Sound of music: Pearl River County’s community band to perform Sunday

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 11, 2015


1. SOUND OF MUSIC: Pictured, the Pearl River County Community Band and Chorus perform a musical salute to Veterans at PRCC’s Brownstone Center. File photo.

SOUND OF MUSIC: Pictured, the Pearl River County Community Band and Chorus perform a musical salute to Veterans at PRCC’s Brownstone Center. File photo.

The sounds of brass, woodwind and string instruments will resonate inside the Picayune Memorial High School District’s auditorium this Sunday.

The public is invited to attend the Pearl River County Community Band’s Fall Festival of Music directed by Johnny Baker. The festival begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 13. Baker said the band plans to perform seven songs during the free event, starting with the U.S. National Anthem.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We want to present the public with good music. All of us at the band care about music,” Baker said.

The nonprofit band has been enriching the community with classical music since 2008. Baker has served as the band’s director since it’s inception and said he’s enjoyed every minute of it. Originally from Greenwood, Baker moved to Picayune in 1971 to serve as the head band director at the high school after spending years playing in small bands and earning a doctorate in music education. While Baker retired in 2005, he reconnected with former band students three years later at a Picayune football game. After they reminisced about the band days, Baker said, “we all decided to start a community band.”

The band’s first concert took place in December of that year in Jack Read Park. Since then, Baker said they’ve continued to share their love of music by performing at various concerts, mainly in Picayune.

Since its establishment, the band’s mission has been “to enhance the appreciation of music within Pearl River County and surrounding areas, to offer musicians the opportunity to further develop and display their skills and to provide encouragement for student musicians who wish to pursue a career in music,” according to their website.

Through fundraisers and community donations, the band has collected an assortment of instruments over the years, including bass clarinets and tubas, Baker said.

The band consists of former band members and directors and anyone passionate about music from Pearl River County, Gulfport, Wiggins, Bogalusa and surrounding areas. Baker said they welcome members of all ages. Currently, the ages of their band members range from 12 to 80, and they all have various abilities, Baker said.

In order to gear up for performances, the band rehearses once a week on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Picayune.

The band not only enriches the community with music but also promotes education. On an annual basis, the band gives out scholarships to local high school seniors planning to attend college. Baker said they will award three $500 scholarships during the festival on Sunday.

Also during the event, the band will accept monetary donations, which will be used for future performances and student scholarships, Baker said.

For more information, visit the band’s website at or contact Baker at 601-798-4999.