Space force

Big Ten Marching Band Veterans Day Suggestions for Saluting the Space Force

The band has become a little more predictable since I last donned a uniform in January 1997. At the time, it was obvious that any show around Halloween was likely going to feature spooky music (although the “Thriller” dancing wasn’t a thing until well after I graduated… kinda weird, because my generation was in elementary school/middle school when the video came out and you would have thought that we had the most attachment). Otherwise, the schedule seemed wide open – you could do any show you wanted.

That changed with 9/11. As a keepsake, we now have Heroes Day celebrations and flag logos on helmet decals. For bands it also usually means some form of patriotic show to go with it, and usually something not too difficult as several bands may be on their second show and still looking to get under their feet (perfect recipe of the day of the group).

Additionally, we have certainly seen an upsurge in recognition of Veterans Day, both on the ground and in daily life. With so many men and women involved in the conflict after 9/11, and the loss of life, injury and mental trauma suffered by our soldiers, it’s not hard to see why the holiday has received more recognition these lately (I wish our Vietnam Vets had more support like this in the 70s, 80s and 90s – they deserved it).

Anyway, for Marching Band, it means if you do a show before or after the holidays, you do “Hail to the Troops” – a collection of “Anchors Away”, “Army Song” (that’s ” Caissons keep rolling long” forever, I don’t care how much people want to make the lyrics heavy), “Wild Blue Yonder”, “Marine’s Hymn” and “Semper Paratus” (Coast Guard). Reviewed the shows yet, but I’ll set the plus/minus to 6.5 once I get to that section.

Yet there is one service missing from this total, which has some of the best materials to work with. I’m talking about the newly formed Space Force, which could go in 1,000 different directions if it wanted to. Some people tried to come up with an anthem, which…uh…I don’t know if it’s the best we can do (it’s pretty dull – all the other service songs are upbeat, rah, rah , let’s go ass).

So groups… let’s get creative. Until Space Force tells us we have to use something else, use this week to give us what you want to do and recognize these men and women who stand up for the defense until the final frontier. While we may be a bit late for last week, we here at OTE are ready and able to help with next year’s performance when it inevitably happens again.


6.5 Performances of “Salute to the Troops” (don’t rush)

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62 voices in total

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What should be the Space Force song

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  • 4%
    Newer Star Trek (Next Generation)

    (4 votes)

  • 3%
    Newest Star Trek (Kelvin Timeline Movies)

    (3 votes)

  • 6%
    Auch Sprach Zarathustra

    (6 votes)

  • 4%
    The (original) Battlestar Gallactica theme

    (4 votes)

  • 6%
    “Mars” by Gustav Holst

    (6 votes)

  • 5%
    “Jupiter” by Gustav Holst

    (5 votes)

  • 22%
    Elton John’s “Rocket Man”

    (22 votes)

  • 11%
    David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”

    (11 votes)

  • 4%
    Other (specify in comments)

    (4 votes)

  • 15%
    None of these answers. We should go back to WWI Armistice Day music

    (15 votes)

100 voices in total

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Half time greetings

Well, what do you know. I got it all wrong this week. Of them. Two “Salutes to the service”. That’s it. I literally skipped last week, because I thought I would show 10 of the same shows. Well, I’m not rewriting the intro.

We’ve had videos on everyone for two weeks except Illini and Maryland.

Win: Michigan State Spartans, Nov. 13, “Songs Across the Pond: Elton John and Friends”

The Spartans give us a variety of British rock tracks from the 70s and 80s, with a good dose of Elton John (“Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting”, “I’m Still Standing”, “Tiny Dancer” and “Don’ t let the Sun Go Down on Me”), Queen (“Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”), and a bit of Led Zeppelin (“Fool in the Rain”) and U2 (“Vertigo “…I know Northern Ireland is the UK, but that seems overkill, thematically).

Why Win? Because they sound absolutely, really fantastic. MSU has no problem with the middle and baritone vocals, and these are great arrangements that showcase the full range of the band. The percussion is great as always (“Fool in the Rain” is one of my favorite drum songs, and the Spartans have retained some of that energy in their show).

Also, it helps that about 80% of those tunes are in my iPod (yes iPod, not iPhone) and some of my favorites.

Why wouldn’t they have won? Drill was a little light. Good for most college bands, but OSU has done more, below. However, I can’t get over that sound…it was too beautiful not to recognize it.

