Concert Tonight, November 22!

I know, I know, I’m as swamped as everyone else. I didn’t even make it to the last concert, though I wasn’t feeling well that night. But I’m carving out time to go to this one, and I hope you will too. It’s the final symphonic wind concert of the semester (and therefore of the 2010 calendar year), and it’s got something for everyone who likes symphonic winds.

First, the Symphony Band with Brian Britt and Debra Traficante conducting, alternating at the podium in that order. The program begins with the fourth and final movement, “Allegro con brio,” from Giannini’s Symphony No. 3 for Symphonic Band. I remember playing this under then-Mr. Wakefield on the stage of Holmberg Hall back in the second half of the 80s (the 1980s, thankyewverymuch); you may recall it starting with some brass hits and a massive wind scale downward with enough accidentals in it to make me angry. Perhaps a 30-second iTunes preview (track #15) would jog your memory, but if not, take my word that it’s fast and a good opener.

That’s followed by Aaron Copland’s Down a Country Lane (arranged by Merlin Patterson), Malcolm Arnold’s English Dances for Band, Set I, Op. 27 (arranged by Maurice Johnstone—these would be the ones not as popular in the 20-plus years that Set II has been available, so I’m looking forward to hearing them), and concludes with Samuel Hazo’s Ride, a piece in honor of Jack Stamp inspired by “trying to follow Jack at the top speed a country road can be driven.” (I’m still listening to Asphalt Cocktail from a spring concert regularly, so this should be fun as well!)

After an intermission, the Wind Symphony take the stage. DMA candidate Wilson Wise conducts Samuel Barber’s Commando March (another favorite), and DMA candidate Brian Wolfe follows directing La Procession du Rocio, Op. 9 by Joaquin Turina, arranged by the late Alfred Reed in 1962. Bill Wakefield then directs the first movement of Steven Bryant’s Alchemy in Silent Spaces, “I. the logic of all my dreams.” I have this on CD from BCM International (a disc that includes Godzilla Eats Las Vegas, FYI), and it is a departure from most of Bryant’s other work. As he puts it in the program notes:

The opening is sparse, utilizing mallet percussion, harp, and piano to create a floating sense of timelessness. This gradually builds over several minutes, ultimately launching itself into a grandiose, warm, harmonically consonant blanket of sound, after which it concludes with a single chord repeated four times at pianissimo. The music is for the most part delicate and quiet, relying on silence and space to create drama, rather than the relentless rhythmic energy common to many of my other works.

And then the program concludes, because it’s Dr. Wakefield and there’s only so long he can go without performing this, Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from the opera Lohengrin, by Richard Wagner. Now, you might think from my bemused tone that I dislike this piece, and that’s not true at all—it’s beautiful, sonorous, powerful and delicate in different sections. You can easily imagine the “long train of ladies, magnificently attired, proceed[ing] slowly, finally ascending the steps of the church,” followed by Elsa herself. It’s gorgeous, and it’s taught more wind players how to listen to each other, how to play as a tuned ensemble, than just about anything I can think of.

Yet I was a bass clarinetist (as some of you know), and my part to Elsa’s Procession pretty much consisted of holding a concert E♭2 (Es in German notation) for about three weeks. Measures and measures and measures of whole notes of one pitch, tied together, at slower than 60 beats per minute. On the instruments of my day, this was only one whole step above the lowest note a bass clarinet could play, but it was a nice resonant note and easy to play in tune. That helped, because I think Elsa’s Procession contributed to more bass wind players developing asthma and breathing problems than an explosion at a ragweed processing plant. It took a lot of air, especially to keep it focused and in-tune while playing softly. I think my niece has the better idea. She plays double bass and can hold a low sustained tone for hours and still breathe normally.

But that was the standard transcription by Donald Hunsberger from 1970. This is a new transcription that’s even more faithful to the original, starting out in A♭ and eventually ending not in the wind-friendly key of E♭ concert, but in the original string-friendly key of E major concert. Since it’s Wagner, I guess we’re just lucky he didn’t spell it as “C♯-triple-sharp,” but I’ll bet he thought of it. With increased fidelity to the original score and the help of string players to save future low woodwinds from a life of breathing difficulties, I’m really looking forward to this in the resonance of Sharp Hall. No, seriously, I’ve been humming it in my mind all day, at least while sitting down so I don’t run out of breath. “:-)”

The concert starts at 8:00 PM in the aforementioned Sharp Hall. As a Sutton Series concert, tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for FSSS (faculty, students, staff, and senior citizens), available at the Fine Arts Box Office in Catlett Music Center right outside Sharp Hall. I hope you can start your Bedlam Week by listening to some good pre-Thanksgiving music. If you’re too far away, it’s scheduled for live streaming from the OU School of Music, so crank up your browser and hum along. Do turn out!

