By: Amelia Landers, Editor
Three outstanding OGHS band students were selected to participate in the 2010 Mississippi All- State Lions Band. Katie Folkes was selected for color guard, Connor Lawson was selected for alto saxophone, and Christina Vilar was selected for clarinet.
The All-State Lions Band is comprised of band students from across the state who are chosen as they compete for selection. Over 800 students tried out for this year’s band. Of these 145 were selected. Tryouts were held in November at Pearl River Community College. During these tryouts students learned performances, performed scales, and sight read. As the competition continued, students were given callbacks as they made the cut at different levels.
In June, Folkes, Lawson, and Vilar will join other Mississippi students for a week of training as they prepare for performances and the Lions Club International Convention. They will travel to Sydney, Australia on June 25, the location of this year’s event.
While on this trip, the band will have many exciting sightseeing opportunities in addition to performing. The week will begin with the Parade of Nations. The parade competition will feature 115 marching bands with crowds of 30,000 to 40,000 spectators. They will visit the Blue Mountains and spend time at Sydney Harbor where they will visit the Sydney Aquarium. A special treat for students will be the opportunity to play with koala bears.
Katie Folkes has been working and practicing for this opportunity for many years. “I’ve tried out for three years. So when I found out I made it, I was beyond excited,” Folkes said. She is a senior and will be attending Jones Junior College in the fall where she will be a member of the Maroon Typhoon marching band.
Lawson is a member of the junior class and Vilar is a freshman. Both students will be returning to Oak Grove after this opportunity in the summer. Along with the excitement these students are experiencing by being selected, they are now busy preparing for this once in a lifetime adventure. The cost of this trip is $3,500 for each student. Because each student must raise their own travel expenses, there will be information coming about fundraisers to help with the costs.
Jeff Cannon serves as the Mississippi Lions All-State Band Director. He has traveled with band students all over the world for the International Convention. In the past, some of the trips Mississippi Lions band students have participated in include trips to Hong Kong, France, and South Africa as well as performing in the United States in cities like New York and Washington, D.C.
OGHS Band Director, Sharon Laird, shared recently, “The three students we have going are truly the cream of the crop. All three of our students are fourth chair.” Oak Grove is proud to have these students representing the Warrior band program. The band holds an All Superior ranking based on its leadership and the performance of its members. Folkes, Lawson, and Vilar represent the quality the band strives for and will represent the school well.