Location: Ohio State Buckeyes, Nov. 13 “Top Gun”

OSU isn’t just giving us the highlights of “Top Gun,” but pretty much the entire soundtrack (which yes, I owned and still own on tape).

Drill is vintage OSU, with big moves, pinwheels, a fantastic “Company Front” (when the whole band lines up in a line across the field), and all the shapes and stick figures we’ve come to love. of this group. Who else is going to stage a beach volleyball game as part of their show? !

So close to a win, but as good as the Buckeyes looked, it just wasn’t as good as MSU. Also, as awesome as this jet form is, you can’t do Top Gun and not do an F-14. It looks more like a cross between an F-16 and a European Tornado.

Show: Rutgers Scarlet Knights, November 6 “Mission Control”

Rutgers probably got extra brownie points just by featuring about 75% of the songs I put in my poll for space-related themes. Specifically, we have “Auch Sprach Zarathustra”, “Star Trek (Kelvin)”, and “Rocket Man”, to name a few.

I think it’s a really good mix of drilling and sound. They’ve been through a good number of sets here – not as many as OSU, but more than most and they sounded good doing it. I thought it was a pretty well executed show and featured a good variety while still staying true to the space theme.

Honorable Mention: Michigan Wolverines, November 6 “Room Where it Happens”

Michigan features the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda, including a healthy dose of tracks from “Hamilton”, but also music from “Moana” and “the Heights”.

This is where the OBE Win, Place, Show system probably breaks down. Michigan looks amazing – clean and very well played, with decent drill, but not really strong. If I’m right, that should probably bring them closer to the MSU show. However, I guess I’m just not a fan of Miranda’s music. I kind of stopped being a Broadway guy before Wicked and haven’t bothered to see Alexander Hamilton yet (despite the rave reviews).

So anyway…a top notch show, played incredibly cleanly, but they made the fatal mistake of not asking me what kind of music I wanted to hear, so that goes down the list.

Honorable Mention: Purdue Boilermakers, November 6, “All About Trains”

Includes “A-Train”, “Night Train” (not the Guns N’ Roses version – that would have been awesome), “Locomotion”, and “Train Train”, among a few Purdue-specific songs.

The Big Band tunes in particular sound great. Drill was OK, but there’s only so many times the All-American Band can run a different train through the field before things repeat themselves. He could also have used more harmonica for “Train Train” (it would have knocked the house down if someone could have repeated the Blackfoot intro). Still, the sound was good, clean and full and it was overall a really good show.

Greetings from the troops

Indiana Hoosiers, November 13

Good “Salute…” which includes the Red Steppers doing their “Living in America” ​​thing (man, we need another James Brown show real soon).

Minnesota Gophers, November 6

Another fun “Salute…” sandwiched between some good performances from “Washington Post March” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”.

Other good halftime shows

Iowa Hawkeyes, November 13 “Olympic Theme”

Not a full show and not the best angle, but footage from Iowa is sparse and I want to be sure to post it when it becomes available. Always fun to listen to the drunken crowd swear in the background (not unique to Iowa by any means).

Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nov. 16 “Brothers in Arms”

Two videos this year! A somewhat unique take on Veterans Day with songs related to “Brother” in the title (although you stretch out with “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”) by Neil Diamond. I liked Band of Brothers on the other hand. It’s not the best angle either, but I’m glad we have a Cornhuskers video.

Northwestern Wildcats, October 30 “Halloween Music

A little dated and I saw this live, but given the lack of Wildcat video, I thought I’d put it on too. Fun show, culminating with the Thriller dance. They did the traditional “March of the Steelman” last week…it was way too early, but I was happy that they recognized the seniors from last year as well.

Penn State Nittany Lions, Nov. 13, “Various TV Shows”

Fun little mix of TV themes, ranging from the Brady Bunch and Golden Girls to The Office and The Mandalorian.

Wisconsin Badgers, Nov. 13 “That’s Not Too Proud”

Various tracks from Supremes and Temptations. It sounded pretty good – the music fits well with Wisconsin.

Did not play, coach’s decision

I didn’t check if Maryland or Illinois was home, though I’m pretty sure Maryland was Nov. 6. Illinois…you’re going to tease me by pulling out the latin show for the game against my ‘Cats, aren’t you?


Hell… maybe there’s not as much love for troops in this conference as I thought. Still, don’t forget the guys and gals operating 50 miles away – they need a song.


After Space Force read this article…