Konner Barr Leads His First Script Ohio as Assistant Drum Major
More than 104,000 sets of eyes were watching as a former student at The Ohio State University at Newark achieved his lifelong dream on Sept. 10, 2016. There were 104,410 people in attendance to be exact. But, if those fans in the stands weren’t paying very close attention to The Ohio State Marching Band’s pregame show before the Ohio State football game at Ohio Stadium, they missed an event 15 years in the making. “It’s going to be a fun day,” said 19-year-old Konner Barr in the locker room before he went out on the field. “I’ve had this dream for a long time.”
You see, Barr has been training for this moment since the age of four. He has rehearsed at twirling lessons, on the field as a drum major at Gahanna High School and in his nightly dreams thousands of times. When Barr graduated from high school, he applied to the only school he ever wanted to attend – The Ohio State University in Columbus. However, he was not accepted there, but deferred to the Ohio State Newark campus instead. Barr realized he could still pursue his dream in Newark and worked with advisors on the Newark campus to make sure his class schedule fit around his practice schedule in Columbus. Barr was determined and on Sept. 10 he was ready.
“I actually had a lot of homework last night,” said Barr. “I was focusing on homework, but once I finally laid down in bed, it kind of soothed me to sleep because I was thinking that I get to live my dream tomorrow, finally.”
Finally. When you’re 19 years old and you’ve had a dream for 15 years, finally seems like the right word. When it was time to make the dream come true, Barr looked calm, marched in sync and lead his very first Script Ohio with confidence. Barr, The Ohio State Marching Band assistant drum major, didn’t miss a mark as he lead the band on the east side of the field during a double Script Ohio performance. Barr did his job perfectly, leading the famous “i-dotter” out to his spot on the field at the conclusion. But, on the inside, Barr was a nervous wreck.
“Right when the band came down to do the ramp entrance, it really hit me,” said Barr. “I was like, ‘Oh crap, I’m about to do a Script Ohio,’” said Barr. “But, when I strutted out and started leading, the nerves went away and I was just focused from there.” Barr admitted that leading something he calls the “greatest tradition in all of college band history” is a high pressure gig. There are many places where things can go wrong. “It’s like a pen. We write ‘Ohio’ in cursive, and then at the end we strut out and point where the ‘i-dotter’ goes to take his bow and dot the I. We pretty much tell the ‘i-dotter’ where to dot,” said Barr. “When you cross through the lines of other band members marching as you’re writing ‘Ohio,’ it gets a little crazy. You just have to drive through those crossovers.”
Barr drove through all the crossovers with ease and lead the ‘i-dotter’ to his place on the field with the high-stepping energy Ohio State fans have come to expect from the drum majors while wearing an 100% wool uniform in 90-degree heat. He came off the field sweaty and tired. Barr let out a big sigh of relief, but fans in the stands didn’t know this was his first time. Barr was like an old pro. All those rehearsals in his dreams paid off. “The crowd went crazy right when we got to the top of the ‘O’ and we started leading the ‘i-dotters’ out,” said Barr. “That’s how I always dreamed it.”
Dreamers typically dream big, and Barr is no exception. Barr only waited about 10 minutes after the performance was over to start thinking about what’s next. “I eventually want to become the head drum major,” said Barr. “But for now I want to get through this season, lead some great double Script Ohios and hopefully watch the Buckeyes make it to the playoffs and win a national championship.”