If you are in band, you may have heard a few of the older members mention “fair band” or see one of them sporting an AOSFB t-shirt. That’s because those members are or were a member of the All Ohio State Fair Band. I myself have been a member for two years and will continue to be for another two.

The All Ohio State Fair Band is an organization founded in 1925, comprised of Ohio’s finest school musicians. Every year, on the Saturday before The Ohio State Fair opens, around 200 or so students meet at the Rhodes Center at the fair grounds, usually starting at around 8:30 a.m. to register, and then spend the next four days learning over 80 pieces of music. Sounds hard right? That’s what I thought. But in reality, everyone there is so talented that we usually only have to play through a piece once or twice and it already sounds great. Brian W. Dodd (pictured above), is the head director. His full time job is band director at West Holmes High School is Holmes County, Ohio. Along with him are four assistant directors, three equipment managers, and a whole lot of other staff. To read about them, go to¬†

The whole duration of the fair band lasts exactly two weeks, from the Saturday before the opening, until the Saturday before the fair closes, that Sunday (Unless you sign up for the extra day, which I’ll get to later). Because we stay at the fair for two weeks, and have usually around 200 kids, we sleep in barracks. The Rhodes center has three floors. On the first floor, there is the lobby, the first girls’ barrack, the practice room, a cafeteria where we are served three free meals a day, and on the far end of the building, the laundry room. Now, I know what you must be thinking: “Oh my gosh I have to do my own LAUNDRY??” Well, no. You don’t. There are two very nice ladies who work there that wash close to four hundred loads of laundry in the two weeks. On the second floor landing there is a bulletin board with things like the daily schedule and other important notifications, as well as the entrance to the second girls’ barracks. On the third floor is the band office where you can go to buy shirts, water bottles, lanyards for your name tag (yes you have to wear a name tag but chill it gets you on rides for free), bags, and other stuff. Also on the third floor is the boys’ barrack. (the whole stairwell and all three barracks are closed to the public.)

The barracks are where you will make most of your friends and a lot of good memories. I could spend hours talking about the six chairs we broke or the Swiffer jousting matches, the gold bond challenges, and the suitcase races. All of which are great memories I’ve made in the past two years. If you ever want to hear about the mattress-fort shrine to Paul Blart, just ask Micah Flores or I. It’s a ridiculous story. The barracks all contain bunk beds, along either side of long rooms big enough for usually around 30-40 people in each. There are showers at the barracks, and they are private as well. (Ask some of the directors, and they’ll tell you they weren’t always that way).

On the first day, before the band begins practicing music, placement auditions are held. Every band member has a private audition, so the directors can decide what chair everyone will be. If you do a really good audition, you’ll probably be the first chair. But if you aren’t, it’s never a big deal. Trust me, the auditions always seem a lot scarier than they actually are. But at the end of the day, even if you are very last chair, it’s okay. No one is going to get sent home because they didn’t do as well as others. After that, everyone is assigned to either Red Band or Black Band. Because the fairgrounds are so big, and so many people like to hear us play, we are split in half. That way both bands can perform on opposite ends of the fairgrounds at the same time. To get around the fairgrounds we march, which, yes considering it’s in July/August and the fairgrounds are huge that sounds like a terrible time, but it’s actually really fun. When the AOSFB marches, we do it a little different than here at Leipsic. The most notable difference is the chants. They are really easy to catch on to and super fun to do.

The Fair opens the Wednesday after you arrive. Trust me when I say, especially for newbies, those first four days can feel like an eternity, and make you wonder, “why am I even here?” But when the fair opens, everything changes and all the effort you’ve put in pays off. Everyday after the fair opens there are plenty of breaks and free time, which you can use to got to get fair food, or browse the Bricker Building (they have some cool stuff like inflatable couches and muscle stimulators there), ride rides (Banzai is my favorite), or peruse the North Commercial Shoppes, which is my favorite thing to do. They have some really cool stuff there, so make sure to bring your wallets! We are usually done performing by around eight and get free time until 10:45, when we are required to be in our barracks. At 11 taps is played over the p.a. system, followed by lights out. Every morning we are woken up by revelry, a purposely annoying tune played and sang by Tank and Ed, our instrument repairman and director of operations.

If you want to register for the band, talk to Mr. Stein. Registration usually begins in February and is due at the end of March. When applying, it’s best to apply as early as possible for the best shot at getting in. After you apply, you’ll get your result back around May 1st. When applying you MUST tell Mr. Stein because he also has to fill out a form, which includes his assessment/recommendation of you. But Mr. Stein believes in all of us so you’ll never have to worry about his assessment affecting your chances of getting accepted. If you are accepted, you and your mom/dad will receive a confirmation e-mail and later forms to fill out in the mail, as well as a supply list and a schedule for the entire two weeks.

As a whole, being a part of the AOSFB is an amazing experience that can teach you so much about music and what it’s like to be a part of a large group of vastly talented musicians. You discover key signatures and instruments you’ve never heard of and see some of the strangest talents imaginable. You will witness many different cultures and ethnicity you may have never seen before while marching and walking through the fair. This experience is unrivaled and is a unique opportunity that all you young high school musicians should jump at. If you have any questions, concerns, or maybe are thinking about signing up but aren’t sure, feel free to talk to Micah Flores or I.

By: Dylan Hiegel

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Posted by on Sep 30 2017. Filed under Front Page, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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