State Lions band takes international crown — again

Published 12:28 pm Friday, July 9, 2010

Hours of preparation paid off in Sydney, Australia, as the Mississippi Lions All-State Band placed first in the international competition event June 27 through July 4. It was the band’s second consecutive victory and 27th all-time — more than any other band in the world.

To prepare, the band rehearsed 11 hours a day. The 144-piece band composed of high school students from around the state featured five students from Warren Central High School, including graduating seniors Della Loflin, daughter of Russ Loflin and Susan Johnston; Elizabeth Ogle, daughter of Harry and Vickie Ogle; Aliesha Phillips, daughter of Henry Phillips and Stephanie Combs; Trey Mathes, the son of Harvey and Sandy Mathes; and rising junior Caley Barela, daughter of Clinton and Felicia Barela.

Della said she knew they had won after seeing the reaction of the judges.

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“I always try to watch the judges, we got a standing ovation after we marched by,” she said. “That’s the most rewarding part of it — when you can make the judges forget they’re judges.”

This year was Della’s fourth and final time competing in the Lions Band, and the experience has meant a lot to her.

“It’s given me so many chances to meet people and play and go places,” she said. “I’m really appreciative that I got the opportunity.”

The Mississippi Lions Band has now won an unprecedented seven contests over the last eight years.

The band is made up of high-performing students. Selection is based on a audition process. More than 900 auditioned.

The Mississippi Lions All-State Band was founded 61 years ago and is sponsored by Lions Club International, a service organization. The Vicksburg chapter donated $500 to each of the five students for their trip to Sydney.