A brief history of the Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band

A brief history of the Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band
The "Human Jukebox" will be performing at the Saints' halftime show

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge's world-renowned Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band boasts a very impressive resume.

It was first established in 1947 by T. Leroy Davis, who served as the band director from its inception to 1964. Davis also helped organize the first Southern University Band Festival and Band Day. He was later awarded the title of Professor Emeritus by the university in 1989.

Ludwig Freeman continued the success of progress of the Southern University band as band director from 1965 to 1969.

But the band didn't obtain its "Human Jukebox" name until it was under the direction of Dr. Issac Greggs in 1969. The "Human Jukebox" title was applied to the band because they could play the current "top 40" hits of the day.

The music building on Sothern's campus was renamed the Issac Gregg's Band Hall in 2003. He became the first living person in Louisiana to have a state building named in their honor.

In 1972, 31 members of the Southern University band were invited to perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York for two-weeks. The band was asked to stay an additional three weeks and performed a total of 140 times with the Radio City Music hall Rockettes and symphony orchestra.

Also, during the trip to New York City, the band opened for the Newport Jazz Festival in Harlem.

In 1975, the band performed in the then-called Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans against archrival Grambling State University in the annual Bayou Classic.

Since then, the Southern University band has performed at five Super Bowls, four Sugar Bowls, three U.S. presidential inