Area bands fared well in recent marching competitions including Union, which was named the Class 2-A marching champions for the fifth year in a row at the State Marching Championships at Pearl High School.

The Neshoba Central High School Big Blue Marching Band scored all superiors in the West Alabama Marching Band Festival in Gordo, Ala.

The Philadelphia High School Band scored superiors in the drum major, flag and drum line sections and scored excellent in the band section in the festival in Gordo.

Union Band Director Adam DeVenney was proud of his band's performance.

"It never gets old," DeVenney said. "The kids worked real hard to achieve this."

The band was judged, said DeVenney, on five categories: general effect, music, visual, color guard and drums.

They received the highest scores in all five categories, a first for the band despite their five-year winning spree.

"This is the first time the color guard took first place," DeVenney said. "I'm proud of all on them."

The Union band started nine years ago, in 2005. In 2007 DeVenney was brought in and in 2009 they won their first state championship.

"A lot of it rests on the kids," he said. "They were motivated, driven and blessed."

I know the group will take it up a level next year, DeVenney said, noting that they plan to continue the winning streak by getting even better.

"It's always a good goal to never settle for halfway."

The plan for the rest of this year is to relax. In two weeks the band will be traveling to Orlando to visit Disney World and Universal Studios for a much needed break.

The Neshoba Central Band was rated fifth best overall in the festival in Gordo, director Daniel Wade said, "and our color guard was the second best out of the 34 bands competing."

Philadelphia Band Director Wayne Benn was also proud of his band.

"This was our last marching contest," said Benn. "We had a good stride and were only two points from all superiors."

Benn said his group had a great sound but a weaker marching ability.

Wade praised his underclass members for taking leadership roles but said the overall inexperience held them back from a higher score.

"They'll do nothing but get better over time," he said proudly.

Both directors were proud of their groups, saying they had done a better job than expected.

With marching season over, both Wade and Benn are looking towards next year.

"We're going to work on the same things as this year: marching and striving to be champions," Wade said.

Benn has even decided that next year's group will be competing in the State Championship at Pearl High School. Wade is still considering it.