The Oxford Eagle
Madison Lorenzo, 20, has played music all over the country. As a member of The Pride of the South, the University of Mississippi’s marching band, Lorenzo spends more than 15 hours every week playing, practicing and preparing for game days at Ole Miss.
While most students spend their Saturdays in the Grove or sitting in the stands at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Lorenzo is on the field with 300 fellow musicians.
Though proud of her position now, she did not think she would come this far with music when she first learned how to play.
Growing up in Madison, Mississippi, Lorenzo began playing multiple instruments in third grade. Violin was her favorite.
“I had always been fascinated with the violin,” said Lorenzo. “I remember getting my first one. It was one of those smaller ones for children, but I didn’t care. It was still so exciting to have my first real instrument.”
Though she only pursued the violin until she was in sixth grade, she can still play multiple songs and fondly remembers it as her introduction to music. After three years of playing the violin, her parents, Octavio and Allison Lorenzo, encouraged Madison to explore other instruments, such as the flute and piano.
Madison often held pretend concerts in her home, and had her family sit in the living room and watch her play instruments.
“She [Madison] really was talented for her age,” said her mother, Allison. “I think she played the same 10 songs over and over on the piano, but she wouldn’t learn anything else until she had them perfect.”
In eighth grade, Lorenzo and her family moved to Woodbury, Minnesota, just outside of St. Paul. Though apprehensive about the move, Madison and her sister, Victoria, continued to be optimistic.
By the time ninth grade rolled around, Madison began to branch out even further with music and joined her school band at Woodbury High School. However, Lorenzo wanted to stand out from other band members and chose to pursue the bassoon, an instrument not commonly played, especially by younger students.
“It’s really rare that a musician starts on the bassoon,” Lorenzo shared. “Usually a lot of students start with the trombone or even the flute, and then they move on to something harder. I guess it’s more challenging because it’s a double reed instrument, so it’s harder to learn.”
Though it was a more difficult instrument to master, Lorenzo wanted to challenge herself. With her previous musical experience and years of practice, she soon stood out as one of the more advanced students in band at her school.
All of her hard work began to pay off and Lorenzo’s high school band went on to win titles, such as “Minnesota All-State Band” and “All Conference Band.” Due to the success of her school band, Lorenzo auditioned and joined multiple music ensembles outside of school, such as the Minnesota Youth Symphony Orchestra, and an award-winning Wind Ensemble.
Since then, Madison has traveled all over the country for her music – from Chicago, where her group performed at the Field Museum of Natural History, to Washington, D.C., where she played at the Mall near the Lincoln Monument.
Lorenzo also played The Waikiki Holiday Parade in Hawaii, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, and did a performance at Disney World for one of their park events.
“I never really thought that music would take me so far,” said Lorenzo. “Like just getting to go to the places I’ve been has been such a blessing, and I know I wouldn’t have had the chance to do the stuff I’ve done without band or music.”
Before her senior year, Lorenzo’s family moved back down South to Tupelo, and she applied to the University of Mississippi. Lorenzo knew she wanted to continue playing music in college, and after being accepted into the university, she auditioned for The Pride of the South band.
During the fall, Lorenzo joins the full band on the field at every home football game, as well as being a selected member of the smaller pep band, which plays at all away games. Though her main instrument is the bassoon, Lorenzo continues to learn other instruments, such as the piccolo, to play during games.
Even though she does miss out on joining her fellow students in the Grove on game days, Lorenzo believes that getting the chance to support the Rebels on the field, with all of her friends she has made in band, makes it all worth it.