UHS band takes 2nd place at state contest

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

The Union High School Pride of Union March Band brought home more hardware on Saturday after finishing second overall at the Class 2A State Band Competition in Pearl.

Union only finished less than a half a point out of first place and won first place in subcategories percussion and visual performance.

Union also finished second in color guard, general effect and musical performance. It was the second straight top 2 finish by Union and one of several by the school who has captured six state 2A titles.

“The kids worked hard all season, “said Union Band Director Adam De Venney. “They gave a great performance and the parents were very energetic so we couldn’t ask for anything better, and overall it was just a great day from beginning to end.”

This year’s performance was “Numbers” and the band has been working on the routine since the summer. The band practices from 5:30-8 p.m. for six Mondays during the summer and then from 5:30-8 p.m. each Monday and Thursday when classes begin in the fall.

This year’s drum majors are Mallory Malone, Grace Goss and Seth Sessums who all say they enjoy carrying on the tradition of excellence for the Pride.

“The program has always been big since I’ve been in elementary,” Malone said. “My older brother was in it and it seemed awesome, and watching them at halftime was always interesting. It just seemed like something you wanted to be a part of; it was such a big deal.”

Goss, also a junior, who like Malone has competed at the state competition for five years, said she first became interested in band while in the fourth grade when she took up the clarinet.

Sessums transferred to Union School Public District two years ago and was selected to the 2016 Mississippi All-State Middle School Band.

De Venney said that while Union’s standard of excellence remains the same, the improved competition from other schools has made the band better.

“The thing that we’re very proud and what the kids have told me is that we’re consistently always in the hunt and at the top,” De Venney said. “The competition over the past several years has grown, which is good. When I started teaching, we would only have about five or six bands in two-way compete, and this year there were 12 so there are more two-way bands competing now in championship which is a good thing.”