Booneville, Smithville win state band titles

By CHRIS KIEFFER / NEMS Daily Journal

Two Northeast Mississippi marching bands celebrated state championships this weekend.
Both Smithville High School in Class 1A and Booneville High in Class 3A won the title for the second consecutive year. The championships were held Saturday in different locations in the Jackson area.
Booneville finished with a score of 90.513, while Ripley placed second in Class 3A with a score of 89.013.
Other Northeast Mississippi schools who placed at the competition were Baldwyn (fourth in Class 2A), Nettleton (fifth in Class 3A), Pontotoc (sixth in Class 4A) and Tupelo (eighth in Class 6A).
Smithville band director Jeff Colburn said his school’s scores have improved in each of its four years participating at the state competition. This year’s show was based upon New Orleans and entitled “Crescent City Dreams.”
“We probably had our best performance of the year on Saturday night, which is really what the goal was,” Colburn said. “I’ve said a bunch of times, this is not about winning or losing, it is about trying to push yourself to be the best you can be. That is what we got on Saturday.”
Booneville’s show, “Gold,” was almost entirely created and designed by the school’s alumni. It is the school’s fourth marching band state championship after titles in 2004, 2005 and 2009.
“It is not about the competition for us, it has always been about the performance,” said John Emerson, who joins his wife Lora as the school’s band directors.
“I’d be lying if I said the kids don’t enjoy being successful and getting first place, but that is not their inspiration.”
Ripley band director Sam Cunningham said he was proud of his band performance in Saturday night’s finals after several mistakes during the afternoon preliminaries.
“They turned it up to a level they never performed before,” Cunningham said. “They were hugging each other and crying and smiling ear to ear because they knew they just gave their best performance of then year.”

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.