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USM music student takes second in national competition

Peyton Sills, a junior music education major at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), recently took second place in the annual Stars and Stripes competition and became the only undergraduate student among the finalists. The competition, and others like it, strive to simulate real auditions for military bands in the United States.

“This competition was extremely eye-opening for me regarding preparation for auditions,” said Sills. “I have learned how to practice more efficiently and analytically which has already yielded great results post-competition.”

The competition began with a preliminary round of 4-5 excerpts and etudes. The semi-final round was cut to 10 players and included about 7 excerpts with a quickly prepared etude. Lastly, the final round included 10 excerpts with four competitors. Sills’ second-place finish earned him prize money and a free lesson with one of the judges.

Southern Miss music student takes second place in national competition

“Peyton has done an outstanding job of maintaining and elevating the high level of performance of our tuba/euphonium studio over the years,” said Dr. Richard Perry, professor of tuba and euphonium at the School of Music.

Sills is a native of Madison, Miss. At USM, he is a member of the Wind Ensemble, Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and serves as president of the Golden Eagle Tuba Society.

*I challenge all my musician peers at Southern Miss to explore outside events to better themselves,” Sills continued. “From excerpt or solo competitions to conferences and workshops, there are always avenues to ignite personal and musical growth.”

For more information about the Southern Miss School of Music, visit or call 601.266.5543.


Written by University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites in central and southern Mississippi, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 130 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and sport venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 40 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of approximately 15,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 36 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 24 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit


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