by Journalism I student Hannah Benson, ’15
The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band is playing Sept. 14 at UAHS.
Formed in 2005, the band is the only visually impaired band in the world, according to information supplied by the Ohio State School for the Blind. They have been featured on the ESPN website and played at the Tournament of Roses parade in January 2010, in addition to winning the National Citation from the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity.
Other groups to win the award include Ellis Marsalis, the group Chicago, vocal group Chanticleer, and the Cleveland Orchestra.
The event was coordinated by UA band director Mike Manser and Shawn Strohl, a teacher at OSSB.
“There is a student that attends both UA and OSSB and there was some discussion about doing it last year, but we were unable to make it work,” Manser said. “[The UA band members] are really excited about hosting the OSSB band and getting to see them perform.”
Both bands will play during halftime in Upper Arlington’s high-profile Sept. 14 football game against Thomas Worthington. Manser said they will eat dinner together before and sit together in the stands afterwards.
“I would consider this the highlight of the season,” sophomore band member Katelin Highman said. “It is definitely not everyday that you get to meet people who are blind, but still have the determination to march well and come join us.”
Highman said she did not know anyone from the band as of yet, but she was excited to meet them.
Upcoming events for OSSBMB include the Buckeye Invitational at OSU and the Circleville Pumpkin Show parade, both in October.
From the OSSB perspective, band director and creator Carol Agler said excitement was high as well.
“We just had a ‘band weekend’ in which we performed…and got to watch other bands’ halftime shows,” Agler said. “It was awesome having to stay on the field for a long standing ovation at the conclusion of our performance!”