GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - At the annual Battle of Bands in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, some of the musicians said they perform to entertain the crowds and also to hopefully inspire young kids to follow their dreams.
As rhythm filled the air at Milner Stadium in Gulfport, the energy was high.
Jonathan Weir, an Alcorn State University band member said, "They love it and it's very exciting to see how we put in all that hard work and get something out of it."
Allison Beverly said, "I just enjoy the energy that everybody, that the crowd gives off," Allison Beverly, a Golden Girl for Alcorn State,
A crowd of thousands went to watch the the Battle of Bands. Mississippi and Louisiana high school students were thrilled to play for such a large audience and thrilled to watch university marching bands from Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State.
"I love bands," said Destiny Scott, of Moss Point high. "I love everything about it and seeing all the different bands together and seeing what they're doing and how they're doing it and how we can do it next year. It just makes me excited."
Moss Point High's Carl Sipp, Jr. said, "Especially hope to go to Alcorn one day. That's my favorite school. I've been looking at ever since I was a little boy."
The college musicians said when they perform they also take note that younger generations are watching.
"It's nice to come out and just show them a collegiate band. It's something they get to see that they might not see very often. So it's just good to put on a show for them," said Ameer Baker, who is a the drum major for Mississippi Valley State University, and he's only a freshman.
"A lot of young kids especially in my generation and the generation behind me, they feel like they won't amount to anything," said Baker. "They feel like everything they want to do is impossible to do. I'm a living example that the impossible is possible. You never heard of a freshman drum major ever. But if you keep your heart clear and your mind focused everything will fall into place."
Blake Gaines is the director of university band for Mississippi Valley State University. Gaines said the performance is a chance for get young children thinking about a future that includes a college education.
"Good exposure for the universities and the high schools. It shows the positive side of what we're doing because these kids could be doing a lot of things, but they're here doing something positive for the community," said Gaines. "Right now this is the ambassador for the university."
Along with the Battle of the Bands, people at Milner Stadium also got to see a step show.