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Senior tuba player has ‘special day’ at Ohio State

When senior tuba player Emma Farahay took the field at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, she was marching on the same field where her grandfather dotted the “I” in Script Ohio 66 years ago.

The tradition, where the OSU band spells out “Ohio” and dots the “I” with the tuba player, is decades old, but was an all-new experience, with a twist, for Farahay. 

Farahay is following in her grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a key member of a university band. Her grandpa, Richard Taylor, played the tuba in Ohio State’s marching band in the 1950s. Farahay has been working at it since middle school.

“He always encouraged me to have fun and enjoy band to its fullest,” Farahay said. “Something I’ll always be thankful for.”

Miami’s marching band director Brooke Johnson says it’s the leadership qualities Farahay displays that makes her stand out more than anything.

“She’s become one of my go-to leaders,” Johnson said. “I can put her in charge of something and know that it’s gonna get done.”

Farahay has been playing tuba since the 6th grade. Currently, she is one of two tuba section leaders. Farahay is also in pep band and symphony band, which is a concert group that performs during the spring.

Although band takes up a lot of Farahay’s time, she isn’t a music major — she actually is working on a biology and environmental science double major. 

It’s common among Miami’s marching band, where the majority of members are non-music majors.

“She kind of embodies what a lot of our band looks like, where they’re not all music ed. majors.” Johnson said. “In fact, 80 percent of them are from majors all over campus.”

Farahay has been a co-section leader of the tubas since last year. Part of a section leader’s duties include running sectionals, a time for instrument groups to work separately on their music. For Farahay and the rest of the tubas, sectionals also include non-music activities.

“We like to get some extra stretches in, because we tend to get pretty sore carrying the sousaphone around.” Farahay said. “So we always do a little bit of yoga.” 

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Johnson likes to give freedom to the section leaders to run sections however they see fit.

“Some students really take to that better than others,” Johnson said. “Emma is one of the people that they really take that sectional time and run with it.”

Last Saturday, the Miami band performed at Ohio Stadium for the Ohio State vs. Miami football game. During the band’s pregame show, it morphed into a formation that looks like the state of Ohio. During this, one tuba player gets to stand approximately where Oxford would be in Ohio, which they call, “dotting Oxford.”

Because Farahay is a senior, she was the tuba player selected to “dot Oxford” in the same stadium her grandfather had dotted the “I” 66 years ago. 

“It was a really special day to be there and be on that field,” Farahay said.

Farahay has been in the band since her first year at Miami. Since joining  she said she’s made many friendships.

“It’s so amazing, just because even as a freshman, the second you join band a week early for bandcamp, you automatically know over 200 people on campus,” Farahay said.

“It’s just amazing to already have that family.”

While Farahay owes a lot to the band, the band also owes a lot to her, especially the tuba section. 

“Our sousaphone section has been especially solid the last few years, and I really credit that to her and her co-section leader.” Johnson said. “She takes marching band seriously, but it’s in a fun way, where I think her section really enjoys working with her.”

Johnson describes Farahay as  “a hard worker,” “reliable” and “a great musician.” But, one praise stood out above the rest.

“She just loves band,” Johnson said. “This has been such a huge part of her career while she’s been at Miami.”