Deciding which college to attend can be a difficult and stressful experience for a high school senior. However, it was an easy choice for Rachel Grayson, who grew up in nearby Washington, Missouri.

“For as long as I can remember, Mizzou has been a part of my immediate and extended family,” Grayson said. “Beyond the family connections, I chose Mizzou because I wanted to be a member of the largest student organization on campus, Marching Mizzou.”

This is a picture of Rachel Grayson in her Marching Mizzou uniform getting ready to enter Memorial Stadium.

Rachel’s favorite part about performing for Marching Mizzou is keeping the traditions of the university alive through music.

Grayson has been playing trumpet for Marching Mizzou ever since the fall semester of her freshman year and will begin her second year as a trumpet section leader when her senior year begins in August.

“My favorite part about Marching Mizzou is keeping the traditions of the university alive through music with some of my best friends,” Grayson said. “Whether Mizzou has a tough loss or a close win, the fight songs and alma mater are still played, and that makes me proud to be a member.”

Marching Mizzou is composed of more than 300 students from nearly every major within the university. In addition to performances across the United States, the band played at the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. Grayson also participated in the Limerick International Band Championships, where Marching Mizzou was awarded first place. Although music has taken Grayson around the world, her favorite spot to perform is on Faurot Field in front of her fellow Tigers.

“I still remember my first Homecoming football game as a freshman,” Grayson said. “The atmosphere was incredible and unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of.”

Although Grayson quickly found a home with Marching Mizzou, she was not exactly sure what she wanted to study. After changing her major three times, Grayson finally settled on textile and apparel management thanks to the help of Jaime Mestres, senior academic advisor and career services coordinator in the department. Now, Grayson is an ambassador for the College of Human Environmental Sciences and an executive board member of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity. She hopes to work for an athletic company as a merchandise buyer after college.

“With the constant support of friends, advisors and faculty, any student can find their way here at Mizzou,” Grayson said. “We look out for one another because Mizzou is a family.”