Tulsa-area marching bands excel at Bands of America Super Regional competition
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
10/23/12 at 2:37 AM
Marching bands from the Tulsa area once again had excellent showings at the Bands of America Super Regional competition in St. Louis, placing first, fourth and seventh.
Owasso High School's marching band took the top spot at the regional contest after tying with Union High School for second place last year.
"We were obviously excited. I was excited for the kids," said Owasso band director David Gorham. "They've spent the last couple months preparing for the event."
Union placed fourth, and Jenks finished seventh, an improvement from last year's 10th-place finish.
Many marching band programs begin rehearsals and practices in the summer before the school year starts and continue before and after school bells ring in the fall, Gorham said.
"They put in a lot of time outside of school. It's awesome they get rewarded for it," he said.
Jenks band director Scott Hillock said his band has been going to the Bands of America Super Regional for the last five years, and last year was the first time the band made it to the finals.
"We wanted to go back and do better, and we did that," Hillock said. "It was our best performance so far."
Broken Arrow High School's marching band, which took the Bands of America Grand National Champions title last year, didn't compete in the super regional but will defend its title at the national contest that starts Nov. 7 in Indianapolis.
The talent level for bands in the Tulsa area is unique, Gorham said.
"I don't think there's any other area of the country that has so many quality groups," Gorham said. "We all are working for the same goal. It helps to have other groups to compare yourself with, bounce ideas off each other."
Hillock said he's lived in other parts of the state, and there's definitely something special about the Tulsa-area band programs.
"Northeast Oklahoma supports and appreciates the arts. It's not like that everywhere in Oklahoma," he said. He also noted the suburban cities around Tulsa don't split high schools, giving band programs a larger pool of students to draw from.
"It's easy to know what the standards are because we see each other all the time," Hillock said.
He and his students are beginning to see the benefits of setting themselves to that high standard.
"Two years ago, no one in the band knew what it felt like to be a finalist," Hillock said. "Now, half of the band knows what it feels like. They're getting a taste of success, and they like it."
Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional results
1. Owasso High School
2. L.D. Bell High School, Texas
3. Blue Springs High School, Missouri
4. Union High School
5. Anderson High School, Texas
6. Rosemount High School, Minnesota
7. Jenks High School
8. Prospect High School, Illinois
9. Richland High School, Texas
10. Birdville High School, Texas
Original Print Headline: Area bands excel at competition
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Senior piccolo player Allison Woolery warms up Monday with the rest of the Owasso High School competition band as they practice in the parking lot adjacent to the football stadium on the school campus. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World