More than 200 high school musicians from throughout the region will participate Thursday-Saturday [Jan. 23-25] in the 62nd annual Mississippi State University Honor Band Clinic.
The campus event began as a new materials clinic in the early 1950s and was among only a few such programs of its kind in the country when established. Band directors were invited to hear performances of newly-published music to consider for their own organizations.
Participants in this year's clinic were selected from more than 300 students who auditioned in late November and early December. Those selected had to meet specific criteria in musicianship, technique and tone quality.
"These are bright high school students from all over the Southeast, and they are some of the best student musicians in the region," said Craig Aarhus, MSU associate director of bands. "It's great to have them on campus for one of our biggest events of the year."
Free and open to all, clinic performances will be held in the McComas Hall main theater. They include:
--Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Honor Jazz Band and Honor Percussion Ensemble;
--Friday, 7:30 p.m., MSU Wind Ensemble; and
--Saturday, 1 p.m., Honor Band final concert.
Aarhus, also an assistant professor of music, said the concerts will feature a wide variety of musical selections.
"The jazz band and percussion ensemble are unique to honor-band experiences students can have in this state," he said.
Clinicians for this year's event include Fred J. Allen, Robert W. Elliott, Jo Ann Hood, and Clifton Taylor.
Allen is director of bands and professor of music at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In addition to directing the wind ensemble and teaching graduate conducting, orchestration and music education classes, he has conducted all-region and all-state bands throughout the Lone Star State and other parts of the country.
Elliott has been teaching for nearly 30 years in Ohio and Kentucky, and currently is director of bands at Larry A. Ryle High School in Union, Ky. Since 1986, musical units under his leadership consistently have received distinguished ratings at both district and state levels.
Hood, who retired in 2011 after 30 years as director of the John Overton High School Band in Nashville, is an adjunct faculty member at both Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State universities. She supervises music student teachers and serves extensively as an adjudicator and clinician of marching and concert bands.
Taylor, MSU associate director of bands, assists director Elva Kaye Lance in leading the Famous Maroon Band. He also conducts the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, and teaches courses in the music department. Before joining the MSU faculty, he taught instrumental music at the secondary-school and community-college levels.
Beyond benefits for participating students, their band directors and parents, the annual spring-semester clinic serves as an important recruiting event for the MSU band program, Aarhus said.
"Many current members of the Famous Maroon Band participated in the honor band clinic as high school students," he said. "It's a great way to show prospective students all about Mississippi State and the MSU Band.
"Starkville is a community that supports the arts, and it's always great to have quality live music opportunities like this so close to home," he added.
For more information about the 2014 honor band clinic, telephone 662-325-2713 or visit www.msuband.msstate.edu. Aarhus also may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.