The “Pride of Forest” Marching Band recently completed a season of marching competitions by finishing 3rd in the State of Mississippi among Class 3A Band programs.
“This last weekend actually finished up a season of rehearsals that started not long after July 4th,” Director of Bands, Mark Davis said. “We get started each summer with Color Guard and Percussion camps. Then full band camp commences the last week of July. We had a successful band camp but not long after, enough students tested positive for COVID-19 that we had to shut down rehearsals for the biggest part of two weeks at the beginning of school. It seems like following that, we just never could get caught up.”
Davis said that the band continued to work daily, slow at times but they managed to make progress, little by little, each day, however they did not have the full marching show completed at our first competition. The first event was the Excalibur Marching Festival hosted at West Lauderdale on September 25. The band received Superior ratings in overall Band, Drum Major, Color Guard, and Percussion. Other awards that day were Best in Class – Band, and Best in Class – Color Guard, in addition to Overall Grand Champion.
The following week the final selections for the show, titled: El Matador Y La Rosa were put on the field for the Copiah Marching Festival on October 2. Superior rating were awarded for Drum Major, Color Guard, & Percussion.
The show tells the story of Love and Romance as a matador falls in love with a beautiful woman who was once a childhood friend. He finds that winning her love is not so easy.
On October 9, the Pride of Forest marched at the MHSAA State Marching Evaluation and received Superior ratings from all band judges, in addition to Superior ratings in Drum Major, Color Guard, and Percussion. This Superior rating in band qualified the group to compete in the 3A State Championship later in the month.
On October 16 at the Petal Invitational, the band also received Superior ratings in Band, Color Guard, and Percussion.
Out of 43 schools in Mississippi Class 3A, 9 bands qualified to compete in the 3A State Championship hosted at Germantown High School in Madison County. The Pride of Forest was awarded 3rd Place – Visual Award, 3rd Place – General Effect Award, 2nd Place – Music Award, and 3rd Place Overall Band.
“We’re extremely excited for our students,” Davis said. “They’ve worked hard and overcome so much to get to this level. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Davis added that this year would not be possible without the cohesiveness of an outstanding staff. “Assistant Director Kevin Bishop is an awesome band director who’s been teaching for a number of years,” he said. “Color Guard instructor Katherine Grisham does such a great job with the guard in addition to being Chair of the English Dept. at Forest High School. “We’ve also had the help of student teacher Michaela Phillips of Morton. She is completing a degree in Music Education from Mississippi State.”