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Second marching band director finalist visits campus

The OSU Marching Band.  Credit: Lantern file photo

The OSU Marching Band. Credit: Lantern file photo

The second candidate for the Ohio State Marching Band director position is visiting the campus Monday and Tuesday.

Barry Houser, who serves as the director of the Marching Illini and Athletic Bands at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is set to spend his time on campus participating in “extensive interviews, auditions, and conversations,” according to an email sent to band members from Scott Jones, associate director of university bands. That email was obtained by The Lantern on Monday.

Houser is the second of two finalists being considered for the band director position. The other finalist, Corey Spurlin, associate director of bands, marching band director and associate professor of music at Auburn University, was on campus last Wednesday and Thursday for a similar visit.

OSU originally said it expected the search process for a new director to wrap up by mid-February. Time constraints slowed the selection process last semester, OSU spokesman Chris Davey said in February.

The band’s previous director, Jonathan Waters, was fired after an OSU investigation found the band contained a sexualized culture.


  1. Is the administration looking into the culture of the Illinois and Auburn Marching Bands before making the hire? It would just add to their hyprocracy to hire someone from a program that has the same “sexualized culture”. I have spoke with marching band alumni across several universities and the response I always get is “we did the same types of things”. Perhaps an invitation to the BYU director is in order.

  2. One of the criticisms of Jon Waters’ appointment was that he did not have a doctorate, and so was not tenured but just an “at will” employee (or so OSU claims). So now they bring in a candidate who does not have a doctorate? Seems to me he is just here to make the search look like a real contest, rather than a pre-determined appointment. Either way, I am sure that the administration will do all it can to announce a new Director before Friday’s court hearing, just to put more pressure on the judge. Sickening.

  3. Please stop... Please stop trying to defend us

    Seriously all of you horrible old farts. You’re doing no good heckling on every article, tweet, and facebook post about the band. Get over yourselves. You got caught, we got punished, and that’s that. It’s time to move on.

    I can count on two hands how many of the current band members still value your continued “fight” for our “honor” and Jon. Not only are you making us look like jerks, you’re discrediting the entire alumni association and band. I get that it’s only a few of you who are insane enough to be spewing this vile hatred at every opportunity, but it doesn’t matter because it only takes one of you to ruin it for everyone. Sounds familiar..?

    You have turned yourselves into the bad guys. No amount of paranoid rambling about Glaros, Drake, the BoT, and the stupid “real report” that you guys released will ever undo what happened. Just leave it and move on to something bigger and more positive.

    Please, I’m begging you… Just be supportive of our new director, whoever it may be, and stop spreading so much unnecessary hatred.

  4. Setting the record straight

    Dear Please stop, Regarding Jon being fired for the band having a sexualized culture, as each Lantern article mentions, there are important facts you are choosing to ignore. The defamatory Glaros Report was created by OSU to fire Jon, to slander and libel all the Marching Band students, and as the basis of President Drake’s pact with the DOE/OCR to sacrifice Jon Waters for the purpose of excusing OSU from sexual violations on record, none of which were about the Marching Band. After spending $700,000 on the Montgomery Report, which did not identify a sexualized culture, and which cited the Administration for lack of oversight, President Drake, who requested it, has not acknowledged it, nor apologized for the scandalous label he placed on some of the most dedicated, honorable students at OSU. Jon Waters should not have been fired, and OSU should not be excused for their ineptitude at handling sexual violations on campus.

  5. Dedicated and honorable students

    Do not lecture me on the happenings of last year, old man. Keep up your armchair activism, and keep copy-pasting your buzzword, pro-Jon propaganda. You’re no better than them.

    First, don’t presume that ANYONE but the alumni and a handful of fans give two darns about all of this. The world moved on the first day after the story broke because it’s just a band, and nothing more. We’re not celebrities, or heroes, or the type of person you run 24/7 news stories about. We’re kids doing this for fun, and you’re taking that away because you’re mad that someone called you out.

    Second, you don’t go here anymore. You aren’t in the band anymore. You had your time and that time was great, I’m sure, but just because the band we’re in now isn’t exactly like the one you experienced, doesn’t mean it’s a bad experience.

