Leach finishes OSU band career

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2000

You see, Leach has been a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes marching band the past five years.

Monday, January 03, 2000

You see, Leach has been a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes marching band the past five years. As part of the band, he enjoyed the benefit of the football team’s success by attending four straight bowl games. But with the Buckeyes going 6-6 this past season, the team and band was forced to remain at home watching others play. That was quite a change from the past four seasons in which the Buckeyes have attended bowl games each year. One trip was to the Florida Citrus Bowl, one to the Rose Bowl, and twice to the Sugar Bowl.

Email newsletter signup

"I’m glad I didn’t have to go back (to the Citrus Bowl). Corby’s class had to go three times. It was my freshman year, so it was different for me," Leach said.

"The Rose Bowl was phenomenal. They had a show on TV to pick the five best games in Ohio State history, and it was number one, so that tells you something."

Probably the most memorable trips were to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

"New Orleans is like no place you’ve ever been. People lose all inhibitions. It’s quite interesting," Leach said. "We didn’t have an strict itinerary. We practiced two hours and then had the rest of the day off. We’d usually go to French Quarters and Bourbon Street."

Leach said the Rose Bowl trip was full of long days. The band flew out the 27th for the Jan. 1game. The band woke up on game day at 4:30 a.m. and had to be at the parade route by 6 o’clock. Next came the seven-and-one-half mile parade route and then the band would go straight to the game for the pregame.

Although Leach didn’t get to enjoy traveling to a bowl game this season, he did have some added responsibilities after being named a squad leader.

The band consists of 16 rows with 14 people in each row. The band director and his staff take the top members from each group and put them through an interview process. The directors cast their votes during Michigan week and take the top four or five members through more interview during the winter quarter. The decision is made in the spring.

"It’s a pretty big honor, not to mention a great resume thing," said Leach. "There are two people in charge. I’m to blame if you so much as put your foot down at the wrong time."

Leach’s responsibilities included checking the role and if someone is missing you have to find where they are.

"We have to report they are missing and then call and make sure they’re in their apartment. If you miss practice, you’re automatically an alternate. Practice is a big thing," said Leach. "Game day there are inspections. After (the group leaders) pass inspection, then we inspect our group.

"And if there are any informational meetings, we attend to learn what’s going on behind the scenes and let the others know what’s going on."

The good thing about being a squad leader is seniority. Leach said his position allowed him to lead the famed "Script Ohio" several times.

"That was probably the coolest thing. As squad leader, I get to lead," Matthew said.

When Leach talked earlier about Corby, he was referring to his brother who was a member of the Ohio State band for four years.

Both Corby and Matthew played trumpet in the Ironton High School band and then played at Ohio State throughout their college career. Matthew said he has followed his brothers’ lead as far as playing in the band, but that’s about all.

"When Corby was signing up for sixth grade classes and heard you had homework in vocal music, he signed up for band. I did the same thing. I was more involved in athletics and this was just a sideline thing," Matthew said.

"He tried out (for the OSU band) and made it. The first time I saw the band I said. ‘I got to do it.’ Nine years later he’s been in the (OSU) band and I have, too.

"It’s a lifetime experience," said Matthew.

As a fifth-year band member, Matthew was presented a ring. Third-year members get a plaque and fourth-year a script "Ohio" watch. Brother Corby was jealous.

"He said,’I graduated on time and I got penalized.’ So we got him a ring for Christmas. Being a four-year band member, he had the qualifications for the ring. He has no room to complain any more," Matthew said.

The younger Leach will graduate in March and has a job lined up with State Farm, probably in Newark. He served his internship the past three summers.

"I hope eventually I’ll get to become an agent with them," said Matthew.

His father is a State Farm Insurance agent. Matthew said dad and mom, Gary and Marcie Leach, have been a key toward his ability to juggle studies and playing in the band.

"There’s so much they have done," Matthew said. "They’ve paid for my education, provided transportation, and just so many other things. It’s hard for me to work during the season."

Even though Matthew is graduating, the band will remain part of his life.

"I get to play in the volunteer band and the alumni game the rest of my life, so it’s not all over," Matthew said.