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 did this last year for the site and wanted to pick it back up this year.
Today we put the spotlight on Sophomore Sousaphone player Thomas Axton.
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?
My family has been going to Davis Wade on Saturdays for as long as I can remember. I loved hearing the drumline grow as the Famous Maroon Band turned that corner and marched into the stadium. I was so excited to start band in the sixth grade and join something like that, but I never knew I’d make that my life.
What musicians have had the biggest influence on you?
You name it; from Journey and the Bee-Gees, to Bach and John Philip Sousa, to Adam Neely and Jacob Collier, all have completely engrossed me in their styles and what they’ve accomplished for music as a whole.
What is your favorite memory of being a member of the Famous Maroon Band?
There is nothing quite as magical as playing “The Horse”, scrambling through crowds of people with a 50-pound sousaphone rolling around your body only to play in the face of a complete stranger. When the band went to St. Petersburg, one of the pep rallies we played was close to a bar, so when we took the drum break I broke through the lines and ran up to it. With like three seconds before I play, I’m hanging onto my instrument for dear life with one hand, and trying to grab my seat in a stool next to the bartender and some patrons dying laughing. By far my best work.
What is your favorite non-band related memory at Mississippi State?
One of my favorite classes during my first semester here was the Recreational Drum Circle, on Monday mornings. On our last meeting, the professor says we are having a “final exam”. We all grabbed a drum from the studio, stepped out, formed a line behind Hand, and held an hour-long parade around the Drill Field. You always hear about such wild moments in college life, but to see the looks on tired students clutching Starbucks as we rolled in made me truly feel that.
Thanks to Thomas for allowing us to feature him 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.