    It makes me sad to think that this is what awaits me after I graduate. A bunch of middle-aged men and women sitting around gossiping and spending every lick of their free time hashing out plans to take down the university, and stewing over words long since forgotten by everyone else.

    Since no one else will say it, just do us all a favor and stop already.

  6. Words long forgotten?…. I’m not sure what your idea of a long time is but it has been less than a year and in case you have forgotten, you should be reminded with every article you read – “sexualized culture”. I’m glad you were able to be a good student and have moved on as Drake and Davey instructed but I have not.

  7. Dear. . .I-change-my-handle-to-suit-the-conversation,

    First of all, you have no idea who you’re talking to. It could be the student next to you in any class you attend. It could be a fellow row mate or the parent of a fellow row-mate. So I think a little more general respect is in order.

    Second, clearly your YOUTH fails to provide you the perspective required on this one. What band alumni built with our own hard work was been handed to you. You clearly don’t appreciate how precious nor how fragile it is. Clearly you take for granted what makes the Ohio State band great. You don’t seem to understand what sets it apart from other college bands and to that end you don’t realize how close you are to losing it. Most would call that naïve, but I’ll try to keep name-calling to a minimum.

    Third, the Ohio State Administration needs to be held accountable. They made bad decisions. Those bad decision labeled YOU as well as us. So forgive us for rushing to the defense of YOUR honor. We understand the difference between culture and subculture. You being a current student should know that the subculture being used to vilify the band is no different than the subculture that permeates all universities. So for you to be satisfied with such behavior by your administration and to be satisfied with how they’ve treated YOU is appalling. Do you stand for nothing? Well. . .#WeStandWithJonWaters

  8. The Ohio State Administration is making it far to easy for their detractors to make their point. We’ve said all along that they’ve poisoned the waters (no pun intended). This candidate, a non-PhD candidate not only violates what they used as a negative about Jon Waters but just goes to show that they can’t find/attract enough quality PhD candidates.

    I’m conflicted. . .truly. . .between wanting to support a new director but at the same time wanting to support Jon Waters. I want the quality, uniqueness and culture of the band to remain intact; the culture that attracts 200 kids to the marching field twice a week all summer long, the culture that attracts 350-400 kids to band tryouts for 192 spots, the culture that demands that all music be memorized, the culture that pushes innovation, the culture that retains the experience of 4th and 5th year members. People think that stuff happens automatically. It doesn’t.

    We will be handing a new director the keys to a Ferrari and telling him not to get a scratch on it or we’ll fire you like we did the last director. I fear he’ll drive it like my grandma would.

  9. Enough! Please!

    Like the other members of the 2014 band who have commented, I’m really aggravated by the behavior of you alumni. This is not your band anymore. Hell, I’m graduating, so I guess it’s not mine either. And let me just say that dispite the news, ridiculous “training sessions”, and new rules, we still had a good and fun season. You didn’t go through what we did this year. Your constant bitching about what you think is going on is exhausting.
    Your purpose as the alumni club is to support us students in the present situation, not to tear the university apart on our behalf because of what happened. No one is ignoring facts. We’re just tired of y’all throwing hissy fits because the administration won’t yield when we’re the ones living through the change, staying loyal to the organization in a time of turmoil. We just wanted to do band this year, simple as that. Getting a new director is imminent, and we ask that whether they choose Spurlin or Houser, you be supportive and welcome him as the members of the 2015 band will. Don’t pull a VaTech skull session and boo him because of whatever conspiracy you’ve configured. The band will not change. Anyone who takes the position knows there will be an explosion if they do.
    Basically, just do your job as alumni and support the students and help them so their job to simply be TBDBITL, no matter who’s on the ladder.

