NORMAN – The director of the Pride of Oklahoma for the past two years, Justin Stolarik, today announced that he is stepping down as director of the University of Oklahoma’s marching band, effective immediately.
“I have accepted the decision of Director Stolarik to step aside in order to unify the Pride and maintain its tradition of being one of the greatest bands in America,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He has worked hard during his time at OU,” Boren said.
Stolarik said, “I care deeply about the Pride and applaud the tremendous effort of our students. I always wanted them to have a good experience and be exposed to new ideas.
“The support of my colleagues here and around the country has been gratifying. Expressions of appreciation from students have also been encouraging,” he said.
“I’m committed to doing everything I can to help unify the band and encourage the students’ success,” Stolarik said.
So that the Pride can immediately resume preparations for its upcoming performances, President Boren invited OU alumnus Brian Britt, who successfully led the Pride of Oklahoma for 12 years, to return to the University. Britt brought national recognition to the Pride during his previous service.
“I am extremely happy that Brian Britt has accepted my invitation to return to the University, where he will once again be the director of the Pride of Oklahoma and will also be associate dean of the Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts,” Boren said. “Brian has the strongest possible commitment to the Pride of Oklahoma, and his administrative experience will be of great benefit to the entire college as associate dean.
Boren said that Britt will begin work at OU today, meeting with members of the Pride at their rehearsal this afternoon.
“It is an honor to return to serve the University of Oklahoma and the Pride of Oklahoma’s student members at this challenging time,” said Britt, who also will be named to the Gene Braught Chair in Music, pending Regents’ approval. “I have absolute faith in these outstanding young men and women and their ability to help ensure that the Pride of Oklahoma is among the very best collegiate bands in the nation. Their unwavering commitment during this transition time will be the foundation for our collective success. Working together, we will lay the foundation for the Pride’s success for generations to come.”
Britt, who was first hired as director of the Pride in 2001, is active nationally as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, lecturer, percussion arranger, drill designer, and consultant and is involved with state and national music educator’s organizations. While serving as director of the Pride, he also was assistant director and coordinator of undergraduate studies, overseeing the entire program for the OU School of Music. In addition, he was conductor of the OU Symphony Band and instructed music education students in conducting, and upper-division and graduate students in marching band administration and techniques.
Born in Durant, Britt earned his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1987, the year the Pride was awarded the Sudler Trophy, and he remained at OU as a percussion graduate assistant for the Pride in 1987. In that role, he was responsible for creating and organizing audition materials for the OU Drumline, arranging percussion scores for all shows, and preparing the Drumline for performances.
While pursuing his graduate degree at OU, Britt worked fulltime at Norman High School as their assistant director of bands, and in 1989, became Director of Bands at Chickasha High School.
After earning a master’s degree in music (percussion) from OU in 1992, he served in a variety of teaching and administrative positions in Texas schools and universities.
Britt is returning to OU from his current position as Director of Fine Arts for the Richardson (Texas) Independent School District.