Maroon Tide marching band seeks to continue their success

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Picayune Memorial High School marching band set the bar to carry their all superior performances into the 2016 season.

Picayune Memorial High School marching band set the bar to carry their all superior performances into the 2016 season.

After earning all superior scores at the Gulf Coast Regional Contest for three consecutive years, Band Director John Cockrell and the Maroon Tide marching band will begin their quest for another great showing by setting a prestigious goal for this upcoming season.

The Picayune marching band is currently participating in a two-week band camp where members work on a new routine and train new members from the junior high program.

“Our goal for the camp is to get everyone looking like one large cohesive unit and also getting the newcomers on board. Teaching them the fundamentals of marching is essential for our performance during the halftime shows of football games and also during competitions later in the year,” said Cockrell.

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The camp consists of the marching band, color guard and dance team. Students are practicing together every day for two weeks, regardless of weather conditions, Cockrell said.

“These kids grind really hard during this camp even with it being over 90 degrees outside. It shows the dedication each of these kids has to strive toward one goal, getting all superior scores for four years in a row,” said  band volunteer and parent Stephanie Craddock.

This year, Craddock said there are 71 band members, 16 members of the color guard and 25 dance team members on the marching band team at Picayune Memorial High School.

“This camp is extremely important to get the students ready for the contest level. It takes hours of fine tuning and a devotedness of repetition to do what these kids have accomplished in the recent years and we hope to continue our streak of success,” said Cockrell.

For the students, this is a time to not only add to their skill sets, but also to come together as a family unit, said Craddock.

“A camp like this shows the older students how to become disciplined and helps the younger students with learning the fundamentals. It’s like being part of a big family,” said Craddock.

She also said that the season is like “a roller coaster of emotions” for students because of how hard they work to reach their goals.

The marching band was invited to participate in parades at Walt Disney World in February. Later in the year, the team will be going to the Gulf Coast Regional Contest as well as the state championships to fulfill their dream of earning all superior scores for the fourth year in a row and placing high in state rankings, Cockrell said.

To raise funds for travel, Craddock said the booster club will be meeting in three weeks to plan future fundraisers.