Marching Mizzou pays tribute to LSU band after loss

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri marching band paid tribute to two former Louisiana State University band members who recently passed away.  

Marching Mizzou paid respects by marching into a formation spelling out "LSU" during practice on Wednesday.

University of Missouri Band Director J. Fuller Lyons, who was a graduate assistant at LSU from 2010 to 2013, believed something needed to be done by the band to show tribute to Kayleigh Billings and Mitchell Swenson.

The Missouri band is familiar with times like these, when in 2011 two of its members passed away in a car accident.

"We kind of knew what they were going through, so I thought it would be a nice tribute for us to do," Lyons said.

Lyons is a former graduate assistant of LSU's marching band and said he knew both Billings and Swenson very well.

"I hope our students understand that life is precious, and in any one moment it can be taken from us, and to be careful, and to value every day because it could be your last."

He believes even if there is a rivalry between the two teams when on the field, being off the field makes them one big family.

"We all kind of watch each other's shows, and I think that kind of pushes all of us, not just the staff but the students to reach, what we think is the top groups in our conference and around our country," Lyons said. "But I think when we're off the field, it's a really good community that we have."

Halie Hart, a senior baton twirler for Marching Mizzou, runs the @MarchingMizzou Twitter account. She posted a photo of the formation. 



"We just really felt like someone needed to be there as a group to console them and share our condolences with them during their hard time, " Hart said. "We can definitely understand what it's like to lose members and former members, and we wanted to pay tribute to them in a special way."

Marching Mizzou will make its season debut at halftime on Saturday at Faurot Field during the football team's opening game against Southeast Missouri State.