Lewisburg Band Hits High Note for 3rd Straight State Championship
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Wednesday, November 02, 2016
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Lewisburg Band Hits High Note for 3rd Straight State Championship

 

   Kim Hallmark stood on the sidelines, calm and collected, watching the Lewisburg Marching Band perform their routine dubbed “Mother Nature.” She did not make a suggestion or have a clipboard taking notes.  She just enjoyed the show.  Unless you knew this 30-year-old band director was in charge, most would have assumed she was a fan.

   Her quiet confidence came from knowing her students had been given the tools to be successful.

 

    For the third year in a row, the Lewisburg High Patriot Band won the 5A MHSAA Marching Band State Championship. With a band program that is only 10 years old, they have won a total of six first place state titles and four runner-up titles. Hallmark joined the band program as an assistant band director nine years ago and has been the head band director for the last four years.

   “I inherited a program that was successful,” she said. “These students have come together this year and worked for a common purpose of putting a great product on the field. The best performance of this show was on the night of the championship competition.”

 

    Producing this award-winning product started in July.  Lewisburg High had a two-week band camp that started at 7 a.m. and went until 5 p.m. during Mississippi’s hottest month.

   “We also practice every day during our normal block schedule, and Tuesday and Thursday after school until 6 p.m.,” she said.

   Hallmark is quick to credit her band assistants, Ben McLemor, 28, and Nelson Coile, 24, and her tremendous parent support as reasons why her program is successful.

   “We have a crew of dads, a minimum of 25, who transport and move props on the field, and tons of parents here all the time helping with all aspects of our program,” she added.

   For the award-winning performance this year, students wore brown costumes instead of traditional marching uniforms because they represented tree roots and branches to support their “Mother Nature” theme.

 

    “The visuals and props depicted all aspects of nature. A student walked the field all through the performance representing Mother Nature.  At the end of the show, the band was hidden under her train,” Hallmark said.

   Casey Kellogg, a senior, had an extended flute solo throughout the show.

   “I have worked with Casey since she was in the fifth grade.  She reads music but also plays by ear.  She nailed her performance,” Hallmark added.

   The Lewisburg Band is comprised of 183 students. 

   “These kids mean the world to me.  I feel like they are mine and try to treat them as if they were my own,” she added.  “On a regular basis, we have great kids who work hard and are willing to put in the work to get the job done.”

 
 

    Hallmark attended school in Hernando.  She started band in the sixth grade and graduated from Hernando High School in 2004.

   “My band director was Rob Chase, now the principal at Hernando Middle School.  He had a love for music, a love for band and passed that on to me,” she noted.

   Now a three-time state champ, what does she want her program to achieve?

   “Every year we strive to be better than before.  We go into concert season with the hope of growing all students as musicians.  We select a platform for our band competition that will showcase their talents, and encourage their creativity.  It is not about me or my staff. At the end of the day, it is the students' job to go on the field and create a winning performance.” 

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