GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The annual region five band state evaluations are a culmination of hard work, dedication to the craft, and discipline.
"I've always wanted to be in color guard. I'm like, okay, I'm going to do this. I just love hearing people, the playing and everything and when I get out there with my flag it's like adrenaline through me. I'm so excited. It's so much fun," said Aaron Scara, a member of the Stone Co. High School band.
The 3,500 students from more than 30 high schools in south Mississippi were cheered on by their family and friends.
"I'm just a proud mom because I have two that I share this with," said Robin Simon. "Even though it may be a little hot, just to see them out there and strutting and playing, just awesome."
Although it's not a competition, the bands put on a real show complete with props and sound effects. It's something Gulfport High band director Zachary Harris has seen evolve over the years.
"It has become so theatrical now where you got props, you got all kind of voice overs, you know, digital sound and things like that. It's really really great," said Harris.
Another great aspect for the students are the college scholarship opportunities.
"Right now, our senior he has the top ACT score 36 perfect across the board and he says it himself, it's because of band," said Tanya Parker.
One of The Pride band members can attest to that. Picayune Memorial High School graduate Wasani Martinez is on a band scholarship at USM.
"I know band gets hard sometimes and you want to quit, but just keep doing it. It will pay off eventually and just whatever your band director says, just do it," said Martinez.