College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Mid South’s Top High-School Musicians Gather at UM Honor Band Clinic

For 32 years, the Mid-South Honor Band clinic, hosted by the UM Department of Music, has invited the best high-school band students from Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama to the three-day clinic to improve their band skills. Faculty members, as well as leading local, regional and national clinicians, work with the more than 160 students who attend the annual event.

“The Mid-South clinic provides an opportunity for students to experience the creative life of a dynamic department through rehearsals and performances with fellow musicians,” said Charles Gates, chair and professor of music. “It also allows the university to identify potential students, and to enhance and expand working relationships with area secondary music
programs.”

On the first afternoon of the three-day clinic, students audition and are assigned to one of two bands. Over the next two days, they spend eight hours daily in rehearsals and attend master classes taught by UM faculty and other clinicians. “These all-star students get a taste of professional [preparation for] a concert,” said David Willson, director of bands and professor of music.

Dr. David Willson

Dr. David Willson

The clinic also includes solo performances by UM faculty and showcases UM bands, including the Jazz Ensemble, University Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. The clinic concludes with a grand concert by all student participants.

Willson, who joined UM’s music faculty in 1991 and has nearly 30 years of experience working with college and high school students, said the clinic is a perfect recruitment tool because it brings top high-school band students to the Oxford campus.

“The students get an opportunity to interact with Ole Miss band students and faculty and learn first-hand what Ole Miss band life is like,” Willson said. “The more comfortable they are at Ole Miss, the more likely they are to visit us again.”

The Mid-South Honor Band Clinic is Feb. 15-17, 2007. To learn more about the clinic and UM band programs, visit www.olemiss.edu/depts/music.