New Pride of Oklahoma Director Embroiled in Controversy
Photo courtesy of the Pride of Oklahoma in 2010
Dr. Justin Stolarik, new band director of the Pride of Oklahoma, has drawn major criticism from students, parents, alumni and fans regarding the band's changes to policies and performance.
The primary criticisms cited by detractors include the band's revised pregame show, policies regarding freshmen and alternates being excluded from shows, and the themes and drill style of halftime shows. Vocal alumni and current band students insist that the new shows and drills are old-fashioned and too similar to shows performed by Stolarik's previous marching band, the University of Wisconsin.
Displeased alumni have started a Facebook group, "Restore the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band," garnering more than 6,000 likes. On Saturday, people chalked messages on the concrete and distributed flyers outside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, asking fans to stay silent and not cheer after the band's performances in protest. A website FireJustinStolarik.com has also surfaced.
More than 100 band members confronted Stolarik after the band's first football game with their concerns; they were later called to the office of the university president. The majority of the Pride's tuba section staged a boycott and skipped rehearsal on Monday to protest the changes.
Stolarik responded to the criticism in The Oklahoman:
For more information on this story, view The Oklahoman's full article and continuing coverage from the university newspaper, OU Daily.
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