Music has always been a part of life for the Heilman family. So has Kansas University football.
Now, three brothers in the Lawrence family are all members of the Marching Jayhawks band at the same time.
David Clemmer, director of athletic bands at KU, said the situation was a rarity.
“I’ve had siblings in the band before, but we don’t get three family members often at the same time,” he said.
Mason, a senior, plays trumpet; Shelton, a junior, plays the mellophone; and Winston, a freshman, plays the baritone.
“I think it’s a lot of fun for us to all have the same marching band experience at the same time, because we’ve all experienced it before and loved it,” Mason said.
The brothers all played in the Lawrence Free State High School band, but not all at the same time, because only three grade levels are taught at Lawrence high schools. It’s fun, finally, to be in a band with both his brothers, Winston said.
Apart from music, the brothers grew up with season football tickets in the upper rows of Memorial Stadium.
Being a part of the Marching Jayhawks has been a way for them to combine those two aspects of their lives, Mason said.
“Here, we all have the time to see each other,” Shelton said. “And Winston and I are next to each other sometimes on the field.”
Clemmer said the brothers were “outstanding students” who have found time to dedicate to marching band as well.
To be a member of the band requires six hours of practice per week, Clemmer said, but the majority of the time commitment comes on Saturdays — when 11 a.m. kickoffs can mean a 6 a.m. start for the Marching Jayhawks.
He said the Heilmans have managed their time well, and remain involved in other on-campus activities. Mason, for example, is student body president.
“They continue to push themselves, and I think they’re a great example for all students,” Clemmer said.