NORMAN, Okla.- Senior members of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band have been fighting changes to deep rooted traditions made by new director, Justin Stolarik.
Before the season started the marching bands Stolarik reassured fans that changes would not be made to the fanfare but that’s only a small part of their pregame performance.
The small changes that were made to the rest of the pregame march have band members upset, so they went to President Boren.
Senior members felt like Boren took their concerns seriously as they presented their list of demands this week.
Mellophone player Isaac Blaxton says, “I did not at all expect for it to just escalate that quickly to where I was being called into the President’s office for a meeting.”
Less than confident about their season opener performance, President Boren reassured them. Telling them everything he’s heard has been positive, but Blaxton strongly disagrees.
Blaxton says, “I don’t know who you are hearing that from but no one we’re talking to feels the same way.”
Blaxton says he’s heard talk around campus about laughter from the student section during their pregame and halftime performances.
“I know people can tell that something is different,” says Blaxton. “Something wasn’t as good as what they were expecting from the Pride of Oklahoma.”
Seniors in the student section confirmed Blaxton’s worst fear.
OU student Cattie Horan says, ‘The student body we kind of vibe off of what they’re giving us and I didn’t feel the same way that I had previously. We’re a school based on traditions and I was kind of disappointed to see that things are starting to change.”
He and other senior members came up with the list of demands, with better communication between members and new Stolarik at the top.
Blaxton says, “We need the director to tell us what we’re doing wrong so we can fix it.”
Another change under new direction has been a decrease in freshman members that get to march the field. Blaxton says many of the freshmen sat on the sidelines Saturday.
“I want the freshmen in Pride to have the same experience that I’ve had for the last four years,” says Blaxton. “That’s really who I’m fighting for.”
He feels like getting rid of Stolarik would put them back at square one.
‘There are a lot of us who have been here for four years and of course change is hard,” says Blaxton. “I didn’t really want to change anything but some of the stuff he is doing is good.”
In a statement from President Boren he says, “the meeting was pleasant and very constructive.”
We could not reach Director Stolarik for comment but Blaxton did say that their relationship has already approved since their meeting Tuesday and they are hopeful for a better performance for fan this weekend.