Saturday October 10 – The Sapulpa Chieftain Instrumental Music Department (aka Big Blue Band) was at it bright and early on a Saturday morning once again. Students and directors were at the George Brite Band Hall at 7am putting the final touches on the show “I Vow to Thee” before travelling to Union High School for the 33rd Annual Renegade Review Marching Band Championship.
The band performed well in the preliminary competition as parents and Sapulpa Jr/Sr High principal, Johnny Bilby cheered them on. Mr. Bilby commented that this was his first opportunity to see the show from a stadium view and was impressed with the formations that could be seen from the higher prospective. And impressive it was, as when the qualifiers for finals were called Sapulpa High School was on the list.
Following the 4:45pm massing of drum majors band director Craig Amendt commended students on a job well done and gave them a pep talk before they had a quick turnaround to eat dinner and be ready to perform again at 7:30. Band boosters sprang into action and fed the band a hot meal to help them perform at their peak. This was the first time for the Chieftain band to make finals at the Review under the direction of Amendt since 2009 and the excitement was visible all around the dinner table.
Students began preparation for the final performance of the day and were ready to take the field. 12 bands from Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri performed for a packed house at Union-Tuttle Stadium. Sapulpa was one of the smallest member bands to compete. The largest bands, Owasso and Blue Springs, Missouri both boasted over 300 students on the field but the size of the competition did not intimidate Chieftain Pride and spirit. Led by drum majors Shelby Howerton, Sarah Bartlett and Kayci Owen the band performed superbly in the finals.
Around 10:15pm, almost 16 hours after their day began; Chieftains and 11 other bands entered the field one last time for the results of the final competition. Seeing the football field filled with bands from the north end zone to the south end zone was an impressive sight. Every band and guard member on the field had performed their heart out, not once, but twice today. Judges from around the country, as far away as California, had finished their work and now the results would be known.
Beginning with 12th place, the announcer called out the order of awards. Students, directors, and parents knew it had been a tough completion, but also, that the Chieftains had performed very well. As each place was announced the excitement could be seen on the faces of the Chieftain Band members and drum majors. 12th, Stillwater, one of our toughest competitors, not to mention the fact that assistant director Kevin Mozarko’s wife is the guard coordinator for them. 11th, Bueller, Missouri, a small town band with as much heart as Sapulpa. 10th, all Chieftains are on the edge of their seats, Putnam City North! Finally with 9th Sapulpa finds its place, and a fine one it is. Already surpassing three very well prepared bands, the Chiefs are pleased with this placement. Just ahead of Sapulpa in 8th place was another close competitor, Choctaw. The rest of the field placed as follows: 7th Blue Valley West, Kansas, 6th Blue Valley, Kansas, 5th Bixby, 4th Van Buren, Arkansas, 3rd Coweta, 2nd Owasso, and 1st Blue Springs, Missouri.
The Chieftain Marching Band will compete two more times this season. On Wednesday, October 28 they will travel to Broken Arrow to perform for the adjudicated OSSAA placement, where they have consistently received Superior ratings over the past few years. Then on Halloween day they will travel to the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association competition in Edmond where they placed 3rd in Class 6A-II in State last year. The last opportunity to see this award winning show at home is the October 30 home football game against Claremore. Come out and support your Sapulpa Chieftain Marching Band!!
Maintaining a winning band is an expensive endeavor and our directors do a great job on a shoestring budget. Boosters help in numerous ways, from providing meals before games and while at contest, to supplementing the budget to provide additional instructional staff. If you are an alum, supporter, or just a fan of the Sapulpa Chieftain Instrumental Music Department and would like help keep the band growing and performing please contact the Sapulpa Band Boosters, a 501(c) 3 charitable organization, to see how you can help. You may contact the boosters at firstname.lastname@example.org.