MSU’s Famous Maroon Band Rings in New Academic Year with Record-Setting Membership

Friday, August 24, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s 115-year-old Famous Maroon Band is among beloved traditions that make the gameday atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium an unforgettable experience. As Bulldog fans “bring the ring” this season, 414 members of the largest college band in university history and in the state will be bringing an even bigger beat.

Part of MSU’s nationally accredited Department of Music, this year’s Famous Maroon Band features students hailing from 20 states, as well as Colombia, South America. More than 325 students finished in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class, and nearly 200 students graduated in the top 10 percent. With an average ACT score of 27, this year’s membership consists of 23 high school valedictorians and 13 salutatorians.

“We are very proud of the growth in our program, both in terms of quality and quantity,” said Director of Bands Elva Kaye Lance, an MSU alumna and instructor with nearly 40 years of music education experience. “We are also excited that the Famous Maroon Band continues to attract outstanding student musicians from throughout the country in addition to those from our home state.”

All three drum majors are returning for this academic year. They include Jacob T. Baker, a music education major from Falkville, Alabama; Jacob S. Lanier, a geoscience/professional meteorology major from Marietta, Georgia; and Reece G. Paulk, a biological sciences/pre-veterinary major from Ruth.

With the addition of a synthetic practice field made possible through gifts from alumni, friends and parents, Famous Maroon Band members are experiencing improved practice conditions, even after periods of inclement weather. The new field is located on the southeast corner of campus and adjacent to the band hall.

The lead gift for the field upgrades comes from Jim and Julia Rouse of Suwanee, Georgia. Jim Rouse is a retired vice president of ExxonMobil and the university’s 2012 National Alumnus. Contributions exceeding the project’s goal have become part of an endowment to maintain the field over time. The endowment for the synthetic field may be increased with additional contributions at

Learn more about MSU’s Department of Music at, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MSStateMusic; Famous Maroon Band, at, Facebook @FamousMaroonBand, and Twitter and Instagram @MaroonBand.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

(NOTE: This story was originally published here by Sasha Steinberg of the MSU Office of Public Affairs)

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