Beavercreek High School grad Ben Murawski will dot the ‘I’ in “Script Ohio” on Saturday when the Ohio State University Marching Band performs at Ohio Stadium prior to the Buckeye football game against Maryland.
For Murawski, the moment figures to be the culmination of many years in music — and one that took a little longer to arrive than he might have expected.
He was in line to dot the ‘I’ during a performance last year, but the marching band was sidelined for the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murawski earned his degree in computer engineering in the spring but opted to come back for one more season in the band, a decision he said the majority of 2020 fourth-year sousaphone players made so they could take part in one of Ohio State’s most cherished traditions.
“Once you’re a sousaphone player, pre-COVID it used to be that your fourth year is usually when you dot the ‘I’, but we’ve had to make an arrangement as sousaphone players that now if you’re a fifth-year player, that’s kind of the equivalent to fourth year for the next couple years until people get caught up,” he said.
Murawski first tried out for the OSU Marching Band in 2016 but was cut, which is not uncommon.
“Some people make it the first time, but the first year for me I was cut, so then you spend the next year just training and trying to get better in hopes of getting in again,” he said. “So I got in my second time trying out, which was my sophomore year of college in the 2017 football season.”
Murawski said he first got the music bug from listening to the Beavercreek High School marching band practice outside BHS when he was in elementary school.
He signed up for band in middle school and gravitated to the tuba. That was a key moment in the journey to the one set for Saturday, though he might not have known it at the time.
“I kind of set my sights to march in high school band, and I didn’t know what, if anything, would come after that, but after kind of like falling in love with marching band you sort of ask yourself, ‘Okay what’s next?’” Murawski said. “And then especially going into like your junior or senior year of high school, you start to eye Ohio State.”
Saturday, which is Ohio State’s homecoming, the band plans to perform single Script Ohios both before the game and at halftime, an extremely rare occurrence necessitated by the number of I-dotters still on the squad this year.
(The last time that happened was in 2011 when the band did Script Ohio twice for the final home game of retiring director Dr. Jon Woods.)
Murawski is slated to dot the I before the game while band spokesperson Evan Drexler said Garrett Everhart of Pataskala will do the honors at halftime.
“It’s definitely a pretty surreal experience, especially since it’s been something I’ve been working towards since 2016,” Murawski said.
With his band experience nearly complete, Murawski has an eye on putting his degree to use.
He had an internship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base over the summer and is interested in working with drone technology, cars or video games.
“Recently I’ve been more interested in (virtual reality) — like video game tech, that type of thing” he said “So I’m hoping I could work at like the intersection of where the software meets the hardware. That’s kind of what might my degree focused on.”
He expects to take lessons from his days in the band with him into the next chapter of his life and beyond.
“I think being in band in general just gives you pretty good life skills for everything,” he said. “It teaches you about dedication, like seeing things through to the end. It teaches about hard work. For instance like this week, we have to memorize the last parts of our show, and then we get music checked which teaches you how to perform under pressure.
“And also you won’t feel 100% all through the season, so any time during the season there might be some band members feeling under the weather or being slightly injured and stuff, but we’ll still march through that. So it teaches you a lot of toughness and lets you know what type of things you can push through and still put on a good performance.”
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