OWASSO -- To be a member of the Owasso High School band members takes precision, discipline, a high standard of excellence and pride.
The Pride of Owasso has been preparing for the 2013 band season for weeks, practicing several hours each day.
"We have high expectations, and the students live up to them," said assistant band director Chris Harris said. "And they understand that self-discipline is the biggest part of that."
Because of that self-discipline and hard work, the band has been recognized on a number of national platforms, including five invitations to the Rose Parade. And now the band is preparing to perform on the international stage.
March 17, 2014, the Pride of Owasso will perform with high school, college and professional bands from around the globe at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.
"We're known nationally for sure with our band program, and the fact that internationally people would be reaching out to us, that means a lot," Harris said.
Only a handful of the bands that apply for a spot in the annual parade are chosen. Harris said the selection process was based on a submitted video and previous reputation.
This is Owasso's second invitation to participate in the parade. The last time was about 30 years ago.
"We were ecstatic; we were just very excited when we learned we were going to be able to march in Ireland for the second time," said Jacob White, Pride of Owasso band member. "It's a great honor."
Senior Jacob Aunko has been in the Owasso band all four years of his high school career, and he says it is opportunities like this that make him proud to be an OHS Ram.
"Being a part of this band is something special. It's about being a family and being as one," Aunko said. "I am really excited for what this program has got in store for me this year, the goals that are being set. That we have the ability of accomplishing this year."
Preparing for the big day will require many hours of practice.
"It is not an easy activity to participate in," Harris said. "Everyone is in the starting line-up. Nobody is sitting out, so everybody has got to do their job. The kids absolutely come to work, and they love what they do and that shows through the self-discipline."
But in the end, the, perhaps, once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform on an international platform and travel to Dublin will be well worth the time invested.
"They put so much time in here," Harris said. "They have four short years to be in the high school marching band and then it's over … So in that short time they have, we want them to get as much recognition as they can."