Drum major continues music in college

KU band gives student opportunity to build experience in band, study nursing


Aidan Rothrock

Senior Mia Franklin leads the marching lions onto the field for their first marching performance of the school year.

By Macy Landes

Senior drum major Mia Franklin will be marching up The Hill in August after two years of conducting the Lions band.

Franklin plans to major in nursing, but will continue with music via KU band and other small ensembles KU’s music program offers. She credits her positive experience participating in Lawrence High’s music and health departments with helping her to make that decision.

“Lawrence High has a lot of opportunities to take advanced classes and, especially with the college and career center, they have you do a lot of more outside of the classwork type things,” Franklin said. “For me personally, the pre-med classes really helped me decide that I wanted to go into nursing.”

She hasn’t always known she wanted to be heavily involved in band. It took some time for Franklin to warm up to the idea of playing the clarinet.

“I started playing clarinet in sixth grade,” Franklin said. “I didn’t really like it. I wanted to play the flute, but I could only play the clarinet. I was going to quit in eighth grade, and then freshman year I was going to switch to the saxophone because I still didn’t like the clarinet. Mr. [Tom] Hunt, the director for the freshman band, told me I wasn’t allowed to do that and I wasn’t allowed to quit, so I actually started really just liking music and I wanted to be good at it, so I started taking lessons and then I got really good, or, kind of really good.”

Once she saw former drum majors in action, though, she knew what she wanted to do.

“I wanted to be a drum major the first time I saw them [the drum majors] marching on the field as a freshman.”

Franklin’s graduation has caused her peers to reflect on all the good times they’ve had together.

“She’s always willing to do new things,” junior drum major Cameron Stussie said of Franklin. “Last year she had a fear of heights so she’s been struggling a lot getting on the ladder, but she actually took one of the school ladders home and went and climbed up and down it and got used to it, and she was able to get on the even taller head drum major ladder this year and so I’m really proud of her for that. Also, she’s just a really great natural leader, and she’s willing to step into any situation and lead, and that’s really cool.”

Band director Mike Jones, like Stussie, discussed the traits that have caused Franklin to be a positive example for the group of students she oversees.

“Her best quality is that she never gives up, and she has a determination about her that, if there’s a challenge, she will meet it,” Jones said. “She brings about a fun seriousness about what she does and the band, I think, respects her.”

Mia’s perseverance and positivity will be missed.

“I think she’s awesome,” Jones said.