Playoff proponents don’t have it yet

Note: This is a personal rant, and represents only my opinions. These are not the opinions of OUBAA, OU, or the Band Department, none of whom employs me, and I speak for none of these groups or institutions. I speak only for myself. If your opinion differs and you’re an OUBAA member, log in, click on the “Discuss” link, and post your response. If you’re not a member, start your own blog and publish your opinion. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

Last night, I was reading Jerry Palm’s wonderful CollegeBCS site, and he recommended the new bok Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series. If you’ve heard me on this before, you know I’m an extreme skeptic of the playoff proposals, but Palm said this book was worth reading even if—no, especially if you’re opposed to a playoff or like the BCS.

So I fired up the ol’ iPad and downloaded the free preview from iBooks to read before bedtime last night. (This is one of those strange books where the electronic version costs more than the print version, $11 vs. $10, and that’s for both iBooks and Kindle.) All I got was the introduction and the first few pages of chapter 1, where they lay out their playoff proposal first to show they’re not just tearing down the BCS.

Given that, I freely admit I am at a disadvantage: the authors may explain their arguments comprehensively in the 180-or-so pages I did not read. They may justify some of their statements, they may present evidence. But from the introduction alone, the most charitable thing I can say is that they don’t have the case for a playoff yet. The first reaction is that they’re full of…Bevo droppings.

They start out by saying how corrupt the BCS is, how all the money goes to a few schools that systematically exclude others to preserve power, how the bowls are corrupt and costs schools more to play in than they get back, and all the usual arguments, with no proof (yet—I’ll admit that probably comes elsewhere in the book). Then we get to this lovely passage:

The outdated bowl system blocks progress with its white-knuckle grip on the sport. Forget the month of football nirvana a playoff would provide. Today, the schools lose, the fans lose, and the sport itself loses. Doesn’t matter, because the suits win, quite handsomely, and to defend the indefensible they resort to bad arguments, anything to quiet the din for a playoff.

“How would band members, cheerleaders, and other students make holiday plans knowing their team might play one, two, or three games on campus during the time they are normally home with their families?” BCS executive directory Bill Hancock asked.

Apparently, inconvenienced cheerleaders are a prime defense for the BCS. Such rationale comes from hubris as much as foolhardiness. The BCS treats college football fans like they’re stupid. It takes credit for the rise in the sport’s popularity, comparing today’s title game to the mess of split championships that preceded it. It’s like trying to say a busted calculator is good because it’s newer than an abacus.

You’ll note here that the authors do not bother to explain how Hancock’s argument is “stupid,” but rather assume it’s self-evident that a playoff is more important than “inconvenienced cheerleaders.”

Let’s leave that aside for a moment and go on to their proposal, the only one that Jerry Palm himself says would work: a 16-team playoff involving the champions of all 11 conferences (“even the lousy ones”), plus five at-large teams. This meets the author’s three goals, which they state must met or a playoff proposal is dead on arrival:

  1. It must be more profitable in every imaginable way for colleges and universities.

  2. It must protect, if not increase, the value of the regular season.

  3. It must take academics into consideration, if only so presidents can save face for hteir long-standing hypocrisy on this issue.

The proposal:

Our plan for Division I-A football: a sixteen-team playoff that provides automatic bids for all eleven conference champions and at-large slots for five remaining teams. Yes, all eleven conference champions, even the lousy ones, determined through traditional means: either the regular season or conference title games, which would continue unabated. While no one would argue that the Sun Belt champ is one of the top sixteen teams in the country, its presence is paramount to maintaining the integrity and relevancy of the regular season. It creates incentive for regular-season success.

The best teams earn the highest seeds and are rewarded with home games for the first three rounds. The championship game is held at a neutral site. The No. 1 seed doesn’t just get rewarded with the weakest opponent—in most cases the Sun Belt champion—but the ensuing rounds on its home field. Finish fifth and face a first-round battle against a No. 12 seed most likely from a power conference, then a second-round game on the road. The difference between first and fifth is significant.

