MSU breaks ground for Famous Maroon Band’s new practice field

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Celebrating a groundbreaking ceremony Monday [April 30] for a new synthetic turf practice field for the Famous Maroon Band were Principal and Owner of Allred Stolarski Architects Hoppy Allred; MSU Director for Planning, Design and Construction Tim Muzzi; MSU Professor and Head of the Department of Music Barry Kopetz; College of Education Dean Richard Blackbourn; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; Drum Majors Jacob T. Baker of Falkville, Alabama, Jacob S. Lanier of Marietta, Georgia, and Reece G. Paulk of Ruth; Director of Bands Elva Kaye Lance; Associate Director of Bands Cliff Taylor; and Associate Director of Bands Craig Aarhus. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Mississippi State University broke ground Monday [April 30] on the southeast corner of campus for its new synthetic turf field that will enable improved practice conditions for the Famous Maroon Band. The field, adjacent to the current band hall, is slated for completion in early August prior to the start of a new academic and athletic year. 

“The reputation of the Famous Maroon Band will continue at a very high caliber with the addition of this synthetic practice field,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “Our band features students studying in every MSU college, and we want them to be able to maximize their practice time and best showcase their talents while performing on behalf of our university.”

Along with gifts from alumni, friends and parents, the lead gift for the project 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.

“We gratefully acknowledge all gifts that are providing an adequate outdoor practice area, allowing our band to rehearse, even after periods of inclement weather, which previously impacted our field conditions,” said Elva Kay Lance, MSU alumna and director of bands. “We are excited about the future of the Famous Maroon Band and anticipate the positive impact of this field as we continue to compete for the top players in the state and region and further our reputation nationally.”

Part of MSU’s nationally accredited Department of Music, the Famous Maroon Band has been a significant part of MSU for more than 115 years and is one of the oldest traditions of its kind in the Southeast. Comprised of students from 18 states, the band has nearly 400 members, making it the largest student organization on the MSU campus and the largest college band in Mississippi.

Learn more about MSU’s Department of Music online at and the Famous Maroon Band at The endowment for the synthetic field may be increased with additional contributions at

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