An unprecedented four Starkville High School students were accepted into the 2024 Mississippi All-State Lions Band through a multi-tiered audition process. Students earning spots in the award-winning band are SHS junior Margaret Ann Sullivan playing French horn, 10th graders Jimin Kim playing flute and Mirae Nishikawa on clarinet, and 9th grader Ashton Wood playing tenor saxaphone. All four students ranked in the top ten in Mississippi in their instrument group based on audition performance. This marks the third time Margaret Ann has earned a place in Lions Band, and it is the first year the other three students have been accepted.
The Mississippi Lions All-State Band is the premiere honor band in the state. More than 100 students from across Mississippi each year are selected for the band through an audition process. Members of the band are invited to participate in a week-long camp and culminating concert performance in-state each year in addition to summer travels to perform in various parades.
"This is the largest number of students that I've had accepted in a single year during my time at Starkville High," SHS Director of Bands Shawn Sullivan said. "It's a real testament to the hard work these students have put in to mastering their instruments. I'm very proud of them."
In addition to performing in-state, students accepted in the honor band have the opportunity to travel during the summer for competitive performances. During the last two years in Lion's Band, Margaret Ann said she was able to visit Washington, DC, Boston, Massachusetts, and Montreal, Canada, where Mississippi's Lions Band earned the honor of International Champion both years. In the summer of 2024, the band will travel to Melbourne, Australia.
"We are very proud of these four outstanding musicians for their excellent work," said Starkville Oktibbeha School District Superintendent, Dr. Tony McGee. "This honor is a real testament to the strong band program Mr. Sullivan and his team have created for secondary students. The district works to create opportunities where students interested in music can thrive."