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KU Marching Jayhawk trumpeter has ‘Rock Chalk’ in his blood

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- As a long-time tradition ends for the University of Kansas, at "Band Day" another is going strong. On Saturday, for the first time in nearly 70-years, high school bands didn`t get to perform at KU's Memorial Stadium. The change came as one KU freshman made generations of his family very proud.

"It puts a chill in your spin every time for any marching band really, but when your son is in it, and it's your school it's particularly special," Kent Smith told FOX 4.

Kent and Lisa smith couldn`t have been happier to attend this year's Band Day in Lawrence, and went to great lengths to be there.

"Lisa and I were in Jacksonville, Florida and we actually had to evacuate from a business conference and come back early, but we got back in time late last night to see the most beautiful day on campus," Kent said.

It`s not just because they like marching bands.

"I think the band gets the crowd going. They're an integral part of the KU spirit," Lisa said.

It`s also because a part of them went marching down Mass Street.  Their son Nick is a trumpet player in his first year at KU, and is having a blast.

"The crowd is always great here at KU. Much bigger crowd than in high school. Marching with a college band is so much bigger and a bigger sound so it's really fun," Nick said.

Don`t let his "freshman" status fool you, the fifth-generation Jayhawk has "Rock Chalk" in his blood.

"My grandfather, so Nick our son's great grandfather. He played trombone in the Marching Jayhawks back in the Depression Era and actually played for Phog Allen on his basketball team," Nick said.

"The work ethic that all these young men and women have it's pretty impressive," Lisa said.

It's so impressive that Lisa, a Missouri Tiger, has put her MU pride aside.

"I'm warming up," she said.

"With 22-years of marriage we've learned how to co-exist," Kent said.

Also new this year, the KU Marching Jayhawks held a second performance in South Park, following its march down Mass Street.