Southern University mourns loss of former band director

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Southern University mourns the death of Isaac Greggs, the legendary former band director on the Baton Rouge campus. Greggs, 85, died Monday afternoon in Baton Rouge.

"Dr. Isaac Greggs was a visionary, who created a marching band - the Human Jukebox - that constantly set the standard of greatness for all college marching bands," says Chancellor  James Llorens. "He poured his heart and soul into every performance. With Dr. Greggs, perfection was the only outcome he accepted."

"The true testament of his leadership is reflected not only in the number of his students who have become band directors and musicians of note around the country, but the multitude of former band members who, through the dedication and commitment instilled in them by Dr. Greggs, became leaders in their respective chosen careers outside of music," Llorens says. "What he created with our marching band drew thousands of students to Southern University and left fans of the band in cities from Los Angeles to Houston to New York City. The Southern University family has lost a giant and he will be missed."

Greggs led Southern's marching band for 36 years before retiring in 2005. In 2013, he was inducted into the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame.

Lawrence Jackson, Southern's current band director, says Greggs was an icon.

"Dr. Greggs was an icon in the marching band world," Jackson says. "He was an impeccable leader and believed in innovation. Many of the things we do today, we do because Dr. Greggs was the architect."

Jackson played in Southern's marching band from 1971 to 1975 under Greggs leadership. He also served as an assistant and associate band director before succeeding Greggs in 2006.

"A lot of the success we have enjoyed is because of the system that he put in place," Jackson said. "He was my mentor and he taught me a lot about being a band director. I know that he will be missed."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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