When a student plays football for Ohio State University, there has often been an expectation that student will be playing in the Rose Bowl, if not for a national championship.

That expectation is not just for the football team -- it also holds true for members of the marching band known as TBDBITL.

As they participated Jan. 1 in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade, ahead of the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl game against the University of Washington, three freshman members of Ohio State's marching band who hail from Grove City were a little less wide-eyed about the experience.

Noah Bungart, Hunter DeWitt and Nicholas Routh marched in the parade in 2017 with the Grove City High School Marching Band when the trio were juniors.

"When I found out we were going to the Rose Bowl this year, I was ecstatic," DeWitt said. "There aren't many people who can say they've marched in the Rose Bowl Parade twice, especially in just three years."

"I was excited, but a bit nervous about being in the parade a second time, because I knew what it involves -- about two and a half hours of non-stop marching and playing," DeWitt said. "But it turned out to be a little easier than the first time."

That knowledge helps reduce the butterflies, Bungart said.

"The first time in the parade, you're not sure what to expect," he said. "This time, it wasn't all unknown. I knew what to expect."

The actual marching seemed easier, Routh said.

"I think that's because I knew the route and I knew as we were marching past different landmarks how much more distance we had to go," he said.

But the experience is more challenging for a band whose team is in the game than a high school group, said DeWitt, who plays trumpet and is majoring in music education and trumpet music performance.

"With Grove City, all we were doing was marching in the parade," he said. "With OSU, there were so many performances scheduled in the two and a half days. We had pep band performances, rehearsals, the parade and then the game itself.

"We had a busy itinerary for the whole trip, but I didn't feel exhausted," DeWitt said. "More excited than exhausted."

Each evening, the band members had free time and they got to visit Disneyland after playing Dec. 30 at the park's Main Street USA train station, he said.

The OSU band played two different sequences during the parade, said Routh, who plays trumpet and is majoring in aviation.

"That makes it more challenging," he said. "We played the first sequence, then switched to the second as we passed the TV corner where all the cameras are located."

At the game, the band participated in a pregame performance, offered a halftime show and served as a pep band to rally Buckeye fans.

"We were on TV a lot," Routh said. "Part of the pregame was on TV, and they showed a couple minutes of our halftime show and then we'd be on during the game as the pep band. And of course, there was the parade."

Playing at the game was a thrill, he said.

"When you're playing for the entire stadium and every song brings a cheer, it's exciting," Routh said.

Viewing the game was a difference experience from the perspective of the band's position, he said.

"We were stationed out at one of the end zones, so you can't really see down the field and tell where the football's in play," Routh said. "I ended up watching most of the game on the big TV screen. But it's still better than watching it at home, because you're actually there."

The OSU band is used to playing big venues -- its home field is Ohio Stadium, after all.

But that doesn't quite prepare one for playing the Rose Bowl, Bungart said.

"We play in front of big crowds, but the Rose Bowl is one of the biggest games there is," he said. "It's a different experience. It's a different field than you're used to and the atmosphere is just surreal. It's really a big stage."

Grove City is renowned for its marching band, but moving up to the college level is more demanding, said Bungart, who plays flugelhorn.

"It's just the fact that during the season, we're learning new things every couple weeks," he said. "We're changing songs and drills all the time. In high school, you have just one show that takes you through the whole year."

Bungart, who is majoring in physics and astronomy, said he likes the challenge.

"It's helping me improve as a musician, but it's also helping me improve as a person," he said. "Learning new things every week in band, it keeps you on your toes.

"That discipline is helping me learn how to make better use of my time," Bungart said. "It's helping me adjust to the greater academic demands of college."

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