BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lawrence Jackson, director of Southern University's Human Jukebox Band, is retiring. Jackson has been director since 2006.
"I could have directed this band for another eight years," Jackson says. "But there were more reasons to retire than to stay. At first it was hard to come to grips that I was going to retire. But I took some leave time to see what it would be like to be retired and I liked it."
"The best thing is that I'm leaving on my terms. I love everybody. I love Southern University and I have no problems. This is the time I have chosen to retire."
Chancellor Jim Llorens praised Jackson's leadership.
"Southern University has been blessed to have Mr. Jackson lead the famed Human Jukebox and continue the great legacy left by former Band Directors Dr. Isaac Greggs and Dr. Ludwig Freeman."
Jackson played in the band from 1971 to 1975. Nicknamed "Crowley" after his hometown in Louisiana, Jackson would win several band awards including most outstanding and top grade point average. He was also a section leader.
After graduating in 1975, he got married and managed several convenience stores before landing a job in 1976 as director of bands in Clinton, overseeing the Clinton High School Marching Band and teaching music in the other schools.
In 1996, Greggs asked Jackson to be an assistant band director.
In 2013, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) named its top college marching bands and the Human Jukebox finished second behind the Ohio State marching band.
"To be recognized by the NCAA as the second best band, behind the Ohio State band is one of my highest moments. Ohio State has a million dollar budget and we have a bubble gum budget compared to them," he said laughing.
Assistant Band Director Nathan Haymer has been named the new band director.
His retirement becomes effective July 1.