By playing games on campus, the tournament would also include what is perhaps the best part of college football: its historic stadiums and game-day environments. There’s no good reason to conduct playoff games in sterlie, often-under-capacity crowds at municipal stadiums in far-off cities when the incomparable feeling of The Swamp in Gainesville, The Horseshoe in Columbus, or the Coliseum in Los Angeles beckons.

And at that point, you should realize that these guys are either full of Bevo’s excrement, or are first-class idiots, or simply haven’t thought through their argument.

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
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19 20 21 22 23 24 25
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To the left here, you see a calendar of December 2010. Let’s apply this playoff format to this year, and assume for maximum “benefit” to the Sooners that they are the #1 seed in the playoffs. The Big XII championship, which the Sooners would have to have won, is on December 4.

Now, to be fully up-to-date on this argument, you need to be aware of the OU Fall 2010 Academic Calendar. It tells us that the final day of classes is Friday, December 10. That would mean the Sooners would host a first-round “playoff” game on Saturday, December 11—the first day of finals. Now I don’t care how you feel about alleged “hypocrisy” of university presidents or how much you think football is a business instead of a sport: OU will not host 85,000+ people on campus on a day when 17% of all final exams are scheduled, and they’re not going to recalculate the extensive finals schedule for 22,000 people (finals usually take longer than exams, so they’re not held at the same time as regular classes, as you remember) to do it in five days, or seven, or eight.

Why not? Presuming the Sooners win that game, the next game would be on December 18—the day after the dorms close for the semester. Since freshmen are all but required to live in the dorms, this is not a matter of a few “inconvenienced cheerleaders.” Even those students who live independently off-campus are making plans for the holiday, but those who live in the dorms must go home by this point. The University is not going to keep all the dorms and cafeterias open for four extra weeks to accommodate students who want to stay for football games that might happen. No matter how much money the authors think this would pour into the schools, it’s not enough to pay for that kind of extra housing and food.

But more than this, the last quoted passage betrays that the authors think of college football as a mini version of the NFL: you just pay the people to run the stadium and everything else takes care of itself. That’s not how college football has ever worked, nor how it works today. You can’t talk about “the incomparable feeling” of home stadiums without considering that at this time of year, half the student section (plus the band, plus the cheerleaders, plus the Ruf-Neks to drive the Schooner, plus uncountable other student non-player participants) simply would not be there. The Pride is not going to hold rehearsals for shows during finals or after classes end. This is not an “inconvenience” to band members, this is the difference between showing up and performing like the group that you are vs. going through the motions, or risking academic failure by adding more sports activities during and after finals.

If you can count by sevens, you can see that the third-round game would take place on Christmas Day. Oh, OK, they may say that’s a holiday so it’s moved to Monday, but is that really any better scheduling for thousands of OU students who live out-of-state—and who know they can see the game on TV even if they don’t show up? The “incomparable feeling” of home football games does not just happen because ESPN wants it. It’s based not just on traditions, but on the hard work of hundreds of people who would have no place to live in Norman during this alleged “easy” playoff time. If you hold the semi-finals and finals after the break, that puts them around January 8 or January 15, when January 18 is the start of the spring semester. The authors may like to think that major schools are going to completely rework the academic year to fit their proposed football playoff schedule, but I’m telling you that I just don’t see that happening. OU is a university first, and football is part of that. The university drives football, not the other way around. If you think otherwise, you’ve spent no time dealing with the mechanics of putting on a game.

And speaking of those atmospheres, there may not be much against holding playoff games in Gainesville, or Los Angeles, or Miami. In Columbus? On the first such playoff date there would have been last year (December 10, 2009), the high temperature in Columbus was 21°F, with a lot of 15°F, with winds averaging 18mph. It was about the same a week later; two weeks later they saw a relative heat wave with a high of 39°F and a low of 26°F. There is no indication of precipitation on those days, but had there been snow in the previous days, it would have still been all over the stadium.

On December 10, 2009, the high temperature in Eugene, OR (home of the Oregon Ducks) was 20°F and the low was 8°F. And in the home of the Broncos, the darling of the “kill the BCS” movement, teams playing on December 10, 2009 in Boise, ID would have found a high of 19°F, a low of 0°F, and snow 2.00 inches deep (in a month that had already seen 3.3 inches of snowfall). It was much better a week later, but that’s as much by random chance as anything. There’s a reason most bowl games take place in the south or in domed stadiums.