  10. When I read comments like the two from your contributor with the changing name, I feel sad for this University. We have worked so hard to raise academic standards over the years, and bring in ever-smarter students, and yet here is one who clearly has absolutely no perspective on the world around him/her. You are a member of the best marching band in America for a reason – the decades of hard work and drive for excellence of by TBDBITL members who have gone before you. Their dedication, together with that of generations of Directors and staff, has made this Band what it is, and you are the lucky inheritor of that legacy. But sadly, you aren’t smart enough to see that. All you care about is yourself and your neat little world, and the way in which the administration used the Band to destroy a dedicated man’s career, smear individual students in a way that is a complete violation of University policy, and denigrate generations of TBDBITL alumni whose only crime was contributing hours and hours of their own time (and money) for the love of OSU, means absolutely nothing to you. How very sad. For all our sakes, I hope that OSU students can learn a broader view of the world before they graduate, because this selfish attitude will not serve anyone well outside university.

  11. This is all stupid

    Really, this is all stupid.

  12. Good god, y'all!

    Dear alumni members, please yield to the requests to back off on the WSWJW propaganda. It is long past the point of being a broken record. Everyone gets it. Jon was wrongfully fired. Perpetuating the same speculations and explanations over and over again doesn’t change it. It is in the court now, and nothing can be done about it outside of that.
    It is your job as the Alumni Club to support the students and leadership in the current situation, not to go on a witch-hunt to bring down the administration. Supporting a new director does not mean that you’re turning your back on Jon by any means. You can support them both. All that we in the current band want is to do band. It’s not that we don’t care who’s on the ladder, of course we care. But we’ve accepted that after this long, Jon’s not coming back. He once led the OSUMB, but he is not himself the OSUMB. The band will continue to succeed after him. The next best thing is to chose the next best candidate for the job.
    Please, do your job and support the students by respecting our wishes to back off. If that sounds selfish, then good. We should be allowed to be because no group in this mess has had to deal with the things we have.

    P.S. I am not the same person who has posted under two different aliases. I am just another current band member with the same sentiments.

  13. Disgusted you seem seem to think because that individual doesn’t share your perspective that makes them unintelligent. A fair case could be made that your perspective is myopic and selfish. Maybe that person is just fed up with the constant sycophant behavior from many people who seem to think Waters did no wrong or that the band didn’t have a problem. I see very logical reasons for their conclusions and they have made valid points. I wouldn’t say your point of view doesn’t show some intelligence I would say it has more to do with your emotions then intelligence. You might need to come back here to OSU and broaden your own horizons as you seem to have fallen into a limited perspective. We are doing just fine at The Ohio State University because we are more then just the band. Feel free to criticize this post for spelling, grammar or whatever else you fancy if it makes you feel better about yourself. I am happy to provide the therapy as the rest of us are doing well and we hope you get better soon. I won’t be reading I’ll be involved in one of the many other things Ohio State does.

  14. Dedicated and honorable students

    To any alumni,

    Look me and every other member of this band in the eyes and tell me that every single thing that is listed in the reports didn’t happen. Tell me that the words on the page are lies. Tell me that you never took part in any of that. Your argument isn’t “We didn’t do that!!”, it’s “They worded it in a way that we didn’t like!! You’re undermining our reputations by airing our dirty laundry!” Sure, you and I both have put hundreds of hours, blood, sweat, and tears into this organization, but that’s not our only crime and you know that.

    Seeing comments like yours, ‘Disgusted’, makes it very clear why the administration thought it would be necessary to use a scorched-earth strategy. I’d rather be unintelligent than support the kind of bullying that was rampant even through Jon’s tenure.

    You say I’m doing this for myself. Sure, maybe I am doing this for myself. Maybe I’d like to leave this band knowing that I created a safe, professional, and fun environment for every member of my row. I get pleasure knowing that I’ve changed someone’s life for the better by supporting them through this incredible experience, not treating them like garbage because they’re new. It’s sad that you’re still stuck in the mindset that treating rookies like trash is okay when you’re a full grown adult who’s been out of college for years, even decades.

    The difference between me and you is that I actually went through the meetings. I had MY name smeared. I had MY face, and the organization that I AM a part of on the news stories. You’re out. You’re not a part of the OSUMB anymore, and the worst you had was maybe having a coworker come up and ask your opinion about Jon. So don’t you dare say that I’m not dedicated, because if I weren’t I wouldn’t be returning after the hellish experience that was last years’ marching band season.

