Each year from 1948 to 1977, a high school band was selected to represent the Lions of Michigan in the annual parade at their international convention. In 1978, an all-state band was organized to honor and play for an incoming Lions International President from Michigan. This Lions All State Band was created and has appeared annually at conventions thereafter.
The All State Band has since become one of the Michigan Lions’ most acclaimed youth activities. The success of the band is attributable to outstanding students, excellent instructors, and dedicated support staff. Former band directors include Jon Francis, Walter Cole, Jim King, Mack Pittard, Matt Taton and Roger Weyersberg. The current director is Jason Russell.
Students from over 300 Michigan high schools and communities have participated in the band since its inception. The band averages 45-75 students.
Performances center around the band’s appearance at the Lions Clubs International Convention, held in major cities throughout the world during late June or early July. Additional concerts and appearances are schedules enroute to the convention site or during the homeward journey. The annual tour generally lasts 7 to 10 days. Major cities where the band has performed include Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, New Orleans, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Montreal.
The Lions All-State Band provides its members with experience in four major areas.
- Excellent musical literature and high-quality instruction contribute to long-term growth.
- Sectionals help students develop rhythm, intonation, and tone.
- Students return to their high school bands with more experience in performing
Travel & Education
- Worldwide travel promotes a better understanding of social, cultural, and ethical diversity.
- Increases students’ appreciation of the world through tourism and exposure to unique activities.
- Students develop social skills through interaction with fellow band members from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Many students experience their first opportunity to develop self-reliance through extended travel and absence from home.
- Lasting friendships are formed
“We Serve” – Exposure to the Lion’s Motto
- Concerts at hospitals, orphanages, and retirement centers enable students to bring joy to people and to those less fortunate than themselves.
- Students experience the personal satisfaction of the helping others which is the concept behind the Lions’ motto, “We Serve.”
Frequently Asked Questions about the Lions All State Band
Band members from Michigan schools, grades 8th through College Sophomore, are eligible to audition for the Lions Band. The band includes traditional woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, and also has an auxiliary unit. It is not a honors band and includes a broad range of performance levels. Applicants should not feel threatened by any of the elements of the audition process.
How do students become members of the Band?
Band members are selected during the annual auditions. A non-refundable fee of $20 is required with each application to audition.
How do I get more information?
Each year, a mailing is sent to high school directors and to Lions and Lioness Clubs throughout Michigan. It contains audition information, application forms, and highlights of the current year’s tour.
When/Where does the band rehearse?
Auditions and rehearsals take place at a mid-Michigan school. Specific details and rehearsal dates are printed in the tour information pamphlet each year.
What does the tour fee include?
The tour fee includes all transportation, meals, lodging, tours and admissions. Band members are provided two travel uniforms (shirt/short/socks), a video tape, audio recording, Lions parade patch, souvenir pin, and certificate of participation. Meals are also provided during the rehearsals. The total cost varies according to the destination and length of the tour.
How do band members pay for the tour?
Students are responsible for paying their own tour fee. They may approach local Lions Clubs, band boosters, service clubs, and other community organizations for financial assistance. However, funds not raised through these efforts must be paid by the individual band members. Full payment must be received at least one month prior to departure.
How do the Lions Clubs of Michigan support the Band?
Lions Clubs pay the administrative costs of the band, including music, supplies, telephone, postage, insurance, dress uniforms, instruments, equipment, rent of rehearsal facilities, and staff costs. Some Lions Clubs also choose to donate money toward the trip fees of individual band members.