WATCH: Ohio State Marching Band Rocks the House with Rush Halftime Show

by Leanne Stahulak

The Ohio State University marching band is one of the top bands in the nation for a reason. And, apparently, a big fan of the progressive rock band Rush.

During their halftime performance for the OSU vs. Maryland game, the marching band paid tribute to one of the greatest rock groups of all time. They put on an absolutely incredible performance with several moving parts and complicated choreography. All while playing some of Rush’s top hits.

According to Rolling Stone, the 15-minute performance featured Rush songs like “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “Red Barchetta,” “Fly by Night” and others. The Ohio State marching band chose Rush as their halftime show this week to honor the band’s late drummer, Neil Peart. The 67-year-old drummer died of brain cancer in January 2020, after playing with Rush for 40 years.

In honor of Peart’s “sonic impact,” the marching band added 20 toms and 20 extra cymbals mounted on four racks to the percussion section, per Ohio State News. The band also paid tribute through several complex formations on the field, including a stick figure of Peart drumming along.

You can see the impressive feat right around the 3:30 mark in the video below. The students even march so that it looks like Peart’s moving his arms from one drum to the next. In the circle meant to represent a drumhead, the band unfurled a Rush banner similar to what Peart actually had on his drumhead.

The Ohio State marching band marched incredible formations throughout the entire performance. At one point, they mimicked Rush guitar player Alex Lifeson, depicted a person riding a motorcycle, and spelled out the word Rush on the field. They also spelled out two Rush songs in formation, “2112” and “YYZ.”

Iconic Rock Band Rush Thanks Ohio State Marching Band for Touching Tribute

Incredibly enough, the Ohio State marching band’s tribute didn’t go unnoticed by the rock band. The official OSU marching band Twitter account posted a video clip of the epic performance. They tagged the band in it. The band quote tweeted the video and said, “We’re speechless.”

Props to the OSU marching band for not only putting on an amazing show but also getting a shoutout from an iconic rock band. Not everyone can make that claim.

The tribute to Neil Peart was especially touching considering how the band has struggled with his loss. According to Rolling Stone, Rush’s Geddy Lee will release a memoir in the fall of 2022. Lee wrote the book because he was struggling with his grief, both for Peart and eventually Lee’s mother.

“My friend and collaborator on the ‘Big Beautiful Book of Bass,’ Daniel Richler, saw how I was struggling in the aftermath of Neil’s passing, and tried coaxing me out of my blues with some funny tales from his youth, daring me to share my own in return,” Lee said. “So I did — reluctantly at first, but then remembering, oh yeah, I like wrestling with words.”