Saturday’s Ohio State University football game was a dream come true for former Hayes student Anna Hurley, who dotted the “i” during the OSU Marching Band’s halftime performance.
Hurley said she has been playing sousaphone as part of The Ohio State University Marching Band since she was a freshman in 2015, and she applied to dot the “i” earlier this year. Hurley explained a band member must be a fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player in order to dot the “i.”
“I was 100 percent excited,” Hurley said. “So incredibly excited. I’ve been watching the band since I was a kid.”
Hurley said she’s been close to OSU her whole life, because she had several family members who studied there.
She added she was honored to be able to take part in the tradition of dotting the “i.”
“It’s kind of indescribable,” Hurley said.
Hurley joked she’s still having trouble putting her feelings into words even days after the performance. “It was 10 seconds of extreme focus knowing that 90,000 people are staring at you. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, being on the field with my friends and having my family in the stands.”
When Hurley joined the band as a freshman, she knew at least one person — Dr. Christopher Hoch, the current band director who was the interim director at the time. Hurley said Hoch had been her music teacher when she was in fifth and sixth grade, and she was so glad to work with him again.
“(When you join the band), it’s a lot of new and can be very stressful,” Hurley said. “So coming in and having that familiar face was definitely something that motivated me.”
Hurley said Hoch was the one who taught her to play the tuba in the first place, and dotting the “i” playing the sousaphone with Hoch directing the band felt like everything came “very full circle.”
“Definitely a lot of that is because of him,” Hurley said.
Hurley is currently in her senior year, studying city and regional planning. She plans to graduate in May, but she still plans to be part of the band next year, since band members are eligible for five years.
“I’ve loved it,” Hurley said. “You spend tons of time with these people and this organization. These are your best friends. We get to put on these amazing performances each week. I intend to come back next year because, when else am I going to get to do this?”
Hurley’s mother, Linda, said Tuesday that watching Anna dot the “i” was an honor.
“She believed she could do it, and she did,” Linda Hurley said. “It is a joy to watch your child achieve a dream. Our TBDBITL (The Best Damn Band in the Land) roots run deep and having Anna reach this high honor was a highlight we will all cherish.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.