I don’t mean to say that a playoff can never work in college football, but proponents of this system are conveniently ignoring a huge set of problems, or writing them off as something trivial that the big pile of more alleged money (and keep in mind that the current ESPN BCS contract is worth less than the last FOX contract, casting serious doubt on the persistent argument that there’s a bunch of money there) could fix. The only way this kind of playoff could work is if the regular season schedule were shortened so that at least the first two rounds of playoff games were done by the second Saturday in December. (You could theoretically move the season up two weeks, but that would be starting in mid-August, in 100°F temperatures, and starting before the dorms open. That has all the same problems of playing too late into the year but with heat instead of cold, and still no place for students to live.)

But moreover, nearly every one of these polemics rails against the corruption of bowl games, conferences, the BCS, and so on, but they don’t attack the biggest problem: sportswriters. They’re the biggest ones arguing for a playoff because sportswriters want two things:

  1. They want the story to change every week so there’s always something new to write about. (ESPN has been promoting tonight’s OU-Missouri game as a chance for the #1 team to be knocked off for the third week in a row. The OU-Texas promotions were all about how Texas “must” win to get back on top. You may have noticed that ESPN is promoting tonight’s game as involving “#1” OU even though OU is #3 in ESPN’s own poll. They use whatever ranking makes the game seem more dramatic.) They want upsets, they want constant change.

  2. They want to control who plays for the championship without having any responsibility for it. You need no more evidence of this than the 2004 season, which ended with three undefeated teams (OU, USC, and Auburn). The BCS broke the tie by putting OU and USC in the championship game, and the AP (which had USC as #1) responded by demanding that the BCS stop using its poll to determine BCS rankings.

    At the time, AP voters made a lot of noise about not wanting to be “responsible” for who gets left out of the national championship, but you know what? When USC won its game, the AP presented its own national championship trophy to USC, and the AP continues to do so to the school at the top of its final poll every season. The sportswriters want the benefits of picking the teams (and five at-large teams would give them that), while not being held responsible for the consequences of their votes. The entire playoff debacle is a none-too-subtle attempt to shift any blame onto everyone else.

The arguments that “every other sport” has a tournament or an NCAA-recognized championship simply ignore the fact that football is bigger, and that matters. The NCAA basketball championship seats maybe 25,000 people, with maybe 120 student participants from each school (including all players, coaches, band and cheer people) traveling—all coming into a city that’s prepared for the event for a few years. The playoff games these authors propose would bring 80,000 to 100,000 people into a college campus, perhaps during finals, on no more than one week’s notice, perhaps in extremely inhospitable weather. This difference matters. You simply cannot pretend that it’s like basketball or the College World Series and expect anyone who’s been involved with a game to take you seriously.

The infuriating part is how these authors, and dozens like them, simply assume that all of college football happens once they wave their magic sportswriter wants and declare a game will be played on a given date in a given place. In the faster-paced TV world, the equivalent would be to be told that you have to do a live show in three hours, lasting 1-2 hours, with no pre-prepared material. They’d never go for that, but they never seem to think similar problems for other people are any kind of issue at all. This playoff schedule will not work.

Again, not having read the book, they may have attempted to address all these arguments. However, a book’s introduction usually lays out the arguments in short and promises proof later on. This book’s introduction starts with name-calling and proceeds to dismiss the massive scheduling problems as “inconvenienced cheerleaders,” just dripping with sarcasm. It’s difficult to assume the rest of the book is more rigorous or better argued. If you’d like to spend money understanding the BCS, I would recommend you spend $15 on a subscription to Jerry Palm’s CollegeBCS site. Even though he recommended the book, his extensive data and analysis make it far more useful than a book by three authors who, quite frankly, do not seem to understand how “the incomparable feeling” of college football actually happens.

It’s “saxeT” week!

The Sooners won another “squeaker” last night, holding off a late surge from a very good Cincinnati team (two BCS bowl games in the past two years) to move up to 4-0.

