OSU Marching Band’s chaotic journey from Corvallis to Los Angeles


Lily Middleton

A gallery of photos of the Oregon State University Marching Band from the Oregon State Beavers/University of Utah Utes football game at Reser Stadium on Oct.23. Football players are not the only athletes to have fans back in the stands. The Spirit of Sound is back and ready to entertain Beaver Nation.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Contributor

It was no longer a vacation for the Oregon State University Marching Band but a quest.

A quest for making down in time to SoFi stadium to support the Oregon State football team in their first bowl game appearance in eight years, this Saturday.

The quest that the Marching Band had was to drive down to Los Angeles for Saturday’s football game against the Utah State Aggies. However, what was supposed to be an easy drive became a trip that proved everything that could go wrong will go wrong.

The Marching Band was excited to travel down to Los Angeles for the bowl game, not only to bring the Beaver Spirit but also play in the newly built SoFi Stadium. There were discussions the band had about either flying or driving down to the bowl game destination but as a collective, they decided driving was the easiest option.

“I was super excited! Bus trips with the band are always great! Every trip I’ve taken with the Oregon State University Marching Band has always been a highlight of the season,” said Clarinet Captain Section Leader Brianna Carder.

The Marching Band loaded up the five buses that would be driving them down and left Corvallis early morning on Wednesday, Dec. 15, around 6:30-7 a.m. with the expectation of making it to Sacramento that night.  An hour into the road trip just barely out of Corvallis, one of the buses broke down just north of Coburg, where the band had to wait about an hour for a replacement bus for the bus that had just broke down.

“It definitely was unfortunate when the bus broke down less than an hour into the trip,” said Baritone Horn Section Leader Paige Sedgwick. “But, we tried to make the best of it! The memes that people made and shared in our Discord were fantastic.”

The marching band members that were on the bus were able to load everything off the old bus on to the new bus and were able to get back on the road. This was a small setback during the road trip, but the band continued forward with the new bus as they made it down to Medford just around lunchtime to grab some food.

While the Marching Band was eating lunch, they found out that a part of I-5 that runs through Grants Pass was closed for an unknown amount of time, because of the snowy and icy weather conditions. This left the band with time to kill as they couldn’t be on the road with the unsafe conditions on I-5.

The marching band passed the time by hanging out in the mall to try to see if the winter storm would let up. Then the band directors gave them the news that the band was hoping not to hear that they would spend the night in Grants Pass hoping to wait out the snow that was on I-5.

“There were a lot of people joking about us being stuck in the Medford Mall as purgatory because that’s what it felt like. We were stuck there doing nothing for four hours,” said Mellophone Captain Section Leader Jamison McGillivray.

“Being stuck in Grants Pass was rough on everyone’s spirits I’d say. It was very frustrating to hear that because it’s pretty common knowledge that Siskiyou Pass is not reliable during the winter months,” said drumline member Will Yetter.

“It was scary, everything up in the air. I-5 had been shut down. We had been anticipating this because of the weather, however it was out of our control.” said Olivia Schultz, a member of the Oregon State colorguard team.

The news had the band disheartened as they were hoping to be out of the Oregon snow and in the warmer weather of California, but made the best of the situation with the delay. During their stay in Grants Pass and Medford, one of the buses had to have their tires fixed giving the band more vehicle troubles with the buses.

“The second time the buses had troubles was very annoying, though, because we’re supposed to be in California at that time. So, I was already bummed about being behind on schedule. It also took longer to fix the tires then they had estimated. But we finally made it back on the road eventually.” Said McGillivray.

The weather delayed the band with them arriving in Sacramento on Thursday, Dec. 16, just after midnight instead of Wednesday night, because of the alternate route that they took with parts of I-5 closed. The band took U.S. Highway 101, which added more time on the trip, but some of the band members enjoyed the scenery on the drive down to Sacramento.

“Going down 101 was super pretty! I’ve grown up in Olympia Washington, which is where highway 101 starts, so biking sections of it has been a bit of a goal, so I just considered it time to scope out the ride,” Said Sedgwick.

The delays in the trip that the band encountered set them back by a day, which costed them a performance opportunity that was scheduled for Thursday night. After their arrival in Sacramento, the band decided to go straight down to Los Angeles to save time being after being behind schedule and have some practice time before the football game on Saturday.

“This trip was supposed to be a five-performance trip and because of being stuck in Grants Pass, we are only looking at one or two performances at this point, as it cost us a day off our trip,” Said Yetter.

The marching band is currently on the road and are driving to Los Angeles to perform in a pep rally tonight before the bowl game on Saturday. They will perform on Saturday during the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl after a long challenging road trip to get down to SoFi Stadium from Corvallis. After the bowl game then they will make the journey back up to Corvallis for the holidays.

“We are still currently on the bus, getting closer and closer to Los Angeles. We have a pep rally that we are super excited to play at and bring the spirit and sound to So-Fi Stadium,” Said Carder.

“This hasn’t been the easiest trip, what was supposed to be two days turned into three with lots of hiccups, but we are still excited,” said alto saxophone player Elena Bailey. “We are excited to play the pep rally this evening before tomorrow’s game.”

Although with the delays in the schedule the band is relieved to make it to Los Angeles and be able to with everything that happened during the road trip. The band is excited to be off the buses after a long road trip but also perform for the fans that made the trip down to support the Beavers in their first bowl game.

“Today, we ‘re in a better mood going down, a lot better place than we were 48 hours ago,” said Schultz.

“We are all so happy that the bumps in the road didn’t cost us the trip and are looking forward to the game tomorrow!” Bailey said.

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