Bands prepare for state championships Saturday

Tupelo High School Band Director Vance Wigginton is eager to watch his school’s band compete at Saturday’s state competition in Clinton.
“This has been one of the best groups of kids I’ve ever had as far as making the effort to do the things we wanted to do and to perform,” said Wigginton, who is in his sixth year at THS and 26th year working with bands. “This has been among our best years as far as the camaraderie of the kids and the support of the kids for each other.”
Tupelo will be among 12 Northeast Mississippi bands competing Saturday in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Mississippi Bandmasters Association State Championship.
Classes 1A and 6A will compete at Clinton High School, 2A and 3A will be at Hinds Community College and 4A and 5A are at Pearl High School.
“It is a challenge to them to step up to a higher level than they’ve ever been,” said Baldwyn High School Band Director Billy Morton. “It is a chance to step out of what the norm is and explore the full depths of what it is to be musical and marching and to give a good over-the-top performance.”
Northeast Mississippi bands competing are Tupelo (Class 6A), Saltillo (5A), New Albany (4A), Pontotoc (4A), North Pontotoc (4A), Booneville (3A), Ripley (3A), South Pontotoc (3A), Nettleton (3A), Baldwyn (2A), Bruce (2A) and Smithville (1A).
“I think it is especially important to our kids,” said Pontotoc High Band Director Sarah Todd. “This is toward the end of the season so it really gives them something to work toward and keep the momentum building throughout the season.”
Nettleton Band Director Cliff Moore said that his band is also ready for this weekend’s competition.
“We’ve had a great week of practice, and hopefully we’re ready to have our best performance of the year as our last contest of the year,” he said.
Booneville and Smithville will both be trying to defend state championships won last year.
“The idea of the championships was to make the bands of Mississippi better by having something to shoot for,” Wigginton said. “I think it definitely has done that. I think any one of eight or nine bands in our classification this year would have won the state championship five years ago.”
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

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Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal