Homecoming honors leader who was ‘Better Than the Best Ever’

The Marching 110 will perform twice in this weekend’s Homecoming activities. Photo from ohio.edu

The Ohio University campus has exploded in green and white over the past five days as homecoming has gone into full gear. Numerous events throughout the week have already begun beckoning alumni back to the university, but the two main attractions—tomorrow’s parade and football game—are yet to come.

The theme for this year’s homecoming is “Better than the Best Ever,” explained Homecoming Steering Committee director Victoria Calderon. This reflects a number of adjustments the Steering Committee has made to ensure that this year’s homecoming is better than the last.

“This is the third year that Homecoming has been completely planned by the Homecoming Steering Committee… so we’re learning what works and not works,” Calderon said. “Our events are getting bigger and better. Everything works a little bit better than before.”

“Better than the Best Ever,” however, is not only a mere slogan. Calderon attributed the quote to Ron Socciarelli, a former Marching 110 director who she said was “responsible for giving the band the appeal they have today.” Socciarelli passed away this February, and Homecoming 2012 is touting his catchphrase as a tribute to his memory.

“That was what he told the Marching 110,” Calderon said,  “that [‘better than the best ever’] should be what they should strive for.”

So far, homecoming festivities have included a kickoff carnival in Baker Center on Monday, an introduction to Homecoming Court on Tuesday, a daycare service event at the Athens Community Center on Wednesday and the Yell Like Hell pep rally on Thursday, said Calderon. Still in the cards are Saturday’s parade and football game.

Amanda Roden, parade chair on the Homecoming Steering Committee, promises that the parade will be enjoyable for students and visiting alumni.

“As of right now, the official number is a little over 70 entries,” Roden said. “Yes, it’s going to be big.”

Different organizations from around campus and the Athens community range from the Marching 110 to Meteorology Club to the College Republicans.

Roden explained that music will be an overarching theme during the parade as a way to pay tribute to Ron Socciarelli and tie back into the idea of “Better than the Best Ever.”

“Everyone (in the parade) is kind of taking their own spin on ‘Better than the Best Ever’– like (showing) how their groups might be better than the best ever,” Roden said, “but we’re telling everyone to try and stick with a musical theme because (Socciarelli) was so heavily involved with music here at Ohio University.”

As a way to make the connection to Socciarelli even more intimate, Roden said that alumni bands who experienced his leadership personally will be returning to perform in the parade. Our own Marching 110 will also be making an appearance—one of their two major performances during Homecoming Week, the other being the halftime show during the football game Saturday.

Marching 110 member Josie Goodwin said that Marching 110 has ambitious plans for the halftime show, including a medley of songs including “Batman” and “Dancing Men.”

“We have a medley song that we’re doing and it’s got a pretty exciting dance in the middle of it that’s fun,” Goodwin said. “And the ending is a surprise.”

As the day of the parade inches closer, Roden said she is confident in the Steering Committee’s ability to deliver a fitting tribute to Ron Socciarelli.

“We all definitely feel a sense of responsibility to kind of do him justice for as much good as he did for our school… but we have a fantastic group of people who are really dedicated to (making) homecoming as good as it can be,” Roden said.

The Marching 110 feels a great deal of excitement as they will not only perform for students and alumni, but also honor one of their finest leaders.

“It just fills you up with pride,” Goodwin said. “You just can’t help when you get ready to practice and you see everybody who’s so intense and so ready to practice, and it’s awesome.” —

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