Peyton Sills (right) stands with other students selected to play in Washington D.C. recently.
Peyton Sills (right) stands with other students selected to play in Washington D.C. recently.
A Madison Central band student has taken top honors at a national band competition held in Washington D.C. by the United States Marine Band and the Heritage Foundation.

Peyton Sills, a Madison Central senior, was one of five students chosen nationally out of a pool 114 applications. All students got to perform a solo with the United States Marine Band in Washington D.C in the John Philip Sousa band hall two weekends ago, the weekend of Feb. 16.

“It was an honor to play with the United States Marine Band. They are one of the best in the country and a group I would love to play for professionally one day,” Sills said.

Sills was the first finalist selected form Mississippi in the roughly ten years of the competition’s existence, James Sills, Peyton’s dad, said.

Sills took the top award, a $2,500 scholarship, for his solo performance of Concertino by Ralph Wilhelm on the euphonium. He said he plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi next fall to study music.

Sills will also perform with the band again in March. The runner up, a flautist, received a $500 scholarship.

During his time in D.C., Sills had the opportunity to meet the Principal Euphoniumist for the band, Mark Jenkins. In addition to the competition, he also got to do some sightseeing with his dad and band director, Chuck Reynolds.

“The trip was a lot of. I learned a lot from the experience,” Sills said.

James Sills said that they are a musical family. Peyton’s twin sister, Kaitlyn, is the first chair in her instrument at Madison Central and his mother, Jennifer, is the assistant band director.

He said that he enjoyed the concert and looked forward to seeing what other opportunities his children would have.

“This was a such a great experience musically for my son. Not only did he get to perform in such a prestigious venue, but we also got a tour of several D.C. buildings of significance with Roger Wicker,” Jame sSills said. “As a retired and former band director, we are indebted to Chuck Reynolds and the band program he has created for his guidance and work with Peyton. He and his sister have a tremendous for love music and we cannot wait to see what they do with it moving forward.”