By Chris Eversole
The Mustang High School Nightrider Invitational held Saturday was a big success.
Eighteen bands participated, and more than 160 volunteers helped stage the event, held at Bronco Stadium.
“The Nightrider Invitational has a reputation for being one of the premier early season band contests in the State of Oklahoma,” said Ryan Edgmon, director of bands and instrumental music coordinator.
“We have a strong commitment to providing world class judges,” he said.
“Feedback of this caliber often gives directors the information they need as they enter the final competition portion of the fall.”
The event offers a student-friendly environment with a fair-like atmosphere.
“We are fortunate to have hosted bands from Texas in addition to some of the premier band programs from Oklahoma this year,” he said. “In the past we also had band from Missouri and Arkansas.”
The Nightrider marching band is a 16-time Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Sweepstakes award winner.
Hundreds of students participate in Mustang Public Schools bands, which include jazz ensembles, concert bands and the Nightrider Band.
The jazz ensembles have been ranked in the top three slots in recent years.
The marching band consistently ranks in the Top 6 finalist position in the state rankings.
In 2015, the marching band was a finalist at the Bands of America Super Regional, and the Wind Ensemble was featured at the 2016 Music for All-National Festival.
“Our band program teaches much more than instrumental music,” Edgmon said. “As a philosophy, we teach students first and music second.”
The music education program focuses on key behaviors, traits and skills prior to focusing on the music aspect.
They include accountability, responsibility and character. “This is all in addition to teaching students an art form that allows them a creative outlet for self-expression,” he added.
“I think the most active kids in school are the best kids in school in terms of achievement and attitude,” Edgmon said. “I strongly believe that the arts programs develop good students and even better citizens.”
Information from an Oklahoma Homes article by Elisha Neubauer was used in this article.