Our conference compatriots from Austin did not fare as well. It was late in the 4th quarter before sɐxǝʇ scored a touchdown against UCLA to bring the score to UCLA 27, sɐxǝʇ 13. sɐxǝʇ then attempted an onside kick and a) was offsides, and b) kicked it out of bounds anyway. If that doesn’t tell you how the Longhorns’ day went, consider this: UCLA took that possession and scored again, making the score 34-13. On the resulting deep kick-off, sɐxǝʇ fumbled the kick-off and gave the ball back to UCLA on the sɐxǝʇ 22 yard line with 1:05 to play. That’s when the moo cows threw in the towel. The previous time UCLA visited Austin, they held the Longhorns to zero touchdowns and beat them 66-7 or so back in 1997.

But of course, the Pac-10 is entirely overrated (pardon me while I roll my eyes). And after the game on ESPN, John Saunders recapped both scores and said “So, yeah, not real impressive performances from either OU or Texas this week.” As if holding off a BCS team at their home is somehow comparable to losing to an unranked team at your home field. Sigh.

Nonetheless, it’s sɐxǝʇ week for the Sooners and Longhorns, with the Red River Rivalry kicking off at 2:40 PM Saturday afternoon at The Original Cotton Bowl on the grounds of the Texas State Fair. ABC-TV has either national or regional television coverage, with coverage maps available later this week. The 4-0 Sooners will surely be ranked higher than the 3-1 Longhorns, but after being embarrassed at home by unranked UCLA, sɐxǝʇ will be loaded for bear in a high-emotion game. Historically, the Longhorns do best against Bob Stoops’s teams when the OU quarterback either is or becomes injured, and I think they may be desperate enough to consciously realize that. It could get ugly, but let’s hope not.

We’ll update the Events calendar with information about the weekend as we get it. We know the Friday morning stop-over for rehearsal is in Pauls Valley this year, and we’ll keep a watch out for the Friday night performance, the pep band appearances, and any other cheer-for-the-Sooners opportunities we may see.

Then it’s a bye week and then Homecoming 2010. The registration deadline has passed, but if you missed it, go ahead and register but be sure to add the name of the marcher and your phone number in the final comments on the order, so Rita can call you if there are any problems or questions. Priority obviously goes to those who beat the deadline (and so many thanks to all of you who did!) but we like to be as flexible as we can in the name of letting everyone participate who wants. So go ahead and register, but leave that phone number in case there are issues.

It’s going to be a big game on Saturday in Dallas. Get your crimson and cream ready, whether you’re in the Cotton Bowl or in your easy chair. BOOMER SOONER!

The Air Force (Academy) Is Coming

In case you’ve been living under a rock this week, the one true dominant story about this week’s football game centers around Pregame, but not around anything the Pride does. The tension between people who find it in spirit to end the National Anthem with “home of the SOONERS” and those who do not has been brewing for some time, but when Coach Stoops speaks, it becomes front page news in the Oklahoman. And I’m not exaggerating; I wish I’d saved an image of Wednesday’s front page, but only the current front page is viewable online.

As for me—sing “home of the brave.” One of the freedoms the National Anthem represents is the freedom to sing whatever words you like, or to not sing at all, or do whatever else you want. As a state agency, the University wouldn’t dream of ordering people to say one thing and not another, much less sing them. But the National Anthem ends with “home of the brave.” A song with the same tune that ends with different words is not the National Anthem. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” is the same tune as “God Save the Queen.” Words matter.

If people are free to burn flags as a form of speech, they can certainly alter the words to the National Anthem if they wish—but they should realize that they’re not singing the National Anthem, and that in itself means something. I sing the words as written for the same reason I don’t have pizza delivered to church or play Frisbee Golf in cemetaries: it’s disrespectful, even if not intended that way. I speak only for myself, and not OU or OUBAA or any combination of any letters, so your mileage may vary.

All the attention has certainly let people know what’s going on at halftime, though: a joint performance with the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as with the Singing Sooners, to salute the armed services. Col. Alan Bonner is guest conductor for the National Anthem (arranged well before Anthemgate), and there are multiple flyovers planned for the game. It should be lots of fun!

Even so, the Sooners have their work cut out for them. Air Force is undefeated, and if the polls extended beyond the top 25, they would be ranked either #29 or #30. They defeated BYU last week, something the 2009 Sooners did not accomplish. They’re a clever and talented team with a great opportunity to show they mean business, and I’m pretty sure the football team is taking them very seriously. I know I am.

Fox Sports Networks have regional rights to telecast the game, so check your local listings for the 2:37 PM (CDT) kickoff.

