SCOOBA — Positions are still available for students interested in trying out for East Mississippi Community College’s Mighty Lion Band.

Tryouts will continue as long as scholarships are available but need to take place in advance of three mandatory summer band camps.

“The time to try out is now,” Band Director Steve Stringer said. “There are a limited number of scholarships.”

A mini-camp will take place July 27-29 for those in percussion, ensemble, color guard and dance. The two remaining band camps are for all band members and are slated for July 29 to Aug. 1, and Aug. 7-11.

Neshoba County resident Jenna Vining, 18, is among the incoming freshmen who earned a spot on the band.               

“I am really excited,” said Vining, who toured the Scooba campus Thursday along with her aunt, Melissa Anthony.

Vining, who has played the flute for seven years, graduated from Neshoba Central High School in May. She plans to major in music education and enroll at a four-year university after graduating from EMCC.

Vining was awarded a spot on the Mighty Lion Band as a first-year flutist after auditioning for Stringer during a Neshoba Central High School Symphonic Band rehearsal at EMCC.

“Her skills, practice level, dedication and interview earned Jenna an advanced level band scholarship, which includes full tuition fees and half the cost for room and board,” Stringer said of Jenna. “That, stacked along with her outstanding academic scholarship, will cover all expenses minus books. She also has some financial aid that will cover her books.”

Stringer said band scholarships are still available for students at the Scooba and Golden Triangle campuses. A primary scholarship covers tuition and fees at either campus. There is an advanced scholarship, like the one for which Vining qualified, and an honors scholarship that covers tuition and fees and either room and room and board at the Scooba campus or $1,000 for books at the Golden Triangle campus.

Vining said she had no idea her love of music would one day help pay for her cost to attend college.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it through high school in the band,” Vining said. “I thought about quitting my freshman year.”

But she developed a passion for music.

“When you get in-depth with it, the music becomes you,” Vining said. “You start to feel the music throughout you. It becomes your emotion, the way you play it or hear it.”

Anthony said while her niece exhibited a natural talent for music at an early age, she also had the “passion and drive” to excel.

“She pushes herself,” Anthony said.

Vining said she chose EMCC because she wanted to meet new people and develop new friends.

“She didn’t take this lightly,” Anthony said her niece’s decision about which college to attend. “She did her homework. She checked all the places out.”

Those interested in trying out for the Mighty Lion Band or who want more information can email Steve Stringer at sstringer@eastms.edu.

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