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Founders Day Exhibit


The creation of the Ohio University Marching Band began with a young OU freshman from Athens, Homer Thomas Baird, who always loved music and had helped organize the first Athens high school band. After matriculating at OHIO, Homer went to then Ohio University president Elmer B. Bryan more than once to champion his idea of an Ohio University marching band. Bryan finally consented under the condition that the band not cost the university any money and that he gets the approval of the director of the School of Music.

Homer’s fraternity brother was the editor of the Green and White, OU’s campus newspaper. He offered free publicity to help recruit musicians for the fledgling endeavor. Homer Baird went to recent grad Raymond Connett, whose musical skill as a bandleader was widely known. He agreed to direct the band without a salary. The director of the School of Music, Dr. C.C. Robinson, gave his blessings and approved of Connett’s leadership. Although he could not offer a formal position to Connett he was able to provide a small salary of $10. per rehearsal.

Below is an image of the Ohio University Band on the steps of Ewing Hall in the early 1920s. For more images like this go the Ohio University Libraries Digital Archival Collections.

Ohio University Marching band standing on steps of Ewing Hall in the early 1920s.


  • 1926: Marked the first appearance of the marching band in the Homecoming Parade
  • 1928: Courses in Military Band were offered for credit hours
  • 1929: Ohio University Bulletin, The University Band of seventy members has the responsibility of the music at athletic contests. They have established themselves as an organization of distinct merit under the leadership of the University Bandmaster. They give annual home concerts and take occasional trips both with the athletic teams, and with concert programs. Admission is by competitive trials.
  • 1930: Band size increases to 90; “Ensemble Conducting” is found in the course catalog: A four-year course, leading to a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education (with a major in Instrumental Supervision)
  • 1931: Band size increases to 115; Alpha Delta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi was granted its charter
  • 1935: New uniforms; the long jackets and cape were replaced with a military-style jacket, complete with white piping, whiter cross belt, and military cap.
  • 1941-1945: The war years; many men were drafted into active duty, and just as many volunteered. America’s involvement in the war meant hardship for university campuses. Instrument manufacturers, for example were forced to stop production so that metal and other resources could be used in the war effort.
  • 1943: The last football game at Ohio University during the war years was played. The loss of football at OHIO signaled the end of the marching band. Concert band presented its first concert with women as members. The band consisted of 78 members; 40 members were women.
  • 1945: Football was reinstated at Ohio University and the marching band returned to the gridiron as well. Women, who had helped save the band from decimation during the war years, remained in the ranks of the marching band.
  • 1949: First album, “The Songs of Ohio University,” was produced. The first copy was signed by each member of the band and given to Homer Baird.
  • 1950: All Girls Marching Band originated. Although the all-girls band performed at special athletic events and sometimes pre-game, they were never considered removed from the Marching Band. After their pre-game performance they would integrate with the men and complete the game as a combined band. New uniforms were introduced consisting of a short white jacket modeled after the Eisenhower jacket of WWII, green slacks for men and green skirts for women. Men wore white shoes and women wore white calf length “majorette style” boots. Both men and women wore short shako hats.
  • 1951: “Varsity Show” was started under Charles Minelli. Minelli was a strong proponent of musicals and Ohio University established the Varsity Show and it was considered a function of the band department. Minelli also started Band Day in the same year.
  • 1956: First African American Drum Major and an Athens High school grad auditioned as a freshman and started as the assistant drum major. He became president of his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and in 1959 became the first African American class president at Ohio University.
  • 1961: New uniforms; President Baker informed the band they would be getting new uniforms of a green blazer gray slacks and black ties. Baker felt this uniform style would give the band an “Ivy League” appearance.
  • 1967: Marching Men of Ohio; All-Male Band, New uniforms, New sound, New marching style. Drum Major David Fowler a music education major started performing many modern dance moves to the drum feature at the first game in Fall of 1967. Thrailkill and Fowler then simplified his moves and taught the rest of the band. The band dancing in unison was very popular and the Ohio crowd wanted a dance routine in every show from that point forward.
  • 1968:
    • First National appearance in a Cincinnati Bengals game and at the Tangerine Bowl. Since this first appearance in an NFL game the Marching Band has appeared in numerous games averaging once a season since.
    • The marching band added a maestro fanfare to the fight song Stand Up and Cheer and a new introduction to the Alma Mater courtesy of arranger John Higgins, a sophomore in the University of Michigan Marching Band.
    • William “Buddy” Svarda, who specialized in contemporary marching band arrangements, was also utilized by the marching band for many songs still used today. At this time the band also encouraged student arrangers from within the band to customize songs to perform.
  • 1975: Marching Band becomes coed again; becomes the Marching 110
  • 1976: Ohio University Marching Band became the first marching band in history to perform in Carnegie Hall
  • 1987: 200th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution Parade, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1993: Presidential Inaugural Parade for William Jefferson Clinton
  • 2000, 2005, 2017: Performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, NY
  • 2010: Marched in the 121st Tournament of Rose’s Parade, Pasadena, CA
  • 2013: Performed in Dublin, Ireland, St. Peter’s Square, Russia, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
  • 2016: Marching 110 traveled to Normandy, & Paris, France

The name Marching 110 originally referred to the number of band members. While the band has expanded to 220 members strong, it has kept the name, which now represents the 110% effort expected of all members during rehearsals and performances.

If you take 110% effort plus the free-flowing funk in their souls the result is .... The Most Exciting Band in the Land!

Directors of Ohio University Marching Bands

  • Raymond Connett, 1923-1925
  • John Hollingsworth Gill, 1926-1928
  • Curtis William Janssen, 1929-1945
  • Daniel Martino, 1946-1947
  • Charles Everett Gilbert, 1948-1950          
  • Charles Minelli, 1951-1966
  • Thomas Lee, 1971-1972
  • Ronald P. Socciarelli, 1973-1989
  • Sylvester Young, 1990-1995
  • Richard Suk, 1996-present