By: Christina Vilar
On November 20, seven OG band students auditioned at Pearl High School to be members of the 2011 MS Lions All-State Band. Sarah Keilholz, Connor Lawson, Nathan Lockey, Mary Katherine Oglesbee, and Christina Vilar were the five out of the seven students selected to be members of the Lions Band. Mallory Jennings and Walker Karstens also auditioned at callbacks.
The MS Lions Band is made up of a group of high school students who are in good standings in their own band. They meet two times a year: in the winter for concert band, and in the summer before the big trip.
Senior Mary Katherine Oglesbee ranked fifth as a percussion member and will be playing the snare drum. “As a senior, scholarships are very important to me right now,” Oglesbee said. “I believe that making the 2011 Lions Band snare line will open a lot of doors for me in the future.”
This year, the Lions Band will be traveling to Seattle, Washington, for the annual Lions International Parade. Lions club members from all over the world come to march in the parade and show their pride in their country. “The trip is going to be amazing,” sophomore Sarah Keilholz said. “I think this summer is going to be one to remember!” This is Keilholz’s first time as a member and has ranked eighth as a dancer.
Several hundred students from all over the state go to Pearl High School to audition for Lions Band. They have to prepare a two-minute solo, play a required scale and another major scale, and sight read a piece that the judges choose. Their reward for such hard work and dedication: the trip to Seattle.
Being a Lions Band member opens many doors in the music industry, especially when you’re a member of an international championship band. Senior and seventh chair baritone, Nathan Lockey said, “I believe that this will give me more experience to try and be a successful musician.”
Besides excelling in the music department, the Lions Band is a great way to meet friends, and get together with old ones. Senior Connor Lawson said, “I’m really excited to see my friends from last year, and I’m eager to meet some new and talented faces.” This is Lawson’s second year in the Lions Band and is third chair saxophone.
Jeff Cannon, the director/manager of the MS Lions Band, has been with the Lions Band for 17 years. In a congratulatory letter he sent to last year’s members, Cannon said, “Our trip to Seattle promises to be equally as awesome [as our trip to Sydney] as we visit Vancouver Island, The Space Needle, and whale watching excursions in the Pacific.” If they win in Seattle, they’ll come home with their third consecutive and 28th win for Mississippi.