Upholding tradition

Jakob Keith, a senior dual-major in finance and accounting, has spent five seasons with the Pride of Wildcat Land as a trombone player and two of those seasons as a section leader. When Jakob picked up the tenor trombone in 2009, music became a staple in his life, leading him to his current involvement in the marching band, concert band and K-State Pub Crawl band. This year, Jakob began playing the bass trombone for the first time.

Growing up as a K-State football fan, Jakob knew while on his first campus visit that K-State would be the college he’d call home. “My first and only visit effectively displayed the “family” culture of the school, as well as conveyed a sense of “what can we do for you?” rather than a “come join us because we’re better.”

Jakob was also drawn to K-State because of the marching band. With his high school band director being a K-State graduate, Jakob had a desire to uphold the tradition of the Pride of Wildcat Land. Upon joining the band in 2017, Jakob was shocked at not only how welcoming the band was, but also how being involved helped members grow to become better individuals.

“The K-State Marching Band largely has been my college experience!” said Jakob. “From the lifelong friendships made in band, performing in front of thousands of fellow students and fans, representing the university in the highest regard, and learning the capabilities to push through challenges has been extremely impactful on my life as an undergrad.”

Throughout the pandemic, the band has had to find new and safe ways to continue playing and fostering community. Although they had to sacrifice a lot, the band relied on Director of Bands Dr. Frank Tracz’s advice to “never waste a crisis.” Jakob says that Dr. Tracz has profoundly influenced him through his leadership, especially in teaching him how to be a leader among his peers.

“When we started last season, we put an emphasis on mental health and learned to depend on one another more as family and friends. That really showed me what we are made of — a group of incredibly passionate people who are willing to go the extra mile for their fellow band members and the university that we call home. Learning from this past year, we are absolutely pumped to be back in all things band and are ready to keep pushing the bar of our success higher.”

An important factor in Jakob’s involvement in the band has been the support of scholarships. Scholarships have allowed him to refrain from working additional jobs and to focus on making music. Coming to K-State with no prior scholarships, Jakob says receiving his first scholarship left him encouraged to make the donor’s contribution worthwhile.

 “K-State has opened me to so many horizons that have challenged me to be a better person, and I continue to face these in full stride,” Jakob said. “I look forward to keeping up and exceeding the standards of the marching band and making your choice to support me and the band a fulfilling one!”

Have a heart to support band members like Jakob? Please visit The Pride of Wildcat Land’s online giving page or contact Trevor Jueneman via email or at 785-775-2096.

Written by: Ariana Brancato

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