The Pride of Mississippi enjoyed a successful trip to Ireland over spring break, as they were awarded the title of Best Overall Band at Limerick International Band Championship on Sunday. The parade featured 1,100 musicians from Europe and the U.S. The following Tuesday, the Pride was awarded Best Adult Band at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. -Courtesy photo
Of the 24 bands that performed in the Limerick International Band Championship in Ireland on Sunday, The University of Southern Mississippi’s marching band The Pride of Mississippi was awarded the title of Best Overall Band.
The parade featured over 1,100 musicians from Ireland, Europe and the U.S., about 130 of whom were from Southern Miss.
The victory came as no surprise to Steve Moser, the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at USM.
“The Pride was outstanding today,” Moser said on Sunday. “(They) excited the crowds in Limerick and were the great ambassadors for The University of Southern Mississippi and the state of Mississippi we all know them to be.”
Only two days later, The Pride of Mississippi won the award for Best Adult Band at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. Each year about 500,000 spectators line the streets of Dublin to see the parade, and it is broadcasted via webcast throughout the world.
According to James Standland, the director of the Pride, it was not the band’s first time performing there. The Pride also marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the late 1990s.
“Needless to say there is an excitement with our students that I have never seen,” Standland said. “These students rehearsed and prepared for the performances and are very deserving of this unique international achievement.”
The Pride performed music familiar to any Southern Miss fan, including the university’s fight song as well as the band’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Standland also noted that the band was extended an invitation by Guinness to perform at the brewery following the parade Tuesday.
Doug Morin, a graduate assistant with the Department of Bands and the Pride, said the parades were unlike anything he had experienced before.
“Even the pageant —as the Irish refer to them— ahead of us turned around because they were impressed by what they heard,” Morin said.
“It was really awesome to hear them cheering for us and a lot of times people would cheer and yell ‘Go Mississippi’ to us,” said Mallory Jennings, a sophomore math licensure major and a drum major for the Pride.
Abbe Adent, a junior interdisciplinary studies major who plays the piccolo, explained that the Pride originally did not know they were competing Sunday.
“In the Limerick parade we thought we were an exhibition band,” Adent said. “Being unaware that we were competing meant that we were just focused on having fun making music, and I think that helped the performance a lot.”
“This trip is something that every single student will remember for a lifetime,” Standland said. “It was that special.”