Meanwhile, there are only eight days left to register for Homecoming 2010! I’m shouting because eight days is not very long! We are now less than a month away from the event itself, and registrations are due next weekend (see the big red box at the top of the home page for a countdown). If you have not registered, do so online as soon as you can, or download the newsletter and get it in the mail. The deadline is Saturday, September 25. Did I mention that’s eight days from now? Oh, good!

Hope to see everyone at the game on Saturday. BOOMER SOONER!

Register NOW for homecoming!

Rita Heath has now sent out the 2010 OUBAA Newsletter to everyone she can find via E-mail. If you did not get one somehow, you can grab a slightly down-resolution copy of it here in PDF format. (This version is 1.3MB, compared to the 3.5MB version she sent in E-mail, just to keep the server from crying if you all download it 12 times.)

The registration deadline for “Homecoming 2010” is September 25, 2010. That’s just three weeks after the first home game this weekend. If you need reminding, look near the top of the home page and see the Counting Red Box of Reminding.

As with last year, you can register online for Homecoming 2010, including extras like tickets, lunch tickets, extra shirts (new red shirts this year, which is why one is included it in every marcher’s registration), optional embroidery, and all that fun stuff. Payment is processed by PayPal, so you can use any major credit card or, of course, your PayPal account.

Two notes, just to be clear:

  1. When an item has optional information, like the text to embroider on your shirt or the info about your years in Pride and instrument borrowing, enter all of that before you click “Add to Cart.” Every time you click “Add to Cart,” you’re adding a new item to your cart. (Fear not, you can always edit the cart and remove whatever you want.) But for easiest registration, make sure you’ve provided all of an item’s options before adding it to your cart.

  2. We add a small “shipping” fee to each item to account for the fees that PayPal (and frankly, every credit card processor) deducts from the purchase price. This is not actual shipping, it’s just fee recovery. Since we’re not paying PayPal a big chunk of change for “merchant services,” it’s the best of the limited options available.

    This only gets confusing if you want extra shirts mailed to you. If you don’t, you can safely skip the next paragraph.

    If you do want extra shirts mailed to you, that requires a separate $5 fee (for each shirt) that you must add separately to the cart. If you intend to come pick up the shirts yourself, you should not add the $5 shipping item to your cart. The “shipping” that PayPal adds automatically is unrelated to mailing shirts, and amounts to something like 2.5% of the total purchase price because that’s roughly what PayPal charges OUBAA to do this for us. Since a huge percentage of you used online registration last year, it’s an insurance policy to make sure that 2.5% of a huge total doesn’t wind up costing the general fund several hundred dollars.

If you have any questions, contact me (the Webmaster) or Rita Heath and we’ll do our best to answer them. And don’t delay those registrations—they’re due three weeks from Saturday!

Gameday Saturday!

Unbelievably, it’s that time already. The Pride’s schedule is updated on our Events calendar.

Betty Wiseman relates that she will only have remaining inventory for sale on Parents Day (October 30) and for the last home game (November 13). You can reach Betty through the PRA Web site to inquire about OUBAA items and getting it shipped to you..

Hope to see you Saturday for the premiere of the 2010 Pride of Oklahoma!

This isn’t a plea for donations. It’s not a pitch for participation at homecoming.

Forget those two topics for a minute. You are a former Pride member, so you know what true Pride is. You know you’ve been part of something great – something wonderful. Those days are yours, a part of who you are, something no one can take away from you, memories you can share with 300 of your closest friends.

You have the opportunity to be a part of an organization created in 1951 to make an impact on current members of The Pride. And the dues for being a member of this organization are just $15 a year. Aside from sponsoring scholarships for Pride Members, the OU Band Alumni Association provides the current Pride members with a few extras at special times through the fall season.

Remember arriving on campus for auditions and camps before the rest of your fellow students and nothing was open? During Pre-Band Camp, we provide a Pizza party at a time when no other university sponsored meals are provided. For their trip to Dallas for the OU-Texas game, we put together “goodie” bags full of a variety of treats The Pride enjoys at the end of a long day. We would love to do more if we had the budget. If everyone paid the $15 annual dues, we would be able to do things like help purchase equipment for the band office, make contributions to the KKY/TBS Chapters, offer surprise bonuses/rewards for student staff, the possibilities are endless.

