JCJC hosting the Lion’s All-State Band concert

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2013-07-02 14:20:58

ELLISVILLE – The state’s premier band members will be giving the Pine Belt a preview of the show they will be performing at the Lion’s 96th International Convention and Parade of Nations on July 6, in Hamburg, Germany. Featuring Mississippi native, Elvis Presley hits for the marching part of their performance, the 145-member band will also perform concert tunes at a free performance for the public on Wednesday, July 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Jones County Junior College’s M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium. 

This year’s band features Oak Grove’s graduating senior, Walker Karstens in the lead position as drum major. Even though he’s not sure what to expect, he’s excited about the opportunity to perform with this group in Germany.

 “This is my first time to be in the Lion’s All-State Band so I’m not sure what to plan for, considering we’re traveling internationally as a large group. I have a lot of experience in parades, however and I think it will be just like marching in Hattiesburg’s Veteran’s Day Parade,” said Karstens.

South Jones High School graduating senior Keely Parker has been in Lion’s All-State Band all four years, beating out thousands of band members auditioning every year. She has performed in Australia, Seattle, Washington and Hawaii with the group, and is confident in the band’s abilities.

“Everyone knows our winning reputation and they stop us and ask us questions. I really enjoy traveling with this group of people because they are some of the best people musically and I love how everyone is working together for the same goal,” said Parker.

Students practice on the JCJC campus from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. with breaks for meals and water, for nearly a week, in an effort partly to keep the winning streak alive. The Mississippi Lion’s All-State band has won an unprecedented nine times over the last 11 years and a total of 28 times over the 62-year competition. There have been a few years the Mississippi band didn’t compete because of the cost or location of the competition.  The pressure to succeed doesn’t drive director and manager of the All-State Band, Jeff Cannon. For 20-years he’s worked with the Lion’s band and for the last seven, the newly retired Pearl High School Band director has been heading up the talented group of teenagers. He said his goal is to focus on everyone doing their best, not winning another title. 

“If individuals are concentrating on how other bands are performing, they can’t concentrate on being the best. I believe this year’s group has come into this week of rehearsals well prepared and I’m impressed with their behavior and attitude as well as their approach to the music and performance,” said Cannon.

After the concert at JCJC and the competition in Hamburg, the All-State Band will be traveling to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria enjoying tourist attractions and educational sites.


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