Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, known as "The
Pride", is the student marching band
for the University of
The University Band in 1915.
The Pride was founded in 1901 as a pep band to play at Sooner
games. In the early years,
the band was composed mostly of Norman residents
and was disbanded every year after football season.
The first continuous student band was founded in 1904 by Lloyd
Curtis, himself a Sooner freshman
. The band
branched out and began playing at other athletic events.
Eventually, they started playing non-athletic events also,
including concerts and parades. The band marched in the parade
celebrating the inauguration of the first Oklahoma governor
, Charles N. Haskell
. A military band
was created during World War I
but was kept separate from the
In 1929, the University hired its first full-time faculty member,
William R. Wehrend, whose primary responsibility was to direct the
band program. He devised numerous ways of promoting the band. He
was one of the first band directors to have an annual high school
band day event. In 1934, he organized a publicity stunt
to set the record for the
world's longest drum roll. Ten hours later, it was successful.
Wehrend was one of the first directors to admit women into the band
program, in 1934.
The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band in
With the success of the football program in the 1950s, so increased
the visibility of the Pride. Their halftime programs, centered on
themes that would incorporate well-known songs of the day, were
soon being broadcast on television
games. They received the grand prize as the best
overall unit in the 200-unit 1961 National Cherry Blossom
Festival Parade held in Washington, D.C.
Since the 1950s, the Pride has been under the leadership of several
different band directors and with those directors came different
styles. The 1960s saw band director Gene Braught bring a style of
precision marching filled with intricate routines creating
geometric shapes and lines.
Gene "Coach" Thrailkill transitioned the Pride to emphasize
technique and sound – but not at the expense of the overriding goal
to support the Sooners. During the 1983 Bedlam game at
Oklahoma State in Stillwater, the Sooners fell behind 20-3 early in the 4th
Stillwater police took Thrailkill off the field for
not having a sideline pass. Incensed, Thrailkill told the Pride to
"start playing and don't stop until we're ahead!" The band
complied, and played "Boomer Sooner
non-stop – and after roughly 300 times, the Sooners were ahead
21-20. Barry Switzer
and the Sooners
awarded the Pride the game ball, and labeled it "The Day The Pride
Won" as proof.
Thrailkill also introduced the current pre-game performance, which
has been used continuously in one form or another for over 35
A second century of Pride
Upon Thrailkill's retirement in 2001, Brian Britt
was named Pride director.
In 1987, the Pride was awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy
, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy
for university bands and an
award no band may be awarded twice. As of 2006, the Sudler Trophy
has been awarded 25 times; the Pride was the sixth recipient of the
November 22 2007,
six days after Oklahoma marked 100 years as an American state, the
Pride made its first trip to New York City to be Oklahoma's representative in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day
The band debuted a new uniform coat during the
parade, and returned to Oklahoma in time to support the Sooners
the Oklahoma State Cowboys