Meridian Star

November 24, 2013

Mighty Lion Band to perform in nation's oldest parade

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College’s Mighty Lion Band is training to brave the cold in Philadelphia, Pa., this Thanksgiving.

    Director of Bands Steve Stringer is taking advantage of the current cold snap, leading his band on miles-long marches in preparation for the Mighty Lion Band’s performance in the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade Nov. 28 in Philadelphia. The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country can be seen live via webcast on beginning at 7:30 a.m. Central time.

    “It’s a good thing we’re having cold weather now. We marched two miles yesterday and the band got to see the brutality of marching in cold weather. In Philadelphia, it will be so cold our brass players will have to put Vaseline on their lips just so they won’t freeze to their instruments,” Stringer said.

    The Mighty Lion Band is one of 17 marching bands selected to participate in the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than 100 bands applied. EMCC will be 66th in a line of more than 160 floats, balloons, bands, choirs and other participants.

    “It’s a huge honor to be able to do this. It’s going to be rough but it will be fun at the same time. It’s hard to play an ice-cold trumpet,” said Mighty Lion Band member Hunter Brown of Columbus.

    Band member Lauren Stephens of Meridian said the cold will provide an opportunity to prove that bands from Mississippi can perform on any stage in the nation.

    “A good band isn’t a good band unless it’s proven under difficult circumstances. We’re going to be tested and we’ll get to show how tough we are,” she said.

    Average late November temperatures in Philadelphia show high temperatures in the low 50s, but an 8:30 a.m. Eastern time start means the band will likely walk the 1.4 miles of the parade route in much lower temperatures.

    EMCC’s participation in the parade is part of Stringer’s and EMCC President Dr. Rick Young’s plans to raise the Mighty Lion Band to national prominence. Stringer and the band will visit Washington D.C. on the return trip where they will perform at a local retirement center in addition to visiting the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Institute in addition to other stops.

    Special guests scheduled to appear at the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade include Cedric The Entertainer, Danielle Bradbery from “The Voice” and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Upon returning to Scooba, the Mighty Lion Band will begin preparations to travel and play at the NJCAA football national title game Dec. 8 at the Mississippi Bowl in Biloxi where the EMCC Lions will take on Georgia Military College.