Marching Bray-Doyle

Band Director Bryan Pope marches with the Bray-Doyle marching band in Alva at the NWOSU homecoming parade.

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The Duncan Banner

On Oct. 24, Bray-Doyle band director Bryan Pope took his band to his alma mater of Northwestern Oklahoma State University to compete in its homecoming parade contest. That evening, they would be traveling back home with a first place trophy on the bus.

“We were really just hoping for a fun road trip,” Pope said. “The trophy was just icing on the cake.”

The band traveled to Alva after school the day before the parade. When they got there, they had a chance to tour the parade route downtown and see where the judges would be sitting. They even got a chance to practice their marching a little.

“During the Cinderella contest up there, traffic downtown is almost nonexistent,” Pope said. “So we were able to get out and practice around one of the corners.”

The band spent the night on the floor of the College Hill Church of Christ, and the next morning, the competition was on. They awoke early in the morning to line up for the parade.

Bray-Doyle competed in Class A, and the band consisted of seventh-grade through seniors in high school, and even included a few sixth-graders in the mix. They were up against three other bands in their class.

“I know from being a student up there that the competition is always really tough,” Pope said. “But I told them there was no reason we couldn’t do well.”

When the band got in front of the judges on the route, the parade came to a dead stop, and Pope thought that this might hurt their chances.

“The judges had time to look at every student and watch everything they were doing,” Pope said. “We actually ended up playing our entire song in front of the judges.”

When the parade was finished, the band gathered on the town square for the awards ceremony portion of the day. Pope said that the band was huddled very close to the front of the stage, hoping for an award.

“To be honest, they called out second place and it wasn’t us, so I actually quit paying attention,” Pope said. “Then all of a sudden my kids started screaming, so I thought ‘Oh, we must have won.’

“It was really neat to see their reaction. They were excited and came up to me yelling ‘We did it, we did it.’”

After the parade and awards ceremony, the band also got to watch part of Northwestern’s homecoming football game, as well as perform at halftime with all other bands in the parade, including the NWOSU Ranger Marching Band in a mass bands performance.

“They seemed to have a really good time on the trip,” Pope said. “They were really interested in the football game too. Most of them haven’t seen athletics played on that level before.”

The trip was only meant to be a fun road trip for the group, but one of the added bonuses was the fulfillment the band members received from their first-place award.

“It was an awesome experience seeing how next year’s band could possibly sound considering it’s my senior year,” senior drum major Jacy Smith said. “I am very proud of the high school band and the sixth graders who participated.”

Pope said that there were also three sponsors that rode up on the bus with them, then six or seven more parents came up the next day in their own vehicles to see them march in the parade.

“There was a large group of (Bray-Doyle) people there that weren’t marching,” Pope said. “It was nice knowing that there are some people that cared enough to drive the 240 some miles to witness that.”

Pope was also playing double duty while he was in Alva, he was invited to direct the Northwestern Alumni Band during the football game, so when he had to leave for rehearsal, the band continued on with their rehearsals and running around town with the sponsors and parents.

“They went and got things for us and were doing things even without me asking,” Pope said. “That kind of support is invaluable to a band director, it was a tremendous help.”

Pope was asked by parents and students alike if this would be an annual trip for the group every year, but he wasn’t sure if it would be every year, but he did say he had other trips planned such as a non-music trip in the spring just for fun, and possibly going to a Southwestern Oklahoma State University Homecoming event.

“We might just go to different places here and there,” Pope said.

Ultimately, the trip ended in a success that they hadn’t planned for, but Pope told the group that if they wanted it bad enough and they got out there and did their job, there was no reason they shouldn’t win.

“I’m really proud of my students,” Pope said.

This was the first competition that the Bray-Doyle marching band had been to this year, and Pope said he thought it was a pretty good showing of what is to come with the group.

“Not too shabby for our first time out,” Pope said.

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