Versailles grads perform in bowl-game bands


By Ronda Stammen

Guest Contributor

VERSAILLES — Many locals are already aware of the stellar high school marching bands Darke County has to offer, but how many know of the post-high school pursuits of these talented musicians?

Brody Hyre is a 2017 Versailles High School Graduate and a member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. Hyre is a student at Capital University studying music education. Recently Hyre had the opportunity to travel with The Ohio State Marching Band to the Rose Bowl Football Game and march in the Rose Bowl parade. Hyre recalled his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, “My experience this year with TBDBITL [The Best D*** Band In The Land] and our trip to the Rose Bowl was incredible. As part of a die-hard Ohio State family, I grew up watching OSU football thousands of times. The chance to actually be a part of the gameday experience is on a whole other level. I never would’ve dreamed that someday I’d be in the marching band, let alone get to play with the marching band at the Rose Bowl. The famous Rose Parade was long but an experience I’ll never forget. Hearing the fans, even non-Ohio State fans, cheer for us as we marched by, reminded me why I put in all the work to make the band in the first place. I was reminded of this again as I marched through the legendary Script Ohio and watched the B-2 bomber fly over during the national anthem. Marching halftime and then going to see the Rose Bowl logo on the front of the stadium was unreal. I often have to pinch myself to make sure this is reality because it’s still surreal to me, thinking that I’ve been blessed to be part of TBDBITL. All the years watching Ohio State play in the Rose Bowl as a kid, never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d be marching there myself. I thank God for every minute of it because being a member of TBDBITL is an honor and something most people can only dream of!”

Ronda Stammen, his former high school band director added, “Brody keeps in touch with all his highlights and accomplishments as a tuba player in The Ohio State Marching Band. We are so excited and proud of him!”

The impressive accomplishments of Versailles graduates don’t stop there. Hannah Bey is a 2020 graduate of Versailles High School and a sophomore at Miami University studying Biology and Environmental Science. She chose to audition for the Miami University Marching Band (MUMB) prior to her freshman year. Bey stated, “With all of the unknowns and uncertainties of 2020, I knew that I wanted to participate in marching band as it had been a constant contributor of fun, friendship, and growth during high school. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet as a band during my freshman year, but I still had the opportunity to meet virtually with my section, learn from professionals in music education, and play my instrument in the quad outside of my dorm. At the beginning of this semester, I was debating whether or not to rejoin the band due to my increasingly busy schedule. I can confidently say my choice to return was one of the best decisions I made all semester.” Bey went on to say, “The band has proven to be full of wonderful, supportive, and welcoming individuals. I immediately felt that I had found my place within the university. Band also provided an extremely beneficial structure to my daily schedule. Balancing my studies with other aspects of life was easier with designated breaks to simply make music with my peers. I cannot express my appreciation for the memories I have made on and off the field this semester.”

Stammen had the chance to catch up with Bey over the Holiday break. She and Pride of Dayton band member and former graduate, Jada Barlage, came back to Versailles and did a session with the high school and junior high band students over the opportunities playing in a college band offers.

Bey continued, “Miami’s qualification in the first ever Frisco Classic Bowl was the cherry on top of my first ‘real’ season as a member of the MUMB. I had the privilege of traveling (for free) to Frisco, Texas, for the game this December. Visiting Texas for the first time, learning new card games with friends, and meeting the (huge) opposing band were all highlights of the trip. Weather in the mid-70s welcomed us on game day, as did a stadium flooded with a festive red and green array of jerseys as Miami faced off against North Texas. Performing and watching the other band perform were both memorable moments of the day. In the end, Miami University was victorious, and we celebrated by singing a final fight song with the team. Again, I am so thankful for the experience I had this year in the MUMB, and I am looking forward to joining my friends on the field again next fall!” Bey concluded.

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