The few, the proud, the trombonist

    HARLAN  —  Have trombone. Will travel.
    Travel could be across the world for Harlan Community High School senior Keyton Francis who was selected as a trombone player in the United States Marine Corps band. Described as the elite of the elite, Francis secured one of six openings.
    “I know I want to play my instrument and I want to have it travel me around the world,” he said.
    It took two auditions — video and in person — for Francis to win a spot in the band. He was sent a packet of 10 songs to prepare, as well as what musical scales to know. Preparing for the audition meant hours of practice in addition to his regular studies and work.
    Keyton asked director Bill Kearney for help in preparing. Every morning before school, Keyton came in and practiced.
    “I built it into my day,” he said. “Before school, after lunch and on days off.”
    The day he did an in person audition, the recruiter spent about 45 minutes talking to the jazz band students about the Marine Corps Band and answered various questions from students.
    When Keyton found out he won one of the spots, he immediately texted his jazz band mates.
    Kearney said the students have been supportive of Keyton’s journey through the audition process and acceptance.
    “They were cheering him on, asking how things went after the auditions,” Kearney said. “ I piped the theme music through the room when he found out.”            His family is proud, as well.
    “It’s an honor just to see him excel and he’s going to go out and do the things that he wants to do and he’s doing what makes him happy,” said his mom, Tiffany. “I guess as a mom, that’s all I ever wanted.”
    Francis said he is excited to be able to play for fun now that the audition process is over. He still has performances to get through with the jazz band and his other musical groups at Harlan Community High School.  
    Francis will leave for basic training in July. He will first go to San Diego through mid-October. And then from there he will go to Virginia Beach, Va.
    Though he will be in the band, Francis will be without his instrument for 13 weeks as he completes basic training.
    Kearney said Francis’ success shows the diverse experiences musicians can have following high school.
    Francis said he has to re-audition each year for the U.S. Marine Corps band.



Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

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