(Click any of the above images to open them in a gallery for a larger view)
In honor of the recent national championship win for The Ohio State University, we thought we would share a story related to another important football game from years past.
In 1954, Janet Bez was a sophomore at Ohio State. The football team had won all of their games and were on their way to the Rose Bowl. Janet simply had to go the game. At the time, Janet was the marching band’s librarian and secretary. The band was to attend to the game as they had raised sufficient funds to travel to Pasadena by train. The band was only open to men at this point in time but Janet was heavily involved nonetheless. Janet’s parents were accomplished musicians and Janet grew up with music lessons in their house. Her father, Dr. Paul Bez, was the chairman of the German Department at Capital University and played the flute. Sadly, Dr. Bez passed away in 1940. Janet’s mother, Winifred, married Dr. Karl G. Busch in 1942. Dr. Busch was the head of the Science Department at Capital University. Her mother, Winifred, played piano. In high school, Janet played the flute in the marching band, the violin in the orchestra and the piano in the dance band.
Janet was allowed to accompany the band to Pasadena by riding in the last remaining spot in the Pullman Roomette Car with other “band family”. It included directors and wives, some parents and sisters and the photographer. For the special occasion, Janet purchased a scarlet and gray plaid suit from Milgrim, a local Columbus boutique. Additionally, she brought along a new mouton lamb jacket that had been purchased from Lazarus. (Both items are pictured in the photographs above) Janet had a “chaperone” in the form of Lois Allen, who was the wife of Jim Allen, who played sousaphone in the band, and had been a librarian with the band as well. Prior to their departure, Lois had tea with Janet’s mother in order to meet her and inform her that she was to check up on Janet and keep on eye on her.
On the day of the game, January 1, 1955, the forecast claimed that is would be a beautiful day. It was still a little chilly so Janet and Lois wore their coats to the Rose Parade and game. Unfortunately, the forecast was wrong and it rained heavily all day. The girls were left to the elements as they had not brought along umbrellas. Not wanting to miss a minute of the game, they stayed for the entire game. Lois was wearing a baby leopard skin coat that separated and began falling apart by the end of the game. Janet’s lamb coat was soaked through and stank. The worst part was that the coat had to be worn throughout the trip home to Columbus. Janet tried to dry it out by hanging it near a fan in her compartment but it apparently smelled like she was sharing the room with a very wet dead animal.
This was not the end of Janet’s involvement with the band, however. Janet was very active with the TBDBITL Alumni Club acting as its first secretary and continuing in that role for 20 years. When the band allowed women to join the marching band in 1973, the alumni asked that they be allowed to choose the first woman musician to march onto the field in the Horseshoe and the chose Janet for the honor. Janet was also the first woman to conduct the National Anthem in Ohio Stadium, in 1983. Interestingly, Ohio State was playing Oregon that day and once again OSU emerged victorious. Janet continues to get together with the Alumni Band and urges budding artists to grab every chance that comes along.
Janet’s history with the band and her numerous accomplishment’s as a musician and an educator are to be praised and we are thrilled to be a part of that history by preserving her wardrobe and the wonderful story that accompanies it.