The Mississippi Lions All-State Band will perform for the citizens of Kosciusko on June 21.
After two years without performing, except for a virtual convention last year, the Lions Band will perform on the new extended stage of the Skipworth auditorium at 6:30 p.m., June 21, free of charge.
The Lions Band is an elite band that travels to different states and countries to perform and defend its title as international champions.
During camp training, the Lions Band has breakfast at 7 a.m. each morning, and then after a morning stretch, the band practices until 10 p.m. that night.
Before performing for the city of Kosciusko, the Lions Band is set to perform on Monday, June 20 at the Brownstone Center-PRCC in Poplarville. The Lions Band will load up and head to Kosciusko on the 21st.
Former Big Red Band director Mickey Mangum, the assistant director of the Lions Band, is thrilled to be back in Kosciusko and to perform for the town that he has many memories of.
“Living in Kosciusko for 15 years was pretty special for me,” Mangum said. “My wife and I were married in Kosciusko, and we are really excited to be back.”
Mangum directed the Big Red Band from 1994-2009. During his time directing the band, Mangum was asked to come in and help teach the percussion side of the Lions Band.
“In my early career, I was a percussionist,” said Mangum. “They bring in a person each year that specializes in that section, and in 1994 I was brought in to teach percussion.”
Mangum was recruited again in 1997 and 2000. In 2005, he was offered the position of assistant to the marching band director with the understanding that the next year in 2006, he would be the marching band director. Mangum became the marching band director in 2006 and the Lions Band proceeded to win the championship in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 2007, Mangum became the Assistant Director Manager of the Lions Band and currently remains in that position.
The Lions Band undergoes intensive practice and met for the first time this week at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi to begin practicing for the upcoming summer schedule.
“Right up until we leave to come to Kosciusko, we will practice every day,” Mangum said.
The 146 members of the Lions Band are looking forward to performing for the public on the Skipworth stage which now has extendable panels that will comfortably fit the members of the band.
“They are excited about it,” Mangum said about Lions Band members’ thoughts on performing at the Skipworth Performing Arts Center. “I used to perform in there all the time when I was the band director. It’s exciting to see that building being modernized.”
According to Mangum, the performance is going to be a three-part concert. The first part of the performance will be the “sit-down” concert.
“We will be performing typical concert band literature including marches, concert pieces, and that type of thing,” Mangum said.
After a short intermission, the Lions Band will perform what’s referred to as a “lobby show” which is a show that has its origin from being performed at the Lions Convention in the lobby of the hotel to entertain the guests.
“It’s a Lions theme. The different Lions officers for the state will be recognized. Even the international officers will be recognized,” he said. “Our dancers and color guard perform for that show, and it’s almost got a Broadway feel to it.”
The last part of the Lions Band performance will include the competition march tune that they will play.
Longtime Big Red Band director Mickey Grove, who also directed the Lions Band during his career, will conduct the Star-Spangled Banner. After two years of not conducting, Grove looks forward to being back on stage.
“I am excited for the Lion’s Band to come to Kosciusko, and I am looking forward to conducting in front of the community,” Grove said. “I am hoping to see a lot of familiar faces in the audience.”
Mangum is also set to conduct a piece during the Lions Band performance. Both Mickeys are looking forward to putting on an excellent performance for all to enjoy.