Maneater Long Reads: Work Hard, Play Loud

Led by its drum majors, MU’s marching band continues a 130-year tradition.
Marching Mizzou trumpet players line up on the sidelines for the halftime show of the Missouri vs. South Carolina football game on Oct. 3, 2015 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

Surrounded by more than 70,000 fans and standing on a podium overlooking Faurot Field, the reality of her role set in for senior Laura Cooke.

“Holy cow, I’m actually doing this,” Cooke said of conducting her first halftime show for Marching Mizzou as a drum major. Along with senior Keller Shelton, she captains the band.

Drum majors stand out in their all-white uniforms. They’re even more identifiable by their routine with maces, or “the really big sticks” they hold, as Cooke describes them, during the pregame show in which they lead the band for the Missouri Waltz. The routine is new this year, and Cooke hopes it becomes a tradition.

The changes in Marching Mizzou over time are hard to discern. The formations and music don’t drastically change. Big MO, the iconic bass drum at games, was replaced in 2012 after 40 years when it was too worn out. Yet leaders in the organization, from Director Brad Snow to the drum majors, are working to improve the reputation of the band.

Snow, who is in his sixth year of directing at MU, said the quality of the band has been raised in the last several years. The band has also been helped by additional funding from the College of Arts and Science.

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