By Traci Chapman
It was a season that saw a promise fulfilled, Carl Albert High School’s Mighty Titan marching band members did what they’ve done throughout – gave it everything they had, last week garnering the highest achievement possible in a regional competition in the process.
That achievement came at Yukon High School’s Miller Stadium, where Carl Albert took part in OSSAA West Regionals, a tournament different than others undertaken by Oklahoma high school marching bands, an opportunity for those bands to play for independent marks, rather than a trophy earned through competition with their peers.
This year, as promised through their program name “Rise,” the Mighty Titans did just that, earning the best marks possible from OSSAA judges and a superior rating for a program that’s seen history made on more than one occasion.
“This has been a truly, truly exceptional year for this band, for these students, for the staff, for the school,” Carl Albert head director Diana Williams said. “I know for the rest of my life this will be a highlight not just of my career but of my life.
“To say I’m proud of their achievements just doesn’t adequately describe what we’ve done,” the director said.
That was in great part due to the band’s history-making performances – two of them at Mustang High School – where they first took third place in that school’s Nightrider Invitational marching tournament. But that was only the beginning – in state competition hosted by Mustang, the Mighty Titans once again surprised even themselves as they took second place at Oklahoma Bandmasters Association 4A-5A, finishing the night just a hair’s breadth behind first-place Coweta, long known for its well established and successful band program.
On the field, the Titans achieved a 5A caption award for visual performance; late Saturday night the celebrations would continue as awards were announced and Carl Albert was awarded that second-place finish – what administrators believed was the first time in program history – a finish only 1.10 point behind Coweta’s 87.70 top ranking.
“You can rise to be the very best version of you – this show was the vehicle to give you that courage,” Williams told her students after that performance. “I had several moments of goosebumps that night, but none more than when I saw your faces after massing (award announcements).”
Up next the band transitions to concert band, which lasts throughout the balance of the school year, Williams said, but the memory of – and the promise fulfilled of this marching season – will always be near.
“This is something that showed to these students and to the people who saw them work so hard and perform so well exactly what Carl Albert is capable of doing,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what we do next.”