NORMAN — A move to change the University of Oklahoma home football games’ pre-game band music has apparently been shelved.
OU officials on Tuesday released a statement from Justin Stolarik, the new Pride of Oklahoma band director, saying the band listened to its fans and have decided to keep the traditional pre-game fanfare.
“In our 109th year, I am pleased to join an organization with such an excellent heritage and to be working with such an outstanding group of 290 hard-working students,” Stolarik said. “We want to increase the intensity of the spirit of our fans while preserving the best of our traditions and seeking ways to continually enhance the performance.”
“The band believes in listening to the views of our many fans, and they have asked that we keep our traditional pre-game fanfare That’s exactly what we are going to do. While we have experimented with alternatives, we also listen carefully to our fans. By listening, we reached the conclusion that we would keep our traditional fanfare.”
As early as last week, the band was practicing the updated sequence with added content and increased tempo music. On Saturday, several students expressed excitement over the new sequence and were working to create precision in their movements. By Monday, formations were progressing well and the pre-game routine was coming together, Stolarik said.
OU President David L. Boren visited practice Monday. Pride members spoke with Boren and he congratulated them for many years of support for the university, team and fans.
“In my years here, I’ve seen us lose a few games, not many. But I have never seen The Pride lose a band contest. The Pride is undefeated, as far as I’m concerned,” Boren said to loud cheers.
As the band performed Monday, Boren said he was impressed with the routine and was looking forward to the public seeing it.
“I like it. I’m particularly impressed with the snap of the moves and how crisp everything is, I can’t wait to see it on game day,” Boren said.
Stolarik spoke before practice at Catlett Music Center about the new pre-game sequence.
“It is basically the same routine as before but with a faster tempo and more fan involvement. Most of the new music is official OU music with a few additions like ‘America the Beautiful,’ while retaining all the traditions and feel of the past 109 years,” Stolarik, who said.
Stolarik was named director of The Pride of Oklahoma in February. He came to OU from the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, where he was assistant director.
Students not wishing to be identified were either supportive or noncommittal about the new routine.
“Not many people will be able to see a big difference from the old routine; it still has the drum major strutting onto the field, all the well-known parts are the same, just faster. You will definitely recognize it as OU,” one Pride band member said.
“I really don’t want to comment. I just don’t want to get involved in all of that; I just want to do my thing on the field,” another band member said.
By Tuesday, the plan to change the sequence had been scrapped and work on the traditional opening resumed.
The Sooners open the season at home Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Monroe.