    Keep on shouting from the rooftops about bringing Jon back, but anyone with a lick of intelligence will see through your scripted picket-line chants and realize that you’re doing this to salvage your own reputation after someone called you out, not for any of our sake. It’s easy for you to get up in arms about all of this and say that they’re destroying the ‘traditions’ and ruining the legacy of the band, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve gotten information from a bunch of obsessive alumni and news articles. I and the rest of the band lived it. So out of respect for me and every other current band member I am asking you to back off.

  15. Professor Curmudgeon

    The unceasing campaign of vituperation in this space against President Drake, the OSU administration, and anyone who suggests that Jon Waters may not qualify for sainthood, is very, very TIRESOME. The case is sub judice, and the court will eventually decide who is in the right. Nothing you post here will affect that. So, until the court renders a verdict, PLEASE give it a rest. I am wearied by the unremittingly vicious tone of many comments here, some of which are couched in terms that call into question, if not the poster’s intelligence, at least his/her ability to write a coherent sentence (“hyprocracy,” “I have spoke with”). All your posts do is make me wish that OSU had TBDTITLWAB: the best damn team in the land without a band.

  16. As someone that has no affiliation with the band, I find the whole thing despicable. From the way the admins treated Jon and the band to the way the band and alumni responded.

    All of the current and former members of the band should be ashamed of themselves. You all rolled over like cowards, which is exactly what the admins expected. The bureaucrats that run Ohio State are crooks and bullies, there’s no other way to put it. Jon and the band had a chance to pick up the torch and expose these criminals, but instead you all responded as pathetically as you could.

    The sexualized culture of the band was never the problem. The problem is that the band created a culture of cowardly people that follow the pack and can’t think for themselves, let alone defend themselves when attacked by bullies.

    I have a suggestion, grow some balls and stand up for yourselves instead of acting like passive little sheep being led to the slaughter.

  17. Haha, you guys are really going to make whoever is hired feel so welcome. Whoever is hired, I feel sorry for them. Not because of the administration, but because the band’s alumni will never accept him, through no fault of his/her own.

  18. Re: Baggins, If you have had no association with the band, how do you know if a sexualized culture was a problem or not?

    I would like to applaud the current band members that have posted on this thread. You are exhibiting a positive and mature attitude in terms of approach to the hiring situation.

    You are going to make it, and will overcome the vocal minority.

  19. Dedicated and Honorable student, and all these other astroturfers who are suddenly appearing out of the woodwork, just prove to us that the main thesis of the University’s case for firing Waters, that he created the atmosphere in the Band that led to a sexual encounter between two extremely drunk students at an off-campus party, makes sense to anyone. If it does, then every faculty member teaching any class at Ohio State should also be held accountable for any similar incidents that happen between any two students in that class at a weekend party. See – stupid nonsense, isn’t it? But that is what you are so misguidedly defending, and the dishonesty of that will not go away because OSU and you all say so. The University may well influence the judge to dismiss this case – that actually would be the worst outcome for OSU, since it will leave the outrage of the injustice with no resolution save the smug gloating of the uninformed and the administration. Everyone needs to hope for an open re-visiting of this case – the discussion that the administration rejected as an option from day one.

  20. Hey students speaking poorly to the alumni…our behavior didn’t get our director fired. It’s now about maintaining TBDBITL traditions and excellence. It’s concerning that you don’t recognize that. It’s also sad that the SoM didn’t trust the selection committee process and had to step in with their own candidates—that’s what has fanned the flames again.

  21. The alumni’s refusal to acknowledge their own behavior, or at the least the behavior that was present others throughout the last 30 years will distance themselves further from the university, and it will be their own doing.

