The Vision Showcase: Holden Hebert


Courtesy of Holden Herbert

Junior Holden Herbert stands in full Lions Band dress with his bass clarinet.

Sebastian Harvey, Staff Writer

Each year, more than 100 Mississippi high school students are selected by audition for the Mississippi Lions All-State Band, the state’s premier honor band. This year, MSMS junior Holden Hebert was selected as the first chair bass clarinetist during his second year of participation. 

Hebert’s passion for music began many years ago, starting with a different instrument. 

“I originally started in sixth grade with the clarinet. In seventh grade, I wanted to swap to bass clarinet. Maybe it’s because my dad did it; maybe I just wanted to be different. I really liked it, so I kept on doing it,” Hebert said. “I grew to love the people in the band at Starkville and some of the members here, too. Playing is a passion. It just developed. I enjoy it a lot.”

After students apply through a two-stage audition process, the selected members participate in the week-long Mississippi Bandmasters Association Annual State Band Clinic culminating in a concert. Then, the entire band travels to compete in the Parade of Nations at the Lions Club International Convention. This year’s event will be held in Boston, Massachusetts. To date, the Mississippi band has won 34 competitions.

Hebert began auditioning for the band freshman year but, according to Hebert, did not make the band because of increased competition and his lack of experience. Luckily, his sophomore year brought different results.

“I practiced about as much, if not more, than my freshman year. The first round of auditions I made second chair; then, after callbacks, I made first chair. My band director called me. It was awesome,” Hebert said. 

Sydney Beane, a junior and oboe player, performs with Hebert in the Blue Notes Band and Instrumental Performance class. 

“Holden stayed after band class every day to practice; he went to band tutorials very often. He is always super kind and made sure to send me a good luck message before I tried out. Trying out for Lions’ Band is truly a nerve-wracking experience. You could spend months preparing, and your stage-freight could dampen your performance. He is such a strong performer and harbors the confidence of a true professional,” Beane said. 

Theo Hummer, a teacher in the MSMS English Department, plays cello with Hebert in the Blue Notes Band. 

“I am brand new to the base section of any ensemble; I was a viola player, and I just picked up cello this fall. I wasn’t always able to carry my weight in the base section, but I knew it would always be OK because Holden always had it,” Hummer said. 

Hebert’s past experiences within Lions give him excitement for his second year in the band. 

It’s my favorite clinic band experience. You find such great players, and they all pursue the same thing you do. It was a very fun community to be with,” Hebert said. “[At the Lions Club International Convention] we did a parade in Montreal, but we also toured around Quebec and subsections of cities there. It was the best summer ever. Canada was amazing! It’s different to be in another country. It’s right next to you, but there are so many different cultures. It’s so interesting, especially when you’re with a bunch of people you know and like.”

Herbert said he plans on continuing to play the bass clarinet. 

“Being in the Lions Band gives you scholarship opportunities from universities. I know people who have gotten a full ride because they’re so good at their horn,” Hebert said. “I know I’m going to play in college, but I’m not really sure what’s going to happen afterwards. I don’t really see music as something that I’d like to pursue, or at least maybe right now I don’t. I’m definitely going to keep on playing even after college just for enjoyment.”

For Hebert, community is what drives him to pursue music, he said. 

“For me, one of the largest reasons why I love pursuing music is the people in it. It’s such a great community of players. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if there weren’t so many great players in this band here at MSMS, in other clinic bands or Mississippi Lions Band. There are a lot of cool people in the community who encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing,” Hebert said.