NORMAN — Music educator Dr. Justin Stolarik has been named director of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band at the University of Oklahoma.
Announcement of Stolarik’s appointment, which is subject to the approval of the OU Board of Regents, was made by Rich Taylor, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts.
Under the process, OU President David Boren makes the final recommendation of the appointment to the Board of Regents from among the three finalists determined by the search committee.
“Dr. Stolarik will have big shoes to fill. Brian Britt has done an outstanding job and has more than met my expectations since I selected him to lead the Pride 12 years ago,” Boren said. “In spite of my best efforts to convince him to stay, he decided to change roles to spend more time with his family. I respect his reasons for leaving, but we will greatly miss Brian Britt.”
If approved by the Regents, Stolarik also will serve as associate director of University Bands. Stolarik was selected after a careful and comprehensive process involving music educators, students and university leaders. He has a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in music education from the University of Florida and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
“The selection was a difficult one because there were three excellent finalists for the position,” Taylor said, “We eagerly await the arrival of Justin Stolarik. We believe he will bring an abundance of creativity to the Pride, one of the nation’s top university marching bands, as well as to our entire program,”
Taylor also noted that band students had the opportunity to interact with all three finalists during their interviews as well as submit comments following the interviews to be read and considered as part of the selection process.
“The Pride is of great importance to the university and to the entire state,” Boren said. “I carefully considered the advice of the search committee and personally listened to the interviews of the three finalists selected by the committee. I also read the comments of students about all three finalists and spoke personally with the directors under which the finalists currently serve. All three were outstanding.
“I was impressed by Dr. Stolarik’s creativity and clear commitment to students. All of us are determined that our band will continue to be truly ‘the Pride’ of Oklahoma.”
Stolarik has provided leadership for university marching bands in four states, including Texas, Florida, Arkansas and most recently, Wisconsin, where he is currently the assistant director of the marching band and assistant director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to his duties as the assistant director, he also oversees the Wisconsin Drumline and the Marching Percussion Program.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Wisconsin, he served as the assistant director of bands at Henderson State University, where he co-directed the marching band, conducted the symphony band and Reddie basketball band, taught courses in marching band techniques and wind conducting, and was a frequent guest conductor in the Department of Music.
In addition to athletic bands, he has arranged for the Dallas Wind Symphony and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble as well as instrumental back-ups for a wide variety of professional musicians and rock bands. He is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi (Alpha Tau) and Tau Beta Sigma (Beta Gamma and Theta Theta).