COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Rivalry week at Ohio State University is all about traditions, and one of those comes from the Best Damn Band In The Land: having a sousaphone player dot the “I” when the band forms the script Ohio.
This year, that honor will be done by fifth-year student Avery Voress.
Voress said from the second he wakes up until the very last second of the game, he plans to soak in every moment of this historic game.
“If I could go back in time and look at myself now, I’d be like that’s fake, that can’t be real,” Voress said.
He said when he was a child, he looked at the Ohio State Marching Band as celebrities.
Now, on Saturday, he will be doing one of the biggest honors there is as a member of the band, dotting the “I’ when the band forms the script Ohio.
Forming the script Ohio is nearly a century-old tradition. The sousaphone player who dots the “I” has worked their entire four or five years in the band to earn the honor.
“It’s finally here, after a lifetime of just waiting and working and just realizing that it is actually going to happen in a couple days,” Voress said. “It’s just so exciting.”
Voress said it came down to a “dot off” between him and his classmate; that means they were tied with points and had to perform to see who would win. Then it came down to a vote.
Voress did a practice run alongside head drum major Austin Bowman at the OSU vs. Penn State game in the double script Ohio.
“I expect it to be a lot different this Saturday,” Voress said. “There’s a little bit of panic, like am I going to get there in time and everything, and then about halfway through the strut and the bow, it’s like, ‘Wow, I’ve done it.’”
Bowman said it is going to be a special moment for both him and Voress. This will be Bowman’s last time having the honor of leading the band during the script Ohio as the head drum major.
“Not a lot of people get to experience what we get to experience,” Bowman said. “We’ve gotten the work in before the season, preparing for this, so I know he’s ready and I know I’m ready, so we are just going to go out there and have a blast.”
The band has a few more practices left before the honor of a lifetime. The game kicks off at noon on Saturday with the script Ohio happening on the field before the game.