One of the great things about college football game day at any school is the atmosphere. And one of the most important parts, and often under appreciated, is the band.
I was in the band in high school and spent two years paying for my education in the band at Northwest Community College before finishing up at Mississippi State. So I decided to put the spotlight on the Famous Maroon Band this summer.
I had been doing this when I was still writing for Maroon and White Nation. Now that I am here at FWtCT, I decided to pick up where I left off.
Today’s spotlight is on baritone player Mary Ann Smith. Mary Ann will be entering her junior year at Mississippi State for the 2016-17 school year.
In all likelihood, you joined the band in middle school or junior high. What made you want to be in the band at that time?
I was exposed to band and music from a young age. My dad was the band director of a nearly 300 member marching band. I grew up waking up on Saturday mornings to board the band bus and watch marching band competitions. My parents started me in piano lessons in second grade. After ten years of lessons, I was still fairly terrible at piano, but I had developed a life long love of music. In sixth grade, I started playing the baritone. My parents were always extremely supportive of my playing, even during those terrible middles school days. My family’s support and enthusiasm for my playing encouraged me to continue and become a member of the Famous Maroon Band.
What musicians have had the biggest influence on you?
My older sister, Faith, has always been my “musical role model”. A fantastic French Horn player, Faith introduced me to the Famous Maroon Band and helped me fall in love with it before I was even in college. Faith has always been very involved in band. She served as a Drum Major for the FMB for three years and showed me the importance of leading with kindness and laughter. My parents are also accomplished musicians and played in the Famous Maroon Band during their college years. I’m thankful to all of my family members for introducing me to music and the FMB.
What is your favorite memory of being a member of the Famous Maroon Band?
Being a SEC fan is great. But playing in a SEC marching band is even better. Nothing can match the feeling I get when the FMB rushes onto the field for the Pre Game Show. It’s always a pleasure to play Hail State, but the pleasure is even greater when the entire crowd is on its feet with a cowbell in hand.
What is your favorite non-band related memory at Mississippi State?
During May of 2016, I served on a Medical Brigade to Honduras through Global Brigades. On the brigade, I shadowed local doctors and dentists and helped provide free medical care and education. Many people in Honduras have little or no access to medical care and are unable to afford medication. Global Brigades holds clinics in rural areas of Honduras to provide free medical attention and medication to a population largely neglected by in-country medical systems. The people of Honduras amazed me with their generosity and kindness, and I am excited to dedicate future summers to this amazing organization.
Thanks to May Ann for allowing us to feature her in this Famous Maroon Band Profile. Also thanks to Dr. Craig Aarhus, one of the Associate Directors of the Famous Maroon Band for working with us to be able to spotlight the members of the band.
You can follow the Famous Maroon Band on Twitter with their Twitter handle @maroonband. The band also has a Facebook page you can go and like to keep up with all the happenings of the Famous Maroon Band.