JCJC hosting the Lion’s All-State Band concert
Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2014-07-01 15:33:01
ELLISVILLE – Preparing for the Lions 97th International Convention and Parade of Nations on July 3-9, in Toronto, Canada has been a little wetter than normal for the Mississippi All-State Band members rehearsing at Jones County Junior College. The 147-member band made up of the state’s most talented high school band members will be giving a preview of their performance “Simple Gifts,” on Wednesday, July 2, at 6:30 p.m. in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium. The public is invited to this free performance.
This year’s band features 16-members from the Pine Belt including Yulianna Jimenez from Oak Grove. The senior leads the flute section and the woodwinds in the marching portion of their performance. This is her second year to participate in the Lions Band.
“It was exciting traveling to Hamburg, Germany last year, seeing the different cultures. I’m looking forward to traveling in Canada this week,” said Jimenez.
This is a whole new experience for Greene County’s Tyler Hand. The graduating senior is the first student from the county to make the prestigious Lions Band. The tuba player said he’s honored to be the first and is positive he won’t be the last.
“I'm leading the way,” said Hand. “I really like how they push us. They challenge us to be our best. The directors remind us everyone tries but this band executes. That's the difference and it's been great being challenged.”
Traditionally, the Mississippi Lions Band has been the band to beat. Director and Manager of the Lions Band, Jeff Cannon said the Missouri and Alabama band directors told him last year, “We’re coming after you.” The group has won an unprecedented 10 times over the last 12 years and a total of 29 times since 1951. In 2008 and in 2012, they decided not to attend international competition because of the distance and cost, and instead performed in Washington D.C. and Hawaii respectively. The Mississippi Lions Band has won more times than any other band in the world. Cannon said they discovered the recipe for success a long time ago.
“We just tell the kids to do their best. We don’t push winning we push being your best. Their talent puts them on a different level,” said Cannon.
The weather, the hot sun or humid rain doesn’t stop the band’s practice schedule. They begin at 6 a.m. with breakfast and are marching by 8 a.m. If you are in Ellisville, you’ll hear them marching through the streets for two hours before they practice for the concert band recital. After lunch, the schedule continues with concert practice until dinner at 4:30 p.m. and marching rehearsal from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Concert rehearsal continues at 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. and lights out at 11 p.m.
“Musicians receive their music six weeks before we meet at Jones and the parade music has to be memorized. They also receive the marching drills so they have an idea of what the show is supposed to look like and then we practice,” said Cannon, who is an alumnus of the Lions Band. “The weather this year has altered our schedule a little however we have been able to get in marching practice.”
The grueling schedule doesn’t seem to faze these musicians. Graduating Ocean Springs High School senior, Catherine Patriquin is a four-year Lions Band veteran.
“It takes an immense amount of focus marching in the Lions Parade. You have to know your music, where you’re supposed to be, where everyone around you is supposed to be and then add the dance steps and movement as we march, as we strive for perfection.”
The multi-talented student has traveled to Seattle, Hawaii, Germany and is looking forward to visiting Canada. She will be marching in this year’s parade on her tenor saxophone. Patriquin also auditioned on oboe and for a dancer’s part.
“Lions Band is almost like an addiction. We’re inspired to be here because when we all come here together, the music moves us and we have a need to perform. We try hard to understand what the composer wants us to feel and play like the director wants us to. It’s an experience not like anything else,” said Patriquin.
The Lions Band members will leave early Thursday morning, (July 3) for Canada, enjoying tourist attractions and educational sites before and after the Parade of Nations.