ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Jones County Junior College.
The Jones County Junior College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band is off to a "Fantasy" filled year as it begins the marching season with a sneak preview at the annual Band Exhibition, Tuesday, August 25, at 7 p.m. in the Sim Cooley/Bobcat Stadium. The public is invited to this free event to get a glimpse at the "Rock Fantasy" show directed by JCJC Interim Director of Bands, Jeff Cannon and created by former Director of Bands, Dr. Jonathan Helmick.
"I was thrilled with the response to this year's show concept," said Cannon. "The Maroon Typhoon will take us on a musical journey with a young man dreaming of rock stardom!"
Featured soloist, sophomore from Gautier, Bryce Kinzer said he is excited to have the spotlight on him for the French horn solo in "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"The solo itself is not difficult; the difficulty lies in making something musically beautiful from it," said Kinzer. "I love the high pressure of having a solo with the entire crowd listening to the music coming out my horn."
Band members shared their excitement about performing a rock-and-roll show with hits like, "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas, "Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd, "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen, "Seven Bridges Road" by the Eagles, "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac and "Dust In the Wind" by Kansas with "Bohemian Rhapsody Reprise" by Queen as the finale.
"I think the show is great. Obviously a classic rock show will have a lot of music taken from the guitar which sometimes doesn't translate easily, but that's the challenge of it all," said Kinzer.
Touch of Gold dancers and the color guard will be featured in a very different way than in previous years with more visual props and they are included throughout the show.
"The show is really energetic, forcing the audience to watch us. They won't want to leave because it is so captivating," said Touch of Gold captain, Madison Aultman of Sumrall.
The five color guard captains shared they also like being included more in the show, along with the use of more props, backdrops and voice overs in the show. Sumrall's Alexus Floyd said there are a lot of moments in the show that give her chills. While Toni Leverette of Terry credits their choreographer, Evan Williams for giving the color guard a fresh look.
"The choreography is intense and challenging but Evan makes the challenging routines look simple to perform. He has made us re-think how we perform too," said Leverette.
Maroon Typhoon fans will also see a new " look" with new uniforms and a different type of "step" in this year's show as the band prepares for the McDonald's® Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day. The band was introduced to the military style of marching during the nine-day band camp at the beginning of August. Cannon's prior experience of 25-years at Pearl High School and 22-years as Executive Director of the international championship, Lions All-State Band, he knows how to quickly get a band marching to the same tune.
"I have had a long-time respect for this institution and especially the Maroon Typhoon. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with many awesome young people from the Pine Belt because of my association with the Mississippi Lions Band. JCJC students have been an inspiration to me! They have had a tremendous work ethic and a burning desire for excellence. Camp was brutal because of the heat but they have been real troopers and I think people will really enjoy their 2015 production of, 'A Rock Fantasy!' The students have been very nice and very receptive to my sometimes unorthodox methods."
Students admit, learning Cannon's style was difficult at first. However, Kinzer said he realizes how Cannon's methods have helped him personally and the band as a whole.
"A common theme Mr. Cannon has preached is versatility, and he is absolutely correct. A band student needs to be versatile. Mr. Cannon's style can make it difficult to learn drill as a band, but marching technique has improved massively."
Aultman added, "He (Cannon) is so passionate about his work he really wants us to look good for us as a group, and I really appreciate that!"
Sophomore drum major from Laurel, Lydia Myers said she is thrilled with this year's show and is excited to have Cannon working with the Maroon Typhoon this year.
"He is the parade master! We're going to rock Chicago and everywhere we go!" said Myers. "I look forward to another great year with the Maroon Typhoon!"
Cannon agrees this season is going to "rock" because of JCJC's assistant directors of band, Lindsey Keay has been so helpful along with Meri Newell, Dr. Richard Patrick, Jeff Brown, Anthony Luker and Grey Shealy, have been awesome to work with.
"JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith, Fine Arts Division Chair, Dr. Mark Taylor, and VP of Student Affairs, Dr. Samuel Jones has been so encouraging and have made this transition time really awesome. I am looking forward to a great football marching season," said Cannon.
The Maroon Typhoon Band Exhibition will be moved to the A.B. Howard gym if there is inclement weather. For more information about the Maroon Typhoon, contact the JCJC Fine Arts Office at: 601-477-4094.