A Grove graduate will be in the thick of things as the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band takes center stage on Monday, Jan. 1, during the 129th Annual Rose parade and 104th Annual Rose Bowl football game.

Miranda Deakins, 19, is a 1996 graduate of Grove High School. She is in her second year as a trumpet player for of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. 

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Deakins said. "Especially when you look at the history of the school, we've only been to the Rose Bowl once - in 2003."

For the past few weeks, Deakins and her fellow Pride members have spent time preparing to march in the Rose Parade, which spans more than five and half miles and lasts approximately two and half hours.

"Mr. [Brian] Britt told us to start walking every day at least a mile and then increase it up to four or five miles," Deakins said. "I end up hopping on the treadmill and walking for two hours."

The Pride returned from Christmas break on Dec. 27, with an evening rehearsal. Deakins said plans included rehearsing all day on Dec. 28, before flying to Los Angeles on Dec. 29.

The Pride is scheduled to perform three open rehearsals during the days leading up to the parade/game.

Those rehearsals, under the direction of Drum Major Julie Siberts, take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 29, 9:15 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, and 2 to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, at Glendale Community College, in Glendale, California. 

During the game's halftime, the Pride plans to perform its first show of the season, Maria from West Side Story.

Deakins said the seniors requested to repeat the show, which was performed on Sept. 9, during the OU vs. Ohio State halftime show. 

"I like the show because it is a cool musical and has a really fun feel to it," Deakins said.

During the parade, the Pride will perform a medley which includes a musical portion of Oklahoma, interspersed with a vocal rendition of the song, followed by a musical performance of Boomer Sooner.

Deakins estimates she's played Boomer Sooner close to 2,000 times in the last two years. Last year the band played the song 1,001 times, and this year's record is close to 1,000 before entering into the weekend festivities. 

Deakins said she hopes to use some of her free time to explore downtown Los Angeles. The trip will conclude with an exhibition at Disneyland on Jan. 2, in the morning, followed by an eight hour visit to the park.

While this is her first trip to the Rose Bowl, it is not Deakins first bowl game. Last year the Pride of Oklahoma took part in the festivities surrounding the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. 

Deakins said performing in the Sugar Bowl was "exciting" because of the fans traveling to the game.

"The intensity is high because the fans are all hyped up," Deakins said. "It's a high energy atmosphere.

"The best thing about it is having 88,000 screaming fans cheering for you. It's all exciting. It's the most unexplainable feeling in the world."

Deakins hopes the football team wins Monday, which will propel the school to the National Championship Football game, set for Monday, Jan. 8, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

"We're so close to the national championship," Deakins said, adding she's hoping to add the national championship game to her collegiate experience.

More about Deakins

Deakins, the daughter of Todd and Debbie Deakins, took part in the Pride of Grove Marching Band during her four years at GHS.

She said the band, led by Joe and Joseph Wilhelm, prepared her to perform in front of crowds. It also gave her an opportunity to travel, with trips to both Washington, D.C., and Orlando during her tenure.

"It set my standards and expectations," Deakins said, admitting being part of the college band has "exceeded her expectations."

Deakins, a sophomore at OU, plans to pursue a major in creative media productions and a minor in health and exercise science. She hopes to pursue a career working in directing, producing or acting in movies.

She also hopes to become a certified personal trainer, because of her interest in exercise and nutrition. 

On the Sidelines

Grove will have a second graduate at the 2018 Rose Bowl game on Monday, as Sam Pittman, a 1980 graduate, walks along the Georgia Bulldogs sidelines.

Pittman, who serves at the Bulldogs Offensive Line Coach, played running back at Grove before becoming an All-American defensive end at Pittsburg State University, in Pittsburg, Kansas.

He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree. He was inducted into PSU's athletic hall of fame in 1998.

Pittman joined the UGA staff on Dec. 12, 2015, after serving three years at the University of Arkansas offensive line coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.

Pittman is considered one of the nation’s best offensive line coaches and recruiters.

He previously served as offensive line coach at Tennessee (2012), associate head coach and offensive line coach at North Carolina (2007-11), and offensive line coach at Northern Illinois (2003-06).

He is married to his wife Jamie.

A taste of the Pride

The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band will perform Maria, from the West Side Story, during the 2018 Rose Bowl halftime.

The show was picked by the seniors. It was first performed during the Sept. 9, 2017 halftime show during the OU vs Ohio State game.

A video, highlighting that performance may be found at https://youtu.be/d7P846JX2pQ.

Want to cast a vote to put the Pride of Oklahoma above the UGA band? Visit http://bit.ly/battlebands2018 for details.

Want to watch?

The 129th Rose Parade broadcast live in the U.S. beginning at 10 a.m., central time on Monday, Jan. 1. Broadcast partners include ABC, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, NBC, Univision and RFDTV.

The 104th Rose Bowl Game broadcast exclusively on ESPN and online at WatchESPN.

Pregame activities begin at 3 p.m., central, with kickoff set for approximately 4:10 p.m., central, when No. 2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners meet up with No. 3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs.