The public is invited to attend a free concert Feb. 17 beginning at 4 p.m. in the Dottie Smith Family Center for Instrumental Music Education on East Mississippi Community College’s Scooba campus. Students in grades 7-9 who are participating in the Queen City Honor Band Clinic at EMCC will perform during the concert.

February 12, 2024

East Mississippi Community College’s Scooba campus will host the Queen City Honor Band Clinic Feb. 16-17 when more than 100 students from area middle and high schools will participate in the two-day event that will culminate in a free concert open to the public.

This is the second consecutive year that EMCC has served as the host site for the regional band clinic for students in grades 7-9. Band members from schools in Clay, Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties will participate.

“We are pulling students from all over,” EMCC Director of Bands Chris King said. “We are really excited to host this because not only is it a great event for the kids and schools in our region, but it provides them with a chance to see the great facilities we have and the opportunities that are available to them at EMCC.”

The students will arrive at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, and will audition on their respective instruments in the woodwinds, brass and percussion categories, which includes clarinets, flutes, French horns, trombones, trumpets, tubas and a full range of percussions. 

After breaking for lunch in the F.R. Young Student Union, the students will be divided into two groups. One group will practice for the remainder of the day in the Stennis Auditorium, while practice for the second group will take place in the Dottie Smith Family Center for Instrumental Music Education.

Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District Assistant Band Director Joshua Overstreet will serve as conductor for one group of students, while Travis Metcalf, director of bands at West Point High School, will lead the second group.

 The students will leave at about 5 p.m. and return the following day at about 8:30 a.m. to continue with rehearsals.

“One of the reasons this event was created was to give freshmen and middle school students who may not get an opportunity to take part in other band clinics the experience of playing with other musicians,” King said.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, rehearsals will wrap up prior to the 4 p.m. start of the free concert, with both groups of students reuniting in the Dottie Smith Family Center. Each group will practice different songs during rehearsals and will alternately play the selections they rehearsed.

“We encourage our community members to come and enjoy the concert,” King said. “Last year we had some good musicians and we are expecting another great group this year.”

EMCC’s Mighty Lion Band averages between 80 to 100 members each year. Many attend EMCC on scholarships. King said band membership provides great opportunities for students to further their education.

“It really starts in middle schools, which are incredibly important in creating great high school band programs that produce the talent sought after by colleges and universities,” King said. “The middle school programs really have to be top notch.”

Given its size, the Mighty Lion Band also produces one of the larger subsets of graduates each year.

“We have a huge alumni base that are out there representing our college well,” King said. “We hope some of the students who come out to visit will one day join their ranks.”

For more information about the concert or the Mighty Lion Band, email King at cking@eastms.edu or call him at 662.476.5005.