Lions All-State Band rehearses at PRCC

June 29, 2017 - 3:09pm -- jbraswell

  POPLARVILLE - The Mississippi Lions All-State Band left Pearl River Community College on Thursday, June 29, headed to Chicago for international competition.
  The band prepared for 10 days at PRCC to defend its title as champions of the International Lions Parade, which rolls through downtown Chicago on Saturday, July 1.
  “It’s been an incredible experience to be around the talented people here,” said sophomore trumpet player Andrew Lott of Oak Grove High School. “It makes us want to do better, to take it up another level.”
  Lott, a first-year Lions Band member, is one of six Oak Grove students to go through two rounds of auditions and make the band.
  Senior Julianna Hinton placed first chair on trombone for her second year in Lions Band.
  “The opportunity to travel and the bond with people is what brought me back,” she said.
  Hinton was visibly shocked when director/manager Jeff Cannon of Pearl announced during the Grand Finale Concert on June 28 that she has been selected by the staff to receive the Roy Martin Award as outstanding member.
  The band spent four hours a day in marching rehearsals and another seven hours practicing for the concert and for the lobby show that will be performed at the McCormick Place Convention Center.
  Picayune Memorial High School senior Rebecca Robin plays clarinet in the band. This is her first year.
  “I love it so much,” she said. “The staff is so motivating. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
  The band is made up of 143 students from 55 schools, Cannon said. About 24 high school band directors and college music education students make up the staff. The band is the only all-state band in the country that doesn’t pay the staff more than expenses, he said.
  “It’s a labor of love and passion,” Cannon said.
  The 2017 staff includes PRCC alumni Sharon Laird, director at Oak Grove, and Jerry Pickering of Northwest Rankin High School.
  “It’s a little nerve wracking to begin with because these are some of the best kids in the state,” he said. “It’s been wonderful.” A first-time staff member, he played tuba in the Lions Band before coming to Pearl River in 1995.
  Laird played trumpet in the 1984 Lions Band and has been on the staff two previous years.
  “It is such an honor and great opportunity to work with some of the best band students in the state and the best band directors,” she said. “It’s amazing to immerse yourself in that.”
  Most of the students, like color guard member Kennedy Placide of Oak Grove, hope their Lions Band experience carries over at home.
  “It’s amazing,” Placide said. “I can come here and be comfortable with my skill and be better at it. I can take it back home and build.”
  The other Oak Grove students in the band are Elizabeth Porter, dancer; Taylor Hart, flute; Cole Callender, trumpet; along with Sumrall High School students, Brandon Broome and Derek Douglas, trombones.
  The students paid $1,900 to be in the band or raised the fee through sponsors, Cannon said. When the convention is overseas, the fee is much higher. The Lions of Mississippi and individual clubs sponsor much of the costs associated with camp and the trip, which will include some Broadway-type shows, a Chicago Cubs baseball game and a trip to Six Flags.
  The band will return to PRCC on July 5.


The color guard performs during the Mississippi Lions All-State Band lobby show on June 28 at Pearl River Community College.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Guest conductor Dr. Kyle Hill, PRCC director of bands, conducts Entry of the Gladiators during the Mississippi Lions All-State Band concert.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Kennedy Placide of Oak Grove High School rehearses a color guard routine during Mississippi Lions All-State Band camp.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Julianna Hinton of Oak Grove High School reacts with shock after receiving the Roy Martin Award for the outstanding student. She is first chair trombone in the 2017 Mississippi Lions All-State Band.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Andrew Lott


Rebecca Robin