The video of Ohio State Marching band’s halftime show during the Nebraska game Saturday has more than 4.3 million hits, but only 72 hours after its on-field tribute to video games went viral, the band is back at its weekly routine.
Jon Waters, OSUMB interim director, attributed the video’s internet fame to the marching band’s desire to always put on a good show.
“Our goal is to create an entertaining show for the audience every time out. This just happened to be a night game with the students all pumped up for it and people were really excited about the game itself,” Waters said. “We happened to be winning the game, which always helps.”
The video has gained more than a million views per day since its original posting Sunday, but Waters said the band still has several shows he expects will wow the crowd on the docket this season.
In the performance, the band took on the shape and played the soundtrack of notable titles from video game history including “Space Invaders,” “PacMan,” “Pokemon” and “Halo.”
The band also brought to life Epona, from “Legend of Zelda” in the form of a giant horse that galloped across the Ohio Stadium field. This was a highlight for some, including the video’s uploader, YouTube user “handmrow gobucks,” who warned viewers not to miss the running horse at the six minute mark.
Each new formation goaded fresh cheers from the record-breaking Ohio Stadium crowd of 106,102 that gave a standing ovation at the end of the nine-minute performance.
A handful of band members sat around OSUMB’s second floor office inside Ohio Stadium Tuesday afternoon. They chatted about their performance and admitted they couldn’t help themselves from checking the view count on the YouTube video of Saturday’s performance.
“I’m sitting in class on my phone just looking at all the updates like ‘What news website are we on now? What front page have we hit?’ It’s amazing.” said Emily Bochenek, a third-year in special education, who plays the Sousaphone in the OSU band.
The video has been on yahoo.com, Deadspin and the front page of Reddit.
“After four years of being in (the) band, the attention the show got was probably the most I’ve ever seen a show get,” said Andrew Boring, a sixth-year in history. “It’s made it everywhere.”
Waters said music director John Brennan has had the idea for a video game halftime show for more than five years.
Chris Hoch, interim assistant director and writer of the drill, said the musical accompaniment to the performance was particularly challenging, but that the students learned it without adding extra practice time to their regular routine.
Hoch gave the talented but still amateur students “kudos” for making the performance look easy when it counted.
“None of our students are on scholarship,” Waters said. “They don’t get maybe some of the perks that the football team does and that is just the nature of what we do. And it’s nice to get recognition for hard work.”
Hoch said he and the staff haven’t been tracking the views, but the students have been keeping them updated.
“We haven’t actually looked too much,” he said. “We get reports from the kids.”
A nine-minute viral video could be considered uncommon by some. YouTube videos that spread at this rate are typically quick bites, easy to enjoy and share quickly. Waters said he is happy to help the marching band receive more exposure.
“I feel a little bit of responsibility for all us bandies,” he said. “We are kind of representing the band world right now and that is great.”
Back in the OSUMB office, sounds of Saturday’s video game medley mixed with the low rumble of a sousaphone player warming up Tuesday evening. The members are getting back to work.
Waters and Hoch hinted at a spoof of the “End of the World” theme for the next performance Oct. 20 and mentioned the possibility of poking more fun at “our colleagues up north.”
The Buckeyes have three more home games, including contests against Purdue, Illinois and Michigan.