Graham alum Bailey Buell excels at Ohio University


Second-ever female field commander of the OU 110

By Katie Milligan - Contributing writer



Bailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110.

Bailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110.


Submitted photos

Bailey Buell is shown performing during her days as a Graham Dancin’ Band from Falconland member.


Submitted photos

Bailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110.


Submitted photos

ST. PARIS – Graham High School alumnus of 2019, Bailey Buell, is currently serving as the field commander of the Ohio University Marching 110, only the second female ever in this role.

Buell, a current senior at OU and set to graduate in fall 2023, plays the trumpet. She grew up with music and marching bands, as her father, Jeff Buell, served as the GHS Marching Band director for 23 years, from 1990 to 2013.

Always looking up to the Dancin’ Band from Falconland as well as the OU Marching 110, Buell joined the concert band in third grade before expanding to marching, jazz, and pep band; at this point, she has been involved with a band for over half her life.

“I basically came out of the womb experiencing marching band,” she said. “From as young as I can remember, I remember coming down here to OU to watch the 110.”

Ohio University’s Marching 110 has a unique history. In 1967, OU’s band underwent a major style transformation in uniform and instrumentation, going all-male; that year, the band was called the 100 Marching Men of Ohio, and it had exactly 100 male members.

As time passed, the band grew slightly to 110 male members who called themselves the 110 Marching Men of Ohio. Then, in 1975, OU’s band returned to co-ed and the name shifted to today’s Marching 110. The current director, Dr. Richard Suk, has been leading the 110 since 1996, and his assistant director, Joshua Boyer, has served in his role since 2014.

“Although the band has grown over the years, the name (the Marching 110) stuck, and today refers to the 110% effort expected of all members at rehearsals and performances,” said Boyer.

The 110 belongs to the NCAA’s Mid-American Conference (MAC) and is often labeled “the best in the MAC;” with its unique marching style and commitment to providing a new show each home game, the 110 stands out in the region and is a fan favorite.

“As the 110, we call ourselves the most exciting band in the land, and we really try to stick to that in the kind of entertainment that we provide,” Buell said. “We’re really lucky as a school to have a student section that really enjoys the band. It’s awesome to have their support, and I don’t think a lot of other schools have that.”

However, with such a distinguished reputation comes an intensive time commitment and high standards of performance. The 110 boasts about 224 members this year, and the members jokingly refer to themselves as ‘110 majors’ because of the demanding practice and game schedule of about 15 hours per week, with Sunday being their only day off. Additionally, members are required to attend a training week each summer, called Band Camp, where members learn steps, work on legwork and perform drills and dances.

But Buell believes that the high level of commitment required builds a specialized culture, allowing the 110 to provide such a unique form of entertainment.

“Because we spend so much time together, we’re able to create such a relationship and such a great culture within the band,” she said.

The band sees about 110-120 auditions per year (in the late winter/early spring) and takes on about 75-80 new members each season. Once accepted into the band, students never have to audition again and can begin their five years of eligibility.

Boyer explains that the informal selection process for leadership roles, such as field commander, begins as early as a member’s first year with the 110.

“The process for these leadership roles really starts the first day they come to Band Camp their freshman year,” Boyer said. “The first and second year, we’re just trying to get to know the students, seeing their leadership role without having an official title: the persona, the attitude, the work ethic, things like that.”

As the directors watch the students’ leadership evolution, they may offer promising candidates a leadership role during their third year, such as dance commander or section leader. For example, Boyer attended OU as both an undergraduate in 2003 and graduate student in 2011, and he marched in the 110 for his full five years of eligibility; he was given the position of music section leader his third year, dance commander his fourth year and field commander his fifth year.

The field commander is the primary student leader of the organization and serves as a liaison between the band and the directors. There is a strong teaching and instructional component to the role: he or she leads fundamentals at the beginning of each practice, breaking down new marching steps and introducing new techniques.

Additionally, the field commander is responsible for keeping the morale, or esprit de corps, of the 110 high.

“She’s also the leader of the morale within the group, so it’s her job to keep the attitude in the right direction, keep them focused, and also to pep them up before and after games,” said Boyer.

According to Boyer, OU’s take on the field commander position is unique, as it is not a conducting role. The 110’s field commander performs along with the band, and not many other universities across the country possess a leadership role like this.

“It’s a pretty important role, and one which we take very seriously in the selection process because there’s only one a year,” Boyer said. “We make that selection based on who we believe is going to be the best person for the leadership of the band, and in 2022, it was Bailey Buell.”

The 110’s first-ever female field commander was Sophia Medvid in 2019, a mellophone player hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina. Buell was a first-year 110 member during Sophia’s time as field commander and was able to learn from her firsthand.

Buell, who served as field commander for the Graham High School Marching Band, says she never considered herself worthy of the same role in the 110.

“I never even knew that I could make it into the 110. My whole life, I was watching the 110, but I always saw it as such a high entity. I never expected to be a part of it,” she said. “I know I’m a natural leader, but leading a 250-piece organization is very intimidating.”

But after serving as one of four dance commanders in the 2021-2022 season, a role that involved collaboratively choreographing the dances for each new show, Buell felt more prepared to pursue the position of field commander and was receiving encouragement from all sides to go for it.

“After hearing what everybody had to say, that they were impressed by my leadership skills, I really felt that I owed it to this band to at least try and go for it,” Buell said. “I really love standing in front of this band and doing what I’m doing.”

Buell’s favorite part of her position is her educational responsibilities, such as teaching the new 110 members OU’s unique marching style at Band Camp over the summer. Serving as a motivational speaker has been more challenging, but she recognizes how much she’s grown over the season.

Though she is still adjusting to the amount of praise she is receiving for making history as only the second female ever in this role, she is thankful for her platform and the experience she is gaining.

“People automatically have a lot of respect for you, which I appreciate,” Buell said. “It’s hard to think about all the different facets while you’re in it, because you’re just focused on doing your job. But I love every second of it.”

Buell is an interior design major at OU, and though she intends to pursue this career field after graduation next fall, she has also added a music minor and hopes to continue her involvement with bands into the future.

“I do enjoy teaching, and I definitely want to stay involved with marching bands in some capacity in life,” she said.

To other aspiring 110 members or future field commanders, Buell says, “Anything is possible. Always go for it regardless of whether or not you think someone else could do it better.”

Bailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/11/web1_Bailey-at-OU_2.jpegBailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110. Submitted photos

Bailey Buell is shown performing during her days as a Graham Dancin’ Band from Falconland member.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/11/web1_Bailey-at-GHS_1.jpegBailey Buell is shown performing during her days as a Graham Dancin’ Band from Falconland member. Submitted photos

Bailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2022/11/web1_Bailey-at-OU_1.jpegBailey Buell is the second-ever female field commander for the Ohio University Marching 110. Submitted photos
Second-ever female field commander of the OU 110

By Katie Milligan

Contributing writer

Reach Katie at [email protected]

Reach Katie at [email protected]