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Band Members React After OU Band Director Resigns

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Fans at Saturday's game told News 9 it was as if the band wasn't even on the field. But now under new direction, band members want fans to stay in their seats, because they say the pride is back. Fans at Saturday's game told News 9 it was as if the band wasn't even on the field. But now under new direction, band members want fans to stay in their seats, because they say the pride is back.
Justin Stolarik, the director of the University of Oklahoma's marching band, announced Thursday morning that he is stepping down. Justin Stolarik, the director of the University of Oklahoma's marching band, announced Thursday morning that he is stepping down.
NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The Pride of Oklahoma marching band is now under new direction. Saturday's game was the band's last performance under former director Justin Stolarik.

Stolarik stepped down as director after being publicly criticized by band members.

Fans at Saturday's game told News 9 it was as if the band wasn't even on the field. But now under new direction, band members want fans to stay in their seats, because they say the pride is back.

Growing up in Edmond, halftime was the only part of the game Zak Kerbo cared about on Saturdays.

"First OU game I went to that was the only thing I was excited about was the band," said sophomore Pride member, Zak Kerbo.

But when Kerbo finally became a member of the Pride, it wasn't what he expected.

"I was embarrassed to wear my pride jacket in public," said Kerbo.

Other band members felt the same way under the direction of Stolarik.

"I wasn't happy with his direction," said freshman Pride member, Stephanie Boyls.

"The band wasn't ready. We felt like we were never ready. We felt like we didn't know what was going on half the time and it showed throughout our performances," said Senior Pride member, Dylan Jasna.

10/23/2014 Related Story: Justin Stolarik, OU Marching Band Director, Steps Down

So Kerbo, along with several others wrote this full page open letter to OU President David Boren calling the band a "dictatorship" and asking for the removal of Stolarik. Band Alumni raised for over $25,000 to publish the letter in several newspapers across Oklahoma and Texas.

"We felt that was the only way we were going to get anyone's attention," said Kyle Mosley, a sophomore member of the band.

Now a week after publication, Stolarik has resigned as director. President Boren wrote he accepted the resignation to "unify the Pride and maintain its tradition."

In the same letter Stolarik said, "I care deeply about the Pride and applaud the tremendous effort of our students."

Students like Kerbo will now welcome back Brian Britt as director. Britt previously led the band for 12 years.

"I don't feel bad about calling it out and making it public because I'm standing up for my dream and fighting for my dream," said Kerbo.

The resignation is effective immediately, and the band will be reintroduced to Britt at Thursday's rehearsal.

While members of the band defend their actions, they do wish their former director the best of luck in his next position.

Stolarik could not be reached for comment.

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