Traditions in Pride; Pride in Traditions


Adyson Mastropietro

Clarinets often participate in a group dance while playing in the band stands.

The Pride of Broken Arrow is one of the most award-winning marching groups in America, taking the title of Grand National winners at Bands of America three times in the past fifteen years. Among the different instruments is a strong sense of discipline, but there are also individual traditions for each section.

“Each section has their own quirks, which is really apparent,” parent volunteer Ash Etwardo said. “It’s quite obvious that different personality types gravitate towards different instruments.”

Each section has different traditions that they partake in every year. Some are special to that specific group, and some are traditions shared throughout the entire Pride. One such tradition throughout the whole Pride is something called Secret Pals. Like Secret Santas, a student will give another student an anonymous gift before each trip to a competition.

“Secret Pals has always been my favorite tradition because nobody knows who is giving them presents, but you get to see the smile on their face when they open them,” junior drum major Jayci Gould said.

On trips to St. Louis, Indianapolis, and this year, Orlando, the band will spend hours on end on the charter buses. However, they don’t view it as a negative thing. 

“The best part of traveling is hanging on the bus rides,” said Gould. “You learn a lot about your bus partner when you sit with them for hours.”

The teachers and directors in Pride also have their favorite traditions that they watch their students partake in. After marching themselves, it is a wonder that the customs from their high school years are still in play today.

One tradition was started by band director Darren Davis: Pride alumni visit the night of Bands of America state finals, which is usually hosted at the Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium, and throw toy babies at their younger friends and family. The tradition began when Davis told the band the show was so good, people would throw babies at them. Seniors from that year came back with the toys and added a new piece to Pride culture.

“Once a Pride kid, always a Pride kid,” color guard director Sarah Rillo said. “The directors often reminisce about the old days, and I know a lot of people that still come back for state finals to throw babies.”

The most common question Broken Arrow students seem to ask about Pride is “What on Earth are they doing in the band stands?” In between playing for the football team and dancing along, everyone partakes in a special custom or two.

“We sing, dance, and have a ton of crazy traditions,” Gould said. 

“One of my favorite traditions at football games is when we all point at directors when they aren’t facing us and hide when they turn around,” senior drum major Alexiss Loveless said.

It is well-known within Pride that they are closer then family, partaking in chants and circle groups, both of which often lead to tears.

“A section circle is where you and your section get to talk about your upcoming performance and who you want to dedicate it to,” Gould said. “It gets very emotional and brings us together as a family.”

The Pride of Broken Arrow marching band is filled with strong traditions and discipline of steel. However, they are all still just teenagers having fun in any way they can, from football games to long trips.

“Getting to have fun and go crazy with your friends after a long week of rehearsing is always the best time,” Gould said. 

Pride has been practicing every day after school and on Saturdays. They host open rehearsals, allowing friends and family to come see a sneak peek of their competing show. 

“It’s been a great experience, and I’m honored to have spent four years here,” Loveless said.

The Pride will perform next at the home football game on Friday, Sept. 27, against Jenks.