Picayune band ready for new semester

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Picayune band ended 2019 with a Christmas parade performance and a Christmas concert for community members to attend.

Band Director John Cockrell said both performances went well for the band, even with the limited amount of time the musicians had to prepare.

Looking back on the first semester, Cockrell said his band members were right on schedule when it came to the quality of their performances both on the field and on stage.

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“The band 100 percent met my expectations. This was the furthest our band has ever pushed themselves,” Cockrell said.

The band received all superiors at their marching competition and will be looking to take that same level of success into concert season.

Now the musicians understand the hard work necessary to be successful and Cockrell said the band’s early success will lead to the desire for more from the musicians.

“They bought into the show. Whenever you buy into something and taste success you’re always hungry for more,” Cockrell said.

Over the next couple of weeks Cockrell and the musicians will methodically work on the things necessary to get good scores on stage.

A major part of that will be the band’s ability to improve on sight reading skills.

“This next four weeks is going to be sight reading. Then it’ll move into the stage performance and we’ll start performing the pieces,” Cockrell said.

Cockrell said the show for the concert competitions would be longer than the halftime show the band performed during the first half of the school year.

Musically the show will be harder as the judges focus solely on the band’s musical ability.

During concert season, musicians won’t have to march while playing, but they’ll be performing under a microscope on stage.

Picayune’s concert show will consist of three pieces of music, which will last approximately 15 minutes.

The first piece to open the show is usually a march, followed by a lyrical piece and then rounded out by an overture.

Cockrell said he isn’t worried about the stage performance, so the focus will be squarely on sight reading.

Cockrell said the musicians would play 50 to 75 pieces of music in preparation for that aspect of the competition.

“My biggest expectation for this semester is to develop our sight reading skills and make them better than we’ve had in the past. That’s our biggest goal,” Cockrell said.

Everything about the sight reading routine will be rehearsed and perfected, so the band can go into the competition as comfortable as possible.

The musicians will be tested in a variety of ways and Cockrell wants to make sure they’re ready.

Considering the band’s all superior ratings at the marching competitions, more of the same success could be on its way for the Picayune band come concert season.