Okla. Matt Sumner has fine-tuned his time management and
people skills, and his "strutting" skills aren't bad either.
24, is the drum major of the University of Oklahoma's Pride of Oklahoma
marching band and its "corporate identity." Dressed in his tall
white hat and red and white uniform, he performs his signature strut
down Owen Field as he leads the 300 Pride members onto the field
to the tune of "Oklahoma."
Bixby resident established himself in the more-than-a-century-old
band as a trombone player his freshman year and steadily added volunteer
activities to his resume' during his college career.
is my first year (as drum major) and I've been in the Pride for
five years now," he said. "It's been a crazy experience going all
the way from being a freshman and playing trombone to my senior
year now of playing the role as the drum major."
say Sumner stays busy during college football season is an understatement.
Along with a full load of classes, the Cherokee Nation citizen and
OU senior rehearses with the band five days a week.
his hectic schedule didn't just materialize with the arrival of
lot of it's summer preparation," Sumner said. "Working to get physically
in shape and to get mentally engaged and make sure you know when
that first game happens you're going to be able to go out here and
do it without a problem. There can't be any sense of doubt."
has tried out for the drum major role every year he's been at OU,
and his tenacity paid off in his senior year.
of the Pride of Oklahoma Brian Britt said it takes a special individual
to be drum major.
drum major is our living breathing corporate identity," said Britt,
who's been the director for 10 years. "Our logo has the drum major
identity. They have to be the unquestioned leader."
said Sumner established great relationships during the years with
people from different areas of the band.
the last couple of years he volunteered to drum major a lot of pep
band events, and he was always available and willing to help and
go the extra mile and leading those types of things," Britt said.
volunteering and creating relationships, Sumner built a rapport
with the Pride members as he worked on his physical and musical
skills, Britt said.
think it was really all three of those things melded into one that
worked out in his favor," he said. "We really appreciate all the
hard work that Matt has put into the job. He's brought a lot of
enthusiasm, and I know the students really respect him, and he's
been an excellent representative for our organization."
said he's worked hard to build his leg strength to be able to strut
on the field.
year it's gotten better. It takes a lot of leg strength, and you've
got to be a little flexible in the back but a lot of it's about
the legs," he said.
he's leaned back strutting down the field with more than 80,000
people watching, Sumner said things flash though his mind.
I do a performance it's like a blur, a dream," he said. "(I think,)
do your best. You can do this.'"
only thing Sumner really grapples with is time.
love every single moment we have here, and it seems like it just
goes so fast. It's just an incredible experience. That's been the
most challenging thing."
added that nothing he's done really compares to his drum major experience.
such an incredible thing to be able to meet so many great people.
I get to be exposed to 300 of OU's talented and brightest individuals
every single day, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."