MSU’s Famous Maroon Band announces 2017-18 drum majors

Drum majors for Mississippi State’s 2017-18 Famous Maroon Band include, from left to right, Jacob Baker of Vinemont, Alabama; Jacob Lanier of Marietta, Georgia; and Reece Paulk of McComb. The three students were among 27 who participated in a challenging audition and interview process earlier this spring. (Submitted photo/courtesy of Craig Aarhus)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—As another successful semester comes to a close at Mississippi State, the university’s Famous Maroon Band is announcing its drum majors for the upcoming academic year.

Chosen from a group of 27 student auditions, the new drum majors are Jacob T. Baker, a sophomore music education major from Vinemont, Alabama; Jacob S. Lanier, a sophomore geoscience/professional meteorology major from Marietta, Georgia; and Reece G. Paulk, a freshman biological sciences/pre-veterinary major from McComb.

“The student leadership in our band program is very strong right now,” said Director of Bands Elva Kaye Lance.

“We had an outstanding group of 27 students try out to be drum major, and these three were selected after a very challenging audition and interview process,” added Lance, an MSU alumna and instructor with nearly 40 years experience in music education.

A graduate of Vinemont High School and an Eagle Scout, Baker plays saxophone and aspires to be a composer and teacher.

Lanier, a clarinetist serving as head drum major, is a graduate of Wheeler High School. Also an Eagle Scout, he aspires to be a professional meteorologist.

Paulk graduated from Parklane Academy and was an MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Early Entry Program participant. His instrument of choice is the euphonium.

In addition to Lance’s guidance, members of the Famous Maroon Band nurture their talents under the tutelage of Craig Aarhus and Cliff Taylor. Both serve as associate director of bands, as well as associate professors in the university’s nationally accredited Department of Music.

Along with home football games, the Famous Maroon Band lends its musical talents and spirit during Fall Convocation, Cowbell Yell, The Drill, and other special traditions and events.

In recent years, the Famous Maroon Band has made appearances at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

The MSU Wind Ensemble, the premier performing group of the university’s band program, also has performed in Italy, England, Ireland, Austria and Germany as part of its international performance tours.

Along with Wind Ensemble and the marching, symphonic and concert bands, students may participate in jazz band and basketball pep band. MSU Band Auxiliary units include color guard and feature twirlers. For more, visit

Representing a cross-section of academic disciplines, band members receive academic credit each semester and are eligible to receive a service award for their participation. The amount of the award is determined by demonstration of their musical ability during auditions, which are held in January.

Tax-deductible donations for MSU Bands are being accepted via the MSU Foundation. To contribute, contact Lynn Durr at 662-325-8918 or

For additional information about the MSU College of Education’s nationally accredited Department of Music, call 662-325-2713 or visit

Lance may be contacted at; Aarhus,; Taylor,

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