A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Tripp Bratton knows the power of music to create harmony

The March Madness Marching Band. (Photo provided.)


“Nothing exists without music. The universe itself is composed of a harmony of sounds, dance with the tones of that harmony.” – Unknown


Tripp Bratton’s mother was nominated for Grammy Awards so he’s been around music – really, really good music – all of his life. But music is more than just “music” to Tripp, in his eye, it’s the single best way to connect different peoples, from all different backgrounds, to add true value to a community. (Something a community like Lexington needs, where most of our whites still congregate with whites, blacks with blacks, liberals with liberals, conservatives with conservatives, on and on.)


Tripp Bratton

“Music transcends language and man made barriers. It’s like art, it reaches beyond our minds – with all of its worries and thoughts – and touches our souls.”


And while Tripp currently teaches at the famed Berea College just south of Lexington, he’s probably best known in Central Kentucky for his endless volunteer work in growing the (almost nationally famous, now) March Madness Marching Band. Perhaps you’ve seen them – or will see them soon – rocking out in their crazy costumes in Louisville, Austin, Columbus or of course here in Lexington!


And the story of “MMMB” is a beautiful thing – sharing so many similarities with all of this year’s Most Encouraging Kentuckian stories, in that it also has grown organically with a myriad of “baby steps.” What started out as a hodgepodge of musicians (some who’d never even played an instrument before) has become something famous to behold – with even professional musicians now volunteering their talents just for the fun of it… traveling the country… and the band getting paid to do so. And by all accounts, it’s been Tripp’s talents and work ethic that have played an instrumental role (pun intended!) in their explosion.


And you can tell this is who Tripp is when you talk with him… rather when you listen to him. He knows his stuff inside and out – yet his humility pervades everything. Some uber-talented folks grow egos along with their talents, but Tripp’s main focus is the development of those around him, and if you’ve been watching March Madness Marching Band’s ascent, you can tell he’s been hard at work.


You may vote for Tripp for this year’s Most Encouraging Kentuckian Award (by this Sunday, November 25th) at LeXenomics.org. 2012’s winner will be announced at LeXenomics’ annual Awards Night in downtown Lexington on December 12th.

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