COLUMBUS (WCMH)–Home. Tired. Experience. These are the words that can summarize what happened to a marching band from Central Ohio. The Ohio State School for the Blind’s marching band students got back to school just after 2 p.m. on January 2.
The group performed at the Outback Bowl’s parade and halftime show on New Year’s Day. As soon as the football game ended, the band loaded up the buses and headed north.
Garrett Brammer is a senior on the band. He talked about the experience the way you would hope.
“That was something we’ve never done before. We’ve marched in front of crowds of maybe 100 or 200 but there were hundreds and thousands of people in that stadium and millions more watching on TV,’ explained Brammer. “It was scary and brought a sense of euphoria while your playing.”
While Brammer is legally blind, he has zero peripheral vision. Yes, he was able to see all the people in the stadium and everyone in front of him.
“That kind of made it easier because I couldn’t see anyone to my side and I was like,’Okay I can’t watch anyone see if I’m messing up this will be fun,” Brammer joked. “It makes it easier because then I’m just focused on what’s in front of me.”
Senior Kayla Garland joined the marching band three years ago.
“When we were playing in the parade they [the crowd] were so loud we couldn’t even hear ourselves playing,” Garland said with a chuckle in her voice while smiling. “Being able to perform in the Outback Bowl and the parade is an opportunity I won’t be able to get again.
The band’s story has been broadcast on news outlets throughout the country, posted on social media around the world, and the group was broadcast live with 1,500 other students during the half-time show. The band director Yolanda Johnson said the marching band did not only represent the Ohio State School for the Blind but all people with visual impairments because of the platform they were given.
“It was Inspirational because it’s just not going to affect them, it’s going to affect seeing impaired kids all of the world giving them opportunities that they may not have had before,” said Johnson.
“This is a chance to prove to anyone else that we can do what normal people can do,” said Brammer.
Normal in the sense of people who are not legally blind. “We’re not different than any other marching band. We’re the same. We play the same. We can play up to par with any other marching band. We’re not different. We’re all equal.”
The band formed in 2005 when Carol Agler added the band to support the Ohio School for the Deaf football program. The band has performed at half-time shows, festivals, and has traveled around the country. You can read its resume by clicking here.