Children often have big dreams, whether it’s becoming an astronaut, teacher, or the next YouTube sensation. For Delaware Hayes grad and current Ohio State Marion freshman Caleb Richardson, his dream was to become a member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. Through hard work and determination, he realized that dream on Aug. 31 of this year, marching during halftime in Ohio State’s opening game against Florida Atlantic University.
As a fourth generation Buckeye, he was inspired by his family and their lifelong allegiance to Ohio State, more specifically his grandfather, who played trumpet in The Ohio State University Marching Band two generations prior. Richardson set out to make his dream a reality.
“I have done band since fifth grade and so the joke was ‘if you go to Ohio State, you could join the band.’ My whole family has gone to Ohio State, and with my grandfather being in the band, it was kind of a joke that no one took serious. Two years ago, I was like I think I am going to try and make this happen,” said Richardson.
While honing his musical and marching skills at Delaware Hayes, he inquired about the band and learned that it offers a special summer clinic to teach the marching technique. He attended the clinic between his sophomore and junior year, and junior and senior year of high school, which he felt gave him a leg up.
“That first year, completely brand new, I was terrible at it. That second summer, I came back and was actually pretty good at it,” said Richardson.
During his senior year at Delaware Hayes High School, he happily accepted an offer to enroll at an Ohio State regional campus and was more than pleased to learn that it was possible to be a part of the band while attending classes at Ohio State Marion.
The hard work paid off. Richardson is now a member of the drumline, playing tenor drums and learning from his squad leader and emulating the example he has provided to improve.
Comparing his first time in Ohio Stadium as a wide-eyed kid and his first time marching on the field in college, Richardson couldn’t help but to reflect on what he has accomplished since attending his first game and the uniqueness of those two experiences.
“I went to my first game when I was 7 or 8 and being up in C deck and looking down, and thinking back to now, it is the opposite,” said Richardson. “I am down on the field looking up, and I hope that I can create a performance that is amazing for that 7-year-old that I was 11 years ago just like the band members did when I was that age.”
The energy he felt as he entered Ohio Stadium as a band member for the first time was electric, explained Richardson.
“I came down the alternate ramp and all the football players are on the field. The sound system is going crazy. People were filling in and the energy of just being on the field was crazy,” he said with a smile.
His best memory to date was sharing the field during alumni band day with his grandfather, the man who was a big part of inspiring him to pursue his dream.
“Seeing him from across the field and watching him step out from the group was a clarifying moment,” said Richardson. “I finally made this happen and made both of our dreams come true by making the band and being here.”
After the halftime performance concluded, Richardson and his grandfather made eye contact with one another while walking to the north end zone.
“The whole time we were beaming all the way up, and we fist bumped and patted each other on the back,” said Richardson. “I will remember that for the rest of my life. That was the exclamation mark on the day. Seeing him after that halftime show and knowing that both of our dreams had come true.”
The importance of building a legacy for others was one he learned from his grandfather and is now being cultivated in The Ohio State University Marching Band.
“A part of the culture is the extreme inclusiveness. It develops our character and our playing ability farther than we thought possible just because of the high expectations. They become more feasible the more you are around this atmosphere and vibe,” said Richardson. “It gets ingrained into who you are, and I am starting to emulate that feeling that I am in the band, the best damn band in the land, and we are going to make this special.
“The culture has developed me to grow and be more confident in myself and in my playing ability, because I made it. I made the band,” he added. “You belong here. Now, let’s get even better so that each show is better than the previous show,” he added.
Today, Richardson is applying that same confidence in the classroom, where he is considering majoring in a STEM field such as biology or chemistry and going on to medical school. For now, he is basking in the glow of his achievement and hoping he will be the inspiration for another young person to work hard and follow your dreams.
Submitted by The Ohio State University at Marion.