Have you been to Catlett? Have you seen the “Memory Wall”? Those box display cases in the hall were contributed by our association! We would love to be able to make that kind of a contribution again. Send your $15 annual dues, and then know that you’re responsible for all the great things the Pride receives from our group.

Being a part of the OU Band Alumni Association is offered as a solid, tangible connection that links you to the Pride no matter how long ago or how recently you became part of the tradition.

Boomer Sooner and live on university!

To join the association:

  1. Complete our membership form and document.write(“”.replace(/[a-zA-Z]/g, function(c){return String.fromCharCode((c=(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);}));send it to me. If you didn’t get the spring newsletter, you can download it here in PDF format.

  2. Pay your dues ($15 per member) online or mail them to:

    OU Band Alumni Association
    P.O. Box 297
    Norman, OK 73070-0297


Ways to receive association and Pride information:

  • Complete our membership form; then print & mail it in, or document.write(“”.replace(/[a-zA-Z]/g, function(c){return String.fromCharCode((c=(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);}));E-mail it. Being added to the association’s membership database will ensure you receive updates and information sent directly from the association.

  • Join this web site, either by logging in, or registering. This will enable you to receive bulletins sent by our Web site administrators.

  • Join FaceBook—Search for:

    • Pride of Oklahoma Band Alumni

    • Pride of Oklahoma – Official Page

    • Event—2010 OU Band Alumni Homecoming Weekend

    and for those of you who were in the Pride in the 1980’s

    • Event—80’s Pride of Oklahoma _ Reunion Homecoming 2010

    as well.

    Linking to these events in FaceBook is a good way to be in touch with fellow former Pride members whether you can attend homecoming or not.

    Feel free to create an event for your decade’s members, too!

Thank you for your time!

Rita Heath
OU Band Alumni Association

Colorado leaves the Big 12 for the Pac-10

And so it begins. From (ABC affiliate, channel 5 here in Oklahoma City for those of you who’ve been away a while):

The University of Colorado has made the first move, joining the Pac 10 conference on Thursday.

“This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth. The University of Colorado is a great fit for the Conference both academically and athletically and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10,” said Commissioner Larry Scott.

The move is not contingent on what Nebraska might do relative to the Big 10. The Buffaloes will begin play in the Pac 10 in 2012.

KOCO references an report that if Nebraska leaves the Big 12 (and this was before Colorado announced anything), the conference would simply dissolve.

I have no more insight (and perhaps less) into this than any of you do, so I can only guess. We’ve all heard the rumors that the Pac-10 is poised to invite the entire Big 12 South minus Baylor (and including Colorado, so that part’s obviously true) and become the Pac-16, or something renamed since it would then stretch from Seattle to College Station. We’ve heard that Nebraska and Missouri were invited to join the Big Ten, and lately I’ve read that while Nebraska has indeed been invited, Missouri has not and is (metaphorically) waiting in its prom dress for the Big Ten to ring the doorbell and take her to the dance.

OK, it was a bad metaphor. Sorry.

All I know is that CU is now gone. They had games scheduled against OU on October 25, 2014 (in Norman) and October 31, 2015 (in Boulder) that I’ve now removed from the Events Calendar.

Unlikely speculation? If Nebraska now stays in the Big 12 (far less probable now that CU has already bolted), the Big 12 can stay together if it adds a marquee football school—to the North division. (That would rule out a school like TCU.) I can think of names like Boise State and BYU, and with less successful football programs but a good academic reputation, the Air Force Academy — but these all seem unlikely for various reasons.

And since football is driving these issues, it’s also driving schools like Kansas crazy. Every story I’ve read, from raw speculation to “I have high-placed sources,” says that Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State are left out of all discussions (the Big Ten allegedly only wants Nebraska and Missouri, if both; the Pac-10 just got Colorado, and those six schools are the whole Big 12 North—the historic Big Eight Conference minus OU and OSU).

On the football side, due to existing schedules and TV contracts and such, the 2010 and 2011 schedules are pretty much untouchable as far as I know. OU will host Colorado in a Big 12 Conference game on October 30 (two weeks after homecoming) and travel to Boulder for a game on October 29, 2011. I don’t see how the 2010 schedule could change at this late stage in the game, and I’m having difficulty seeing how the 2011 schedule could change much. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

I would not bet a quarter that the Big 12 Conference will be operating for the 2012 football season. :-(:

Wind Symphony Honors Military with Free Spring Concert

The Wind Symphony appears on April 22 in a rare free concert in tribute to the men and women, past and present, of the United States military. Here’s the press release:

“Every piece selected for the concert is a patriotic tribute to their selfless service in defending our freedoms at home and abroad,” says William Wakefield, director of University Bands.

