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Contact: Paige Watson
STARKVILLE, Miss.âWith annual band camp concluded, Mississippi Stateâs 330-member Famous Maroon Band is turning its attention to fine-tuning routines for the 2015-16 school year.
Veteran director Elva Kaye Lance said this yearâs contingent represents 14 states in addition to Mississippi, from which 68 percent hail. While the organization is part of the universityâs College of Education, membership, as always, includes a wide range of academic majors, she added.
âWe are very excited to be entering our 113th year,â said Lance, who shares Famous Maroon Band duties with co-directors Craig Aarhus and Clifton Taylor.
âDuring camp, it was incredible to see our incoming freshmen, many of whom held leadership positions in high school, raise the standard and influence our returning members to become better and better each year,â the MSU and Famous Maroon Band alumna said.
Lance said this yearâs four drum majors will include:
âTwin sisters Ashley S. and Brittany C. Carey from Olive Branch. Ashley is a junior mechanical engineering major; Brittany, a senior double-major in educational psychology and foreign language/Spanish.
âJunior Cooper A. Haywood of Madison, an instrumental music education and vocal music education double-major.
âJunior Jesse D. Newton of Eupora, a human sciences/fashion design and merchandising major.
According to Haywood, this yearâs camp was âone of the bestâ he has experienced while at MSU.
Junior Ellen S. Moore of Brandon, also a music education major, joined Haywood in praising the training program. âDuring band camp, I made a ton of friends and everything was so organized,â she said. âThe week moved quickly, but we managed to accomplish a lot.â
Lance said the MSU marching unit could not be successful without the âhard work and tireless dedicationâ of Aarhus and Taylor.
âIn addition to the band directors, another vital member of our leadership team is Jason Baker,â Lance continued, explaining that the music department associate professor âarranges and instructs our percussionists.â
At her promotion to director in 2002, Lance became only the eighth leader of the marching unit over its long history. During her time at the helm, âWeâve received tremendous support from both former band members and faculty in the College of Education, which is a great fit for us,â she said.
Lance said 2015 fall football halftime performances will include a variety of popular pieces, including a âFunkytownâ theme and a play on Disney classic âThe Happiest Show on Earth.â
In addition, the band also coordinates two pep bands for menâs and womenâs basketball, as well as numerous choral ensembles and concert bands throughout the spring semester. To learn more, visit www.msuband.msstate.edu/index.php.
MSU is Mississippiâs flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.