By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Picayune Memorial High School’s Maroon Tide Marching Band and Pride of the Tide Dance Team scored a superior rating in every category at the Regional State Evaluation last weekend in Gulfport.
John Cockrell, the Maroon Tide Marching Band director, said there are six judges that score the drum line, color guard and dance team, drum majors, and the overall band.
“I think the kids, with hard work, can do anything they want to do. We know what the kids are capable of, but I don’t think the kids know what they’re capable of, and they proved it this year by receiving straight superiors,” Cockrell said.
He said the band, color guard and dance team perform their football half-time routine at the competition, which this year is called “Dreaming of Rio.”
Cockrell said some of the songs are from the 2011 movie “Rio” and other music is specially created for the band.
“We consider this a production,” Cockrell said.
The routine involves more than just the 122 performers on the field. Cockrell said the band has 25 managers that move and hold up props used during the performance on the field. The props were created and painted by Coach Kevin Whitlow, the physical education teacher at South Side Upper Elementary School.
Cockrell said when the band goes to competitions, “we’re not competing with other bands, it’s how are we going to outdo ourselves.”
“We were very pleased with the girls’ performance. Their hard work, dedication and commitment has really paid off in the end. Our motto this year has been ‘take pride in pride,’ and I think that’s exactly what they did,” said Ashley Stockstill, Pride of the Tide director, about the dance team’s performance at the Regional State Evaluation.
Due to the size of the band this year, the Maroon Tide Marching Band had to appoint two drum majors, a first for the band and for Cockrell. He said the drum majors were six points from making a perfect score at the Regional State Evaluation.
“It’s kind of complicated because you have to make sure you’re on beat at the same time,” said Drum Major Chayse Dorn.
“We had to work on that a lot, but I think we’ve got it down now,” said Drum Major Taylor Guillory.
Guillory said the hardest part of being a drum major is “trying to gain respect from your peers. I have people who are older than me that I have to tell what to do.”
Cockrell said the directors start planning the productions in January. Tryouts for the color guard and dance team start in April, said Stockstill and Deidra Thompson, color guard director.
The Pride of the Tide also competed on Sunday at the Mississippi State Fair dance competition in Jackson.
The team placed first in the pom and jazz categories and second in hip-hop. They also were named overall grand champions in the high school dance division.
“It’s constantly a building, learning and preparation process. Now that our contest is over for band, we’ve already started thinking about ideas for next year,” Stockstill said.
With football season and the fall competition season coming to a close, the band will begin preparing for the spring concert music season. The Pride of the Tide will compete in the Dixie Darling Dance Competition in Hattiesburg on Nov. 2 and Universal Dance Association Dixie Championship on Dec. 7.
Cockrell said the band is about to start planning a trip to Disney World for next year. The director said he is bringing back former band director Jerry Cumberland’s tradition of performing in Disney World every two years.
Cockrell said the band went a few years ago and marched through Magic Kingdom playing Mardi Gras music.