PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Some of the best musicians in Mississippi are in Las Vegas right now, preparing to compete in an international competition.
The Mississippi Lions All-State Band will taking on other bands from across the country Saturday to try and win a championship title. Band director Jeff Canaan says while the top award would be a major achievement for the students, it's not just about winning.
"Ultimately, the goal is for them to do their best," said Canaan. "We never talk about winning and losing. All we talk about is the highest level of excellence that they personally can achieve."
Band members say the experience of being able to play with such an exclusive group and travel to competitions like the one in Vegas are worth the hard work and dedication.
"It's great not only to have something to put on a resume but also the experiences you learn and the life lessons you learn with it," said first chair dancer Elizabeth Porter. "It opens doors career-wise and leadership abilities and everything like that
The Mississippi Lions All State band has been in existence 67 years and is made up of 150 students, however, more than 800 musicians from across the state try out for the elite ensemble each year. Only the best of the best make it in the band.
Last year, the Lions All-State Band won the international competition.