Sapulpa Bands Take State With OSSAA Double Sweepstakes
Directors Craig Amendt, Michelle Barnes and Kevin Mozarko have a little rearranging to do at the George C. Brite Band Hall. The walls are already too full of awards to accommodate the hardware the instrumental music department brought home last week. Scoring higher than any other 6A-II concert bands in the state, for the first time since 1995 the Chieftains brought home a double sweepstakes!
Both the symphonic band and wind ensemble earned a superior in sight reading and performance. That along with the superior rating for marching band, has earned Sapulpa the OSSAA Sweepstakes award. Every Sapulpa band, including 7th and 8th grade bands, earned a superior in sight reading at OSSAA Competition this year.
Earlier in the concert season band members participated in the North Central District and All State Honor bands. Sapulpa put up a good show against mega schools like Jenks and Owasso with 21 students earning spots in NCDA and 3 in All State, including first chair percussion Blake Hillogoss.
Students earned a total of 67 Superior medals at district solo and ensemble contest and 62 earned the right to perform their music at State Solo and Ensemble Contest on Thursday, April 21.
It’s been a tough road to the accolades the band has earned over the past three years. When Amendt came to the district there were only enough students to have once high school concert band. Three years ago the second ensemble was added back to the band department. The eighth grade band only had twelve students so they were combined with the seventh graders to form one band. The past seven years we have seen enough students to have a separate seventh and eighth grade band. Despite budget cuts and competition that boasts larger enrollment, band staff and funding Sapulpa directors have built a music program that consistently brings honors and prestige to the district.
Last year instrumental music seniors began their college careers with over $140,000 in music scholarships. The band saw more state superior ratings, 62, for solos and ensembles than they had experienced in years. In 2014 Sapulpa was one of only two schools in the state to earn the coveted OSSAA Accent Award for musical excellence in every category of competition. The band brought home superiors in marching, symphonic, wind ensemble and jazz.
Through the band program Sapulpa students have opportunities to participate in collegiate Division I Athletics. 2015 graduates are participating in music programs at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, East Central University, University of Central Oklahoma, and the University of Arkansas as well as Pittsburg State University. Several band and guard members have also participated in Drum Corps International, a highly competitive summer marching program.
You can see the award winning Chieftain Musicians in concert a few more times before the end of school in May. The following concerts will be held at Shaw Auditorium, Sapulpa High School.
April 26 – Community Band
May 5 – Jazz & Middle School Bands
May 9 – Percussion Ensemble
May 12 – Junior High/High School Bands
The community is invited to support the band through the Sapulpa Band Boosters. The Boosters is 501(c)3 charitable organization that supports band and guard students year round. Events coming up for the 2016-2017 school year are: the2nd Annual Golf Tournament – June 11 at the Sapulpa Municipal Golf Course, Band Bingo, Bake Sale & Silent Auction and Homecoming Corsage Sales. If you would like to support the Sapulpa Instrumental Music program you may contact the band boosters at email@example.com.
About the Author
Though raised a Sandite, Cheryl married Chieftain Dennis Jackson in 1996 and together they made their home in Sapulpa. She now covers the achievements of the Sapulpa High School Band for The Sapulpa Times.