George Ryan, Carl Rath, Eldon Matlick to be honored in Norman

Former Pride announcer Ryan and OU music professors Rath and Matlick earn local honors next week:

[The honorees] all are involved in making art a bigger part of our lives in Norman and all will be honored Thursday at the annual Fall Arts Luncheon, hosted by the Business and the Arts Committee of the Norman Chamber of Commerce.

… Ryan served as the PA announcer for The Pride of Oklahoma and later OU football games at Owen Field. He is an audio engineer, mixing and making sure the audience can enjoy the performances, whether it is a sporting event broadcast by ESPN or Fox Sports, musical theatre from the Lyric or the sounds of the OKC Philharmonic. Anyone who has been to a concert or musical in the Oklahoma City-Norman area or watched a Sooner football or basketball game on ESPN has experienced the purity of sound by Ryan.

He has begun teaching classes at OU in the Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts, passing his talents on to the next generation of audio engineers. He continues his teaching schedule despite travel all over the country to work for the networks of ESPN and Fox. He also has volunteered his talents since the beginning to do the audio production at the annual Sullivan Family Concert.

Rath, an associate professor of bassoon at OU, is the founding member of Midlife Crysis. He also is the principal bassoon for the OKC Philharmonic. While he dreamed of bringing The Beatles to his classes, he has been bringing 1964 – The Tribute to Norman for 15 years.

Another OU professor of music, Matlick developed an interest in art as a 15-year-old. When he was a senior in high school, he began to get calls to play as an extra horn with the Louisville Orchestra. He spends his time these days teaching at OU and performing with the OKC Philharmonic, the Oklahoma Brass and Woodwind quintet and solo recitals in addition to his gigs as the bass guitarist with Midlife Crysis.

(Via the Norman Transcript.)

OU 59, Middle Tennessee State 0

Believe it or not, the Sooners are now halfway through the 2006 home season. On Saturday night, the team posted the middle Big 12 shutout of the weekend, defeating the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University 59-0. That was ahead of Nebraska’s 56-0 shutout of Troy, but behind Texas Tech’s 62-0 drubbing of (Division I-AA) SE Lousiana. (In fact, OU is the only Big 12 South team that does not play a Division I-AA team this season. Even Texas plays I-AA Sam Houston State next week. Rhett Bomar is not expected to play.)

The Pride performed an entirely new show that slowly worked backward in time, to greater and greater crowd approval. The show began with a brand-new Roland Barrett arrangement of Styx’s Mr. Roboto (1983), followed by the Benny Goodman-Gene Krupa classic concert tune Sing Sing Sing (1936 – written by Louis Prima, which I did not know), and ending with the National March of the United States, John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever (1896). The Pride performed traditional countermarch drill (flips, to-the-rear, and all those other things “rarely seen in the 21st century” outside of College Station) to the Stars and Stripes, to the great appreciation of the sell-out home crowd at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

It was also Pride Parents Day, and hundreds of proud Pride moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents enjoyed lunch in the band room, photos with their Pride member, and participated in the parade to the stadium. See the Pride’s MTSU photo album for lots of pictures, including some of staff parents!

The Sooners are idle this week, as the originally scheduled OSU game was moved to the Saturday after Thanksgiving several months ago. Next up: the beginning of Big 12 conference play in the Cotton Bowl! That’s right – OU’s next game is vs. Texas, on October 7. ABC Sports (sorry, “ESPN on ABC”) intends to broadcast the game nationally and has moved the kickoff time back to 2:30 PM to accommodate that. has confirmed with KOCO-DT in Oklahoma City that ABC will broadcast the game in HDTV, too!

The Pride is now preparing an all-new show to debut at the Cotton Bowl. It’s theme is similar to the past several Texas shows, if that’s a hint. I can only tell you that I call it the “Something of Something Else” show. (I doubt that title will stick.) If you want details, drop by a Pride rehearsal this week or next, or see the band at one of the stops on the Texas trip. We’ll post a link to the Pride’s itinerary as soon as they have one up.