The University of Oklahoma School of Music presents the Sutton Concert Series with a special performance by the OU Wind Symphony at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 22, in Sharp Concert Hall. This concert is free and open to the public and will be streamed online at Visiting guest artists for the concert include Kevin Walczyk, composer-in-residence at the School of Music, and Ssgt. Joseph F. LeBlanc, clarinet, from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.

The concert honors those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The program for the concert includes “American Salute” by Morton Gould; “Vision of Souls,” a tribute to the victims of September 11, and “Symphony No. 2, Epitaphs Unwritten” both by Walczyk; “X” by Scott McAllister; and “Armed Forces Medley” arranged by Thomas Knox.

Wakefield says the concert is the culmination of a week-long celebration of Walczyk’s music, with additional concerts performed the week of April 18-22. Walczyk serves as Guest Composer-in-Residence with the OU School of Music. Throughout his stay, he will be meeting with student and faculty artists, coaching both rehearsals and performances of his compositions. Each night of his residency will feature a performance of one of his pieces.

Walczyk has devoted so much of his passion towards the OU School of Music and its students. He wrote his massive Symphony specifically with OU in mind, and will be a huge artistic benefit in his one-on-one interaction with the performers of his music.

“The audience is in for a musically moving experience, his voice is one that is rapidly making an impact on the international stage,” says Wakefield.

Additional concerts performed at 8 p.m., in Sharp Concert Hall, during week of April 18- 22 include:

  • Monday, April 19: Sutton Concert Series presents Faculty Brass Quintet performing “Divertimento.”

  • Tuesday, April 20: Sutton Concert Series presents OU Jazz Ensemble performing “Relaxin’ at Calarillo.”

  • Wednesday, April 21: Visiting Guest Artist Ssgt. Joseph LeBlanc performs the world premiere of “Bois de la Paixat 6 p.m., Pitman Recital Hall.

For ticket information on the above concerts, please call the Box Office at (405) 325-4101.

All Sutton Series performances are in OU’s Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd, in your OU Arts District! For up-to-date information call the Fine Arts Box Office at (405) 325-4101.

Many concerts are scheduled for live stream via Internet, to see a schedule visit . Please visit for a full calendar of events and performances at the School of Music. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the Box Office at (405) 325-4101

If you regularly attend the symphonic wind concerts at OU (and if not, why not? they’re great!), you may remember Walcyzk’s work. During the Homecoming 2008 concert, the Wind Symphony premiered the wind version of his Celebration Fanfare. Last February, trumpet soloist Brandon Ridenour performed Walczyk’s Concerto Gaucho: For Trumpet and Wind Ensemble in a memorable evening. The Symphony No. 2 is so new that you can’t view a score online, but you can read more about the piece and the consortium (led by OU) that commissioned it.

For information on obtaining tickets in advance, you can contact Danh Pham through that there link, which keeps spam harvesters from finding his address (that works for all of you, too; it’s why we use it rather than publish individual E-mail addresses where harvesters could find them).

If you don’t get advance tickets, you can still be seated (still for free) in the ten minutes prior to the start of the concert, but why take chances? Get tickets now from the Box Office, or get some for your whole group!

Homecoming 2010 is October 16!

The red box has returned to the Web site’s home page with this afternoon’s announcment that Homecoming 2010 is now officially on for October 16, when the Sooners take on Iowa State (in Norman, obviously).

Parents Day (not to be confused with the separate Pride Parents Day) is October 30 vs. Colorado.

Everyone (including your officers) just found out today, so it will take some time to get the process started on forms and registration and the like. Of course, given the realities of modern college football television contracts, we probably will not know the kickoff time until October 4, or perhaps as late as October 11 if something goes really strange. It seems more likely that we’ll know by October 4 (13 days ahead) because Saturday, October 9, is the Sooners’ bye week—one week after Texas, one week before homecoming. You can see all of this on our Events calendar if you wish.

Also, the band department also promises us an online (PDF) registration form for the annual alumni golf tournament later in the week, and we’ll link to that when we have it, too. With concerts in the next two weeks, as well, the activity is really starting to pick up for band folks!