  22. Good god, y'all!

    No one is saying that Jon wasn’t wrongfully fired nor defending the university. He did not create a harmful atmosphere by any means, and he was indeed trying to fix things. In terms of the sexual encounter between the two drunk students, he did what he had to do. I’m just saying that we need to be realistic at this point. What happens is out of our hands.
    It’s taken them this long to just decide whether or not to dismiss Jon’s case. If that decision is in Jon’s favor (from the sound of things, it seems to be going that way), it will carry on for a lot longer. The band cannot afford to wait for that to be over to return to stable leadership. Sure, I’d like to have Jon back. But logically, we just can’t. I wish the “scandal” had never happened. Hell, I wish I could kick the guy in that sexual encounter hard in the nuts. What has been done cannot be undone. Rather than continue to be belligerent, I just want to wish the new director, whoever he is, a nice bon voyage and give him the support he needs, and I want to see Jon get a hefty settlement with an apology. That’s the best result we can hope for at this point.
    Yeah, it stinks to high heaven, but that’s just the way it is.

    Note: I speak for myself and my views, not the band as a whole.

  23. I’ve watched the University of Michigan’s football program hire and fire and hire and fire and hire football coaches (leadership) in an attempt to recapture their relevance in college football. Those coaches didn’t fail because alumni didn’t support them. They didn’t fail because good players didn’t commit to play football there. They have struggled because the coaches they’ve hired haven’t been a good fit and/or weren’t capable enough.

    So if we sit back, relax, let the process work itself out, trust the administration (that’s already failed us) and support the new guy, do you really believe the odds are good that things will work out well? How likely is it that this band will continue in-stride as it has for the last 100-ish years?

    As I said. . .you students don’t seem to appreciate how fragile what you have is. The nuances that make the OSUMB great are just that. . .nuances. . .but if not maintained, they could be lost FOREVER. The leadership in place now. . .while a patch-work group, haven’t changed too much. A new, untenured director who fears for his job will feel like he needs to make more changes than are necessary. Maybe they’ll work. Maybe they won’t. Just don’t seem shocked when we alumni care and take a huge interest in who they’re selecting and why.

  24. Dedicated and honorable students

    Classof2000, how do you think we feel when we have alumni, the people who are supposed to understand and support us, constantly saying “This band will fail without Jon” or “This band is going to fail because of the new administration”? If you get a force fed that kind of rhetoric every day for over a year, how do you think the students are going to react? If you keep this up, it won’t matter who the university hires, we’re going to go into this year with the mindset that we’re going to fail.

    The “nuances” will not change, and they are by definition not nuances. If they were as fragile as you say, then they would not have stood the test of time to begin with.

    You have failed this band by abandoning those you’re supposed to support to launch a crusade against the people who hold the future of this organization in their hands. You and the alumni organization are irrelevant in this decision and in the future of the OSUMB, and your blind hatred for these director candidates, who WILL be leading this band by next season, will be the downfall of you and any sort of respect the members of the OSUMB once had for you.

    If you’re so worried about our entire oganization burning to the ground, then accept that there will be a new director without an OSU diploma on his wall, and work with him, not against him, to help him understand what it is he’s getting himself in to, just as we will. Who knows, maybe this will even alleviate any misplaced fears of him adding a color guard. (More dates to the band dance? Bring on the flags!)

  25. Quit your whining

    FYI there isn’t any sexualized cultures at either schools. My inside sources tell me (I have band friends in each respective bands and am in another big ten band). Also respect you all for keeping a positive mind about this whole search and situation.

  26. Quit your Whining,

    Whew, I am releaved to hear this!

    Thanks for your research on the culture at Illinois and Auburn. It seems that your sample size of “a few friends” seems to fit with THE o$u practice of “talk to a couple people and misrepresent their quotes” so I’m sure that this “sexualized culture” is strictly a OSUMB thing.

  27. Curious,
    Well…. If I said I was actually a member of one of the bands, would you really believe me?
    Cause that is actually true, and I can guarantee no sexualized culture has been at the respective institutions bands. The culture here at my respective school is hard working and diligent at being the best, and I can assure you that we are.
    I hope that you will find the right fit for your band!

  28. Guy who is in a band

    Looks like you guys will get Spurlin! Awesome guy!

  29. Marching band guru

    Looks like you guys are in for a treat! Here is Houser article:


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