The band is made up of 45 active members who are from a number of counties in central Ohio.
“It’s a true community band that leans on the professional side,” band director Brian Stevens said. “It’s just a great group of people who love to perform and give concerts.”
The group consists of an “eclectic” collection of professionals. From retired and active music educators to physicians, college professors, among others. The band has won the North American Championship 10 times during its 37 years of existence.
A majority of the crew packed their bags when the 80th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day invited them to play. On Dec. 6, the band played at Pearl Harbor and got chills.
“This is certainly something that has been on my bucket list and I’m glad I was able to do it,” said BBC founding member Dan King. “We’ve all seen the documentaries and movies and everything, but to actually be standing on the ground when you think, ‘Gosh dang, 80 years ago all of this was going down right here at this very place,’ it was pretty emotional for me.”
“I stood and looked out over the harbor and it sent chills up my spine because I could imagine and see those Zeros coming across the harbor, in my mind,” said Stevens. “I felt something different in our performance yesterday that I haven’t felt in a long time.”
The band was playing the Armed Forces Salute when they noticed people gathering. The BBC had played this song every summer since the inception of the band. Stevens confessed something he wished had never happened.
“The Pearl Harbor Exhibits, people are just walking around from museum to museum and exhibit to exhibit, and when we started playing the armed service songs, people started to collect behind us and a lot of them were wearing veterans hats and all of a sudden, it took on a new meaning,” said Stevens. “It was kind of a mundane thing that we had done and I’m sorry it got that way, but we’ve played it so many times, but yesterday was totally different.”
The meaning of the music at that place, at that moment, took on an entirely new meaning for Stevens and other band members.
“We toured the Arizona Memorial yesterday and I couldn’t speak,” said Stevens. “I’m getting choked up right now thinking about it.”
“That is one of the things that is so beautiful about music is that we’re able to share that emotion in a different way,” said Licking Heights High School Band Director Megan Beavers.
Beavers has been with the band since 2013 and plays alto horn. She had a difficult time explaining the emotions she encountered.
“It is such a hard thing to articulate until you’re there,” said Beavers. “I think the part that struck me the most was seeing the oil leak because 80 years ago feels like a long time ago, but when you think about this oil that’s still seeping from the ship, it was very moving and very impactful.”
Beavers wants her students to know she has new lessons to instruct when she returns from Hawaii.
“It was very intense and it was something I look forward to sharing with my students and talking about next week with them when I return back to the classroom,” she said.
The BBC was scheduled to play on Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. EST at the U.S.S Arizona, but the weather has not cooperated with the schedule and their performance has been relocated to Waikiki Beach at the Hilton Hotel.