Halter drives TBDBITL down the field

Josh Halter may only be a junior at Fisher, but the economics major is already leading a large, public institution. Most Saturdays during the fall, Halter can be found taking his place in the front of the line of one of Ohio’s most high profile organizations—The Ohio State University Marching Band.

As drum major for the band, Halter is tasked with creating routines that strengthen the performance of the overall band as well as coordination for one of college football’s most recognizable traditions – Script Ohio.

When Halter takes his first step he counts every movement to ensure no band members or instruments are injured during the dangerous crossings that are a part of the band’s signature formation. Halter must set every step size correctly for as many as 192 regular band members that are following behind him.

“If I place the crossover too far up or too far down, that will cause chaos when I loop back around because every step people are crossing over,” he said. “It’s up to me to set that correctly every time.”

Halter’s place at the head of the band was cemented during last spring’s auditions. After taking part in the band’s high school drum major training program for four years, a year in the drum major training squad as an Ohio State freshman and then serving as assistant drum major last year, he is now responsible for creating dazzling routines that complements the band’s musical numbers and visual formations. He usually only has five days to craft the routine for each halftime show.

During the season, Halter practices as many as 15 hours a week to pair the music and the marching drills with his baton tricks that include twirling under his legs or flinging it high above the field. Outside of practice while at home, he mentally goes through his routine and watches video from practice sessions to ensure he is in step with the overall show.

In addition to his performing duties, Halter is much like any other leader. He is part of a team that manages the same high school training program he went through and helps recruit would-be drum majors from the high school ranks.

However, he has found nothing beats the feeling he gets just before each home football game. After all the band members have taken the field, Halter is usually alone in the Ohio Stadium rotunda for approximately 30 seconds. After focusing for a few moments, he charges down the ramp onto the field, runs past his fellow band members and then executes the drum major’s signature back bend before leading the band down the field.

“You can’t help but smile because when you begin training and start the process of being drum major, that’s the feeling you want,” he said. “To go through the band, bend backwards and hear the fight song being played by The Best Damn Band in The Land with all those fans cheering it’s a beautiful sight.”