Justin Stolarik, the director of the University of Oklahoma's marching band, announced Thursday morning that he is stepping down.
“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.”
Stolarik released the following statement,
“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. I'm committed to doing everything I can to help unify the band and encourage the students' success.”
During OU's homecoming week, current band members put a full page ad in several newspapers. They called for the band director, Dr. Justin Stolarik, to be fired stating "very few people would be upset with (the hiring) of a more competent director."
Members also wrote they are "tired of being ignored" because the band is turning into a "dictatorship." And they added that they "vehemently disagree with the direction of the Pride. It will continue to create an environment of mediocrity and complacency."
In order for the band to immediately resume preparations for its upcoming performances, President Boren invited OU alumnus Brian Britt, who led the Pride of Oklahoma for 12 years, to return to the university.
Britt has accepted the invitation. He will begin work at OU on Thursday, meeting with members of the Pride at their rehearsal Thursday afternoon.