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OSU marching band tryouts go on despite firing of coach
About 175 show up during practice and tryouts

The OSU Marching band, shown here, held tryouts today.
Courtesy of Sam Howzit
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Two-and-a-half weeks after the Ohio State University Marching Band director was fired, tryouts began for future members. As WOSU’s Mandie Trimble reports, students were all business this morning as they vied for a spot on the elite squad.

LISTEN: Trimble on tryouts

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Preparation began at 9:30 a.m. near the OSU stadium. Prospective band members were intensely focused. Some rehearsed in a parking lot while others practiced on a turf field.

On their own or in small groups, students ran through marching, turns and, of course, playing their instruments.

Despite a nice breeze, T-shirts were drenched with sweat by 10:30 a.m.

Then it was time to practice together as a band. Instruction came from Associate Director Chris Hoch who stood atop an observation tower overlooking the field.

Despite nervousness, the announcement to play “Hang on Sloopy” generated cheers.

Media were not permitted to speak with any band personnel and were discouraged from talking to students. The few students we were able to stop in between practice fields declined to talk to us.

The band has been closely scrutinized in the past two weeks after its director Jon Waters was fired following a 60-day university investigation that officials say uncovered a long-standing “sexualized” culture in the band. Waters, who spoke on WOSU, says he was making changes.

“I’m not here to say the job was done, but the job was in progress. And the band was in a better place because of it,” Waters said.

Waters’ next move is unclear. But the university stands by its decision to terminate him. Officials appointed an interim director a week ago.

Ohio State would not verify how many students registered for tryouts. There were roughly 175 on the practice field.

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