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Students experience music, campus life at band clinic

January 23, 2013


Over 200 high school band students will have the opportunity to grow musically and scholastically this week as Mississippi State University hosts its 61st annual Honor Band Clinic Thursday through Saturday with public performances scheduled throughout the week.

MSU Director of Bands Elva Kaye Lance said the clinic — founded by former director of bands and music department head W. Thomas West — is one of the oldest and largest clinics in the Southeast.

“While on campus, students will take part in rehearsal and activities designed to not only help them grow as musicians, but expose them to our band program and life here on the MSU campus,” she said. “This event is among our largest and most important recruiting events of the year.”

Lance said participating students were chosen among 300 high school musicians after a competitive audition in December.

“We used an electronic submission system this year for the auditions that worked out very well as opposed to doing site auditions,” she said. “With everyone’s busy schedules, this afforded students and directors the opportunity to not worry about attending a fixed site for auditions and is more economical. We are looking to use this for future auditions.”

Lance said students will have the opportunity to work with three guest clinicians throughout the three-day event as well as MSU faculty and students.

“Working with our guest clinicians, students will explore new and different literature as well as experience life here at MSU,” she said. “They will also have the chance to interact will our band faculty and students and hear our wind and Jazz ensembles.”

Guest clinicians for the 2013 Honor Band Clinic include Keith Bearden, retired director of the Goin’ Band From Raiderland at Texas Tech University; Myra Rhoden, director of the Fayette County High School Band in Fayetteville, Ga.; and Ricky Suk, director of the Ohio University Marching Band.

Along with workshops for students, Lance said visiting music instructors will enjoy a clinic of their own as Tuscaloosa County High School Band director Jed Smart presents “What’s App’ening — Current Trends in iPad/Tablet Use for the Instrumental Music Educator.”

“This opportunity for the directors gives us a chance to interact with the teachers as well,” she said.

Lance said any time the department of music brings students to campus is always a positive time.

“We look at this like Super Bulldog Weekend in that it’s a chance for visiting students to be involved with our program for a few days and get to know us,” she said. “It is always a joy being able to make music with them as we watch them develop and get to know the personality of our school.”

Lance said the variety in MSU’s band program is a testament to the leadership its students possess throughout campus.

“The students in our program are majoring in a variety of majors, showcasing a new side of their campus involvement and leadership,” she said. “The MSU band program is a microcosm of life here at MSU.”

Public performances during the clinic will be held in the McComas Hall Theater and include: Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the Honors Jazz Band and MSU Jazz Band conducted by Associate Director of Bands Clifton Taylor; Friday at 7:30 p.m., the MSU Wind Ensemble conductor by Lance; and Saturday at 1 p.m., the Honor Band final concert.

For more information, call 662-325-2713 or email

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