Tupelo Band competes again


Shari Chumley

J. Ezell performs the half-time show at a home game in preparation for competition.

The Tupelo High School band Program has finally returned to the field for another competitive season. This year’s competition show entitled “ In Her Majesty Presence” was the first competition show the band put together since the start of Covid. Even though competitions are back this year Covid still has changed things for the band.

“We have over 100 students who are entering their first season of competitive marching band so the offseason was used to get the rookies up to speed and develop some leadership in upperclassmen,” Clifton Moore, Head Director of bands said.

In 2020 there were no competitions. This downtime gave the band time to go back to the basics of marching band to work and prepare for their upcoming season.

“ I look toward building fundamental playing in students. I want them to understand all signs and symbols and terminology and how to get a good tone from their instrument,” Kelli Wallace, Associate director of bands said.

With Covid outbreaks, still strong changes had to be made on the way the band was run. For example, the band’s drill was written separating the woodwinds and brass so the two wind sections could rehearse separately if needed.

“Anticipating lots of absences and anticipating some school shutdowns”, we didn’t want to go after too difficult of a program,” Moore said.

Even with the decreased level of difficulty and being quarantined twice the band still worked extremely hard to prepare to compete with the top 6A bands in the state.

“We practice all the time! They have music pass offs,and we meet in sectionals occasionally to make sure everyone is playing the right notes,” Wallace said.

Hard work has come from all sections of the band including winds, Colorguard, and percussion.

“I’m preparing the drumline by doing reps and reps to make sure there are no inconsistencies and make sure we are not nervous anytime a competition comes up,” Senior Ryan Dunklee said.

When you think about marching band they are mostly known for their Friday night football performances but for the band students the competition season is what they look forward to the most.

“I am so glad competitions are back this year. I feel like they are one of the main things of marching band. It is the thing I love the most,” Sophomore Pauline Gan Lim said.

The Tupelo High school’s band program hard-worked showed all throughout this year’s competitive season. At the Olive Branch conquistador Classic, the band placed 5th. The band also received 2nd at the Itawamba Community College Tomahawk Marching Band Competition. At this year’s MSHAA Region One Marching Band Evaluation the band received all superior ratings qualifying them for the state. The Long Blue Line went to the 6A State Championship where the band placed 1st out of 16 in Music performance Ensemble and finished 9th in the state of Mississippi.