At 51, Woman Lives Dream As Oldest Member Of ‘The Best Damn Band In The Land’

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Kris Tikson might blend in well in the Ohio State University Marching Band, but she stands out in one obvious way.

At 51, Tikson is the oldest member of The Best Damn Band In The Land. And it took her decades to get there.

When she was an undergrad at the university, she said that she felt her responsibility to be the first person in her family to finish college.

Years later, as an alumna, Tikson said that she sat in the stands watching the band perform at half time and felt an overwhelming sense of regret.

Tikson wiped away that regret, went back to college and made the band.

“It was literally a five-day-a-week, rigorous conditioning training program that I followed for eight months,” Tikson said.

She spent more than two hours each day practicing her mellophone.

In 2011, tryouts came and passed.

“I was cut on the final cut in 2011,” Tikson said, remembering the heartbreak.

With encouragement from others, Tikson again gave it the “old college try” and made it.

“I was overwhelmed and a little shocked, quite honestly that I actually did it,” Tikson said.

She said that she couldn’t have made it without her husband, her trainer and her music teacher.

Tikson’s peers in the band recently voted her “most inspirational,” much to the pleasure of their director.

“I’m just thrilled at their decision,” Band Director Jon Waters said. “It shows what great kids we have here. She is an inspiration. She is, she has inspired us all.”

Tikson said that she hoped others would learn from her experience.

“Refuse to give up on your dreams,” she said. “Just refuse.”

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