, is to thank for the foresight to create a training squad.

    Any OSU Band Member with at least one year of experience in the band is eligible to tryout for Head and Assistant Drum Major. However, since D-Row was established, no band member has come out of the instrumental band to become the Drum Major. This is due to the amount of skill and training required to win the Drum Major position today. Prior to the 80’s and the rise in popularity of Drum Corps style bands, it was common to have Drum Majors in a similar style of The OSU Band. This, along with Dwight Hudson bringing an entirely different level of twirling skill, put the band in the position of needing an avenue to build a pool of Drum Major candidates through forming D-row.

    D-row members train at practice as if they are backup Drum Majors to the Head and Assistant. On game days, they fill much needed areas of the band including filling in marching slots when all instrumental alternates are marching and there is an injury or illness, assisting the Directors with props and conducting ladders, and generally helping the Drum Major and Assistant with their various game day duties. In return
    for this work on game day, the candidates get front row seats to observe the Drum Major and band. This experience provides an atmosphere to learn without all of the pressure of being the “Man Up Front.”

    D-Row is a unique element of The OSU Marching Band that allows it to set itself apart.

  • Future is Now: Jason Stuckert named 2010 Drum Major

    • By admin
    • May 16, 2010

    Jason Stuckert, a current Freshman majoring in Marketing, was selected to be the Drum Major of The Best Damn Band In The Land for the 2010 season in a tryout held at the Woody Hayes Center.  “I’m just excited and thrilled.  I’ve been waiting for this my whole life” said Stuckert.  Prior to coming to Ohio State, Stuckert was the Drum Major for three seasons at Avon Lake High School.

    The competition was tough with 6 other competitors vying for the Head and Assistant Drum Major spots. Stuckert pulled off a rare feat by winning the top spot in his very first tryout. “It’s a rare accomplishment to win the top spot in the first attempt, but Jason clearly brought his A-game today” said 2001-2002 OSU Drum Major Adam Prescott. “He will benefit by having an experienced Assistant in Matt Berndsen and the band will respond to him when they see his work ethic, humbleness, and genuine desire to make the band great.” 

    Prescott and 20 other judges evaluated the pre-game ramp entrance, a twirling routine, and a mini routine featuring 5 aerial tosses in order to pick the 2010 “Man up Front.”  The judging panel included over 10 former OSU Drum Majors, the current OSUMB Directing Staff,  and guests from the Ohio marching band community. 

    Matt Berndsen, a Junior from Columbus West High School retained the Assistant Drum Major position he held in 2009 under Josh Halter, the 2008-09 OSU Drum Major and 2009 Most Inspirational Bandperson.

    “This is one of the most competitive tryouts we have had in years” said Director Jon R. Woods following the tryout. 

    Being the Drum Major at Ohio State is a year round position that includes physical training, weight lifting, gymnastic tumbling, and hours of practice to perfect the marching and twirling moves that makes the OSU Drum Major stand alone as a performer.  In addition, the Drum Major makes numerous public appearances and helps in recruiting and training the future Drum Majors at the high school level.  This responsibility is rewarded with a full-tuition scholarship.  “I’m a part of something much larger than me and I am really proud to be a part of Ohio State” said Stuckert.

    The path to becoming the OSU Drum Major starts in high school. Stuckert was inspired to be a Drum Major by Avon Lake High School Alumni Scott (OSU Drum Major 1998) and Eric Sommer in 2004 when Eric was The OSU Drum Major.  “The first time I met Jason he was really driven and ready to learn” said Scott Sommer.

    Lorain County has strong ties to The OSU Drum Major position as Elyria High School started a run in 1996-97 with Cory Thompson becoming OSU Drum Major.  He was followed by Scott Sommer in 1998, then Elyria grads Matt Bally (1999-00) and Adam Prescott (2001-02) held the spot.  The only interruption was 2003 with Columbus Centennial grad Kathryn Mitchell winning the spot as only the second female Drum Major in the bands history.  Eric Sommer won the spot for 2004 before Central Ohio took control over the position for the next 5 years. 

    “We started a year round, learn from scratch, high school training program when I was the Drum Major” said Prescott.  “Central Ohio high schools were the earliest adopters of the training program and they went on a run of supplying great Drum Majors such as Stewart Kitchen (Kenton) in 2006-07 and Josh Halter (Lakewood) in 2008-09.  We have about 50 high schools across Ohio doing OSU’s style of Drum Majoring now.  Jason was actively involved in our training  program and we look forward to adding some more students in 2010.” 

    Stuckert is looking forward to the first game as Drum Major on Sept. 2nd when the Buckeyes host the Marshall Herd in a Thursday night, nationally televised game.  The game ties the future with the past as the game will also host the TBDBITL Alumni Band who regularly fields over 700 marchers and a dozen Drum Majors.  They will be watching and guiding Stuckert closely.

    “I definitely bleed scarlet and gray” said Stuckert.  “The goal was always for me to go to Ohio State and the biggest influence was the marching band.”

    Photo Credit: The Lantern