TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Mervin A. Durea

June 8, 1929 - February 15, 1995

From the TBDBITLetter

The first time I saw Merv Durea, he was walking across the Stadium parking lot, sousaphone on his shoulder, on his way to an Alumni Band rehearsal. It was my first time back to the Bandroom in many years but Merv put me at ease and saw that I had music and equipment. He offered me the chair next to his and I had the privilege of occupying it for the next fifteen years.

From the very first TBDBITL Reunion, Merv played a key role in our organization. Each year, during Reunion, he made a point of asking other early participants if they remembered when they "put the first one of these things together over a baloney sandwich." It was pretty much the truth. Over the years Merv served the Club as Reunion Chairman, President and Board of Governors member. He served on more committees than I can name. He was the Master of Ceremonies at every banquet we ever had. Much of the time, he took on the jobs that others had declined. His most recent project was his work with the Script Ohio Club, where he was involved day-to-day.

Not all of Merv's work was behind the scenes, however. He was a fixture in the Active Alumni Band's bass section since its founding. His work in radio made him a logical choice whenever a back-up announcer was needed. When the need for both speech and music was great, it was not unheard of for Merv to perform both functions simultaneously, announcing the numbers from behind his tuba. Merv was not particularly fond of his announcer role, but he enjoyed helping where he was most needed. "I don't want to, but I would love to" was his response when asked if he wanted to announce one typical Active Band concert.

When the HyperActive Band was formed, Merv was there. Merv's attendance record was one of the best. His specialty was playing the less convenient gigs, those that otherwise would have been tuba-less.

Everyone liked Merv. As a "creative follower" (his term) Merv was persuasive without being argumentative. His gentle good humor was a welcome addition to any gathering.

We're all going to miss Merv. Beyond his loss as a friend, everyone with any connection to TBDBITL will find themselves diminished in subtle ways. Merv enjoyed his life, his associations, and his time with TBDBITL, and his contributions will continue to enrich our lives for decades to come. Merv will not soon be forgotten.

I will remember Merv as I last saw him, walking across a parking lot, sousaphone on his shoulder, on his way home from a gig.

Merv was a member of the marching and in 1947 through 1949 and played sousaphone. He received the Elvin Donaldson Most Inspirational Alumni Band Member award in 1976.