Homecoming is just two weeks after Texas, so watch the Web site for news. There is still a very limited window to order caps and visors, and we’re starting to post the list of confirmed 2006 homecoming marchers. You must be a member of our Web site to see the list. If you’re not, then register – it’s absolutely free! (Make sure you don’t spam-filter the registration confirmation that you’ll get from to complete the sign-up.) If you’re a member but can’t get to the list, then log in so we know you’re you and let you see the list.

We’ll have more info this week on upcoming OU Band department concerts, too. Enjoy the week off, and let’s get ready for some barbecued moo-cow!

Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33

If it felt like last year’s Texas Tech game to you, well, you weren’t alone – except this time, instead of wringing their hands and moaning about the unknowable, the TV commentators very clearly said that OU got robbed by the referees on the onside kick call. Note that this was a national TV audience – by this point, Louisville’s trouncing of Miami (FL) had ceased to be interesting, and all of ABC’s affiliates showed the end of the OU-Oregon game.

You can’t blame the Ducks, though – they played the kind of good hard football for 60 minutes that all Sooner fans love to see. You can’t blame a Duck for grabbing an onside kick; you have to rely on the officials to correctly assess the facts. (It reminds one of the old political adage that “you have to win it big enough that they can’t steal it at the last minute.” But maybe I’m bitter. It’s entirely possible.)

The loss in Eugene drops our beloved Sooners to 2-1 for the year, but still 0-0 in conference play. The aggies and the Aggies are now the only two undefeated teams in the Big 12 South division, but it should be noted that for each school, one of those victories is against a Division I-AA team. In the Big 12 North, Kansas State and Missouri are both 3-0, but just as in the south, both of those teams have one win each over I-AA opponents.

The Pride sent a 125-member pep band to Eugene, OR, for the game, and they were miked well and showed up many times on television. The trip photo album is available online.

Up next for the Sooners: hosting the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday night at 6:00 PM. The Blue Raiders, members of the Sun Belt conference, are 2-1, with one victory over a I-AA team.

Saturday is also Pride Parents’ Day, where proud parents of pride progeny parade with panache! If you’re participating, check the official schedule for the day, mirrored in our own OUBAA calendar.

The game was not chosen for television broadcast by the Big 12’s broadcast partners (ABC, Fox Sports, and TBS), so that means it can only be shown via pay-per-view. The $30 broadcast is being produced by FSN, and should be available for order this week on any cable system in Oklahoma plus on both major satellite dish providers (DirecTV and DISH Network). Kansas City Chiefs’ radio voice Mitch Holthus provides play-by-play on the broadcast, with color by Dean Blevins and OKC-NO Hornets broadcaster Sean Kelly on the sideline.

And finally, check out these pages if you’re interested in the band program at Middle Tennessee State University, including the marching band program, the Band of Blue. Go Sooners!

OU 37, Washington 20

Our Sooners remain undefeated after holding off late challenges from the Washington Huskies at Owen Field on Saturday afternoon. In the first game ever telecast from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in high-definition television (HDTV, courtesy ABC Sports), the Huskies and Sooners battled to a 13-13 tie at halftime. In the second half, though, the Sooner’s offense woke up and scored 24 unanswered points. Washington mounted a late drive to bring the score to 37-20 but had to leave it there.

The Pride performed the same show as at the home opener, but this time to the “student” (east side) stands – a medley of songs from the “infamous” rock group Queen, Sheryl Crow’s tune Real Gone from the movie Cars, and Strike Up the Band. The concert tune played to the south end zone stands (it couldn’t flip exactly 180° from last week or it would have played to the southwest corner, where there are no stands – just the visiting locker room, oops).

The Pride’s photo album of the Washington game is now online for your perusal. Especially fun is the top row of page 2, where you’ll find a photo of Dr. Roland Barrett with his daughter at the game, followed by three of OU President David Boren visiting the band just before halftime. (Who’s that guy in the blue coat playing snare drum in that one picture?)

Up next for the Sooners: a rematch of the 2005 Holiday Bowl, as Oklahoma travels to Oregon for a 2:30 PM (CDT) game also to be televised in HDTV on ABC Sports (regional coverage). The Pride is sending a sizable pep band to the Beaver State to support the Sooners in what is likely to be the toughest game of the year so far.

After that, the Sooners return home to play Middle Tennessee State on September 23 at Owen Field. That is Pride Parents Day (registrations for that were due a few weeks ago), and we now know that kickoff has been set for 6PM CDT. The game is supposed to be televised via pay-per-view, but we don’t have details yet. Keep an eye on The Pride’s gameday schedule page as the date draws near; we’ll also keep our own calendar updated as we get more information.

Needless to say, Homecoming 2006 registrations are due this week. If you’re watching the OU-Oregon game and you haven’t mailed your registration, turn off the TV and get it to the post office immediately – registrations postmarked after September 16 may be used as insulation or a cheap source of fuel.

OU 24, UAB 17

The 2006 season got off to the right start, if not a barn-burning one, as our Sooners defated the Blazers from the University of Alabama-Birmingham 24-17 at Owen Field, in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The Pride of Oklahoma put 31 pages of drill on the field, a remarkable feat for a band that met for the first time just 16 days before halftime (first rehearsal was 7:30 PM on August 17). In a “something for everyone” show, the Pride performed a new medley of Queen songs (mostly featuring Bohemian Rhapsody), the Sheryl Crow song Real Gone from this summer’s Disney/Pixar blockbuster Cars, and an updated version of George and Ira Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band, all arranged by Dr. Roland Barrett. (The Strike Up the Band arrangement is substantially similar to Roland’s arrangement for the 1986 or 1987 Pride, for people with long memories, but I don’t think it’s been heard since then.)

Before the game, in addition to the normal Boomer Bash, pre-game concert, and parade to the stadium, a small pep band played at the unveiling of the new statue of Steve Owens in Heisman Trophy Park, just east of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. (If you see TV coverage of it, look for Pride director and alum Brian Britt providing the drumroll himself!) Check out this picture to see Steve Owens with the pep band!

The official Pride Web site already has pictures from the UAB game online for you to view and enjoy. Counting from the top of page 1, picture #13 and #14 are of Chauvin Aaron, leader of the Pride’s “running band” as featured in The Oklahoman on gameday. The Oklahoman’s pictures aren’t online, but the story is – read it if you haven’t had the chance.

Up next: OU hosts the Washington Huskies this Saturday, September 9, at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Our calendar has official performance times. The show will be the same as last week, but played to the east (“away”) side. KOCO-DT has confirmed that both this game and next week’s OU-Oregon game will be broadcast in HDTV! As far as we know, this will be the first football game broadcast from Owen Field in HDTV, and it makes a huge difference – at the 2004 Big 12 Championship, the HDTV audio was so clear that you could hear drum major Kyle Wiemar counting off the rah-rahs! If you have HDTV capability, be sure to use it for these games, and go Sooners!

Pride CD winners!

Oh boy, this was harder to judge than we’d expected! If you didn’t read all the great stories about Pride experiences, click here and read them now – you missed out!

I loved the stories about the Halloween shows and the one about trying to use string as yardlines for practice (ouch!), but the contest description clearly said that we were looking for (emphasis added):

…the best stories about their first OU game as members of the Pride of Oklahoma.

As much fun as those stories were, they weren’t “first game” stories and we had to pass them by – but you have our thanks for sharing them!

And the winner – OK, I can’t decide, winners – are:

  • John Hudson for “I’m glad Coach didn’t see me pick up my slide that I dropped” (and by the way, John, Coach wants to see you in his office next week about that&hellip)

  • Jay ‘Jamie’ Jones for “I told Coach I picked up my mouthpiece and he said ‘Next time, just leave it'”

  • Terri for “He’s not supposed to do that with the pylon, is he?” (No. No, he’s not.)

Congratulations to all three, and thanks to everyone who entered. This was so much fun that we’re going to do it again shortly, but this time for current Pride “Rah-Rah” CDs, so watch the site for the next contest announcement!