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Laurel marching band invited to Battle of the Bands

The band is the only Mississippi high school set to perform in Jackson State’s Battle of the Bands event
Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 12:59 AM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) -Jackson State University marching band will host a high school battle of the bands next weekend.

They only chose 1 band from Mississippi to participate, and it’s none other than the Laurel High School’s Golden Tornado Marching Band.

Many kids grow up admiring bands like Jackson State’s “Sonic Boom” and hoped to one day be able to perform on a major platform like the battle of the bands.

That’s the case for 11th-grade drum major Xavier Washington.

“When I was seven years old, I went to my first ever college football game, which was JSU Vs. Alcorn State University, and I watched the drum majors mostly, mainly all about the band. I just loved the band. I fell in love with it.” Says Xavier.

Xavier has been a part of the Laurel Marching Band since he was in 7th grade. He started out playing drums, and now he gets to be the drum major, however, it was not easy getting the title.

“We have requirements, one is the DLP, which is the demonstration of pattern, you have to conduct two-fourths, three-fourth and four-fourths and you had to create a dance routine as well, so I had to do a show style dance routine. And then, you have to march. You have to show style, and you have to march forth now” says Xavier.

Now he’s a part of history. This is the band’s first-ever battle of the band’s performance.

“When we do the Battle of the Bands, I believe I’ll just take myself to a next level of being a real drum major and being hoping to become a drum major when I get in college,” says Xavier.

He says he wants to go to Howard University and join the band. His band director Tamiko Bridges says performing next weekend will help him get there because it will help them gain experience and skills that colleges are looking for.

“they’re able to get a scholarship based off of those skills that they have learned just participating in an event of this caliber. (It) gives them an experience. It gives them exposure and allows them to see what it’s like to perform in front of crowds of 1,000s of people” says Bridges

She says the band has been putting in about 13 hours a week preparing for the event, and, even though they are ready to leave, they are asking for the community’s help getting there.

“We do need community support. We need the community to rally behind us and to help us not only just to get to Jackson, but we want to see the community there,” says Bridges.

The event will be Saturday, Oct. 2, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson. The gates open at 1 p.m. and the event starts at 3 p.m.

If you’d like to purchase a ticket, you can go to LaurelSchools.org. If you’d like to donate to the band, call laurel high school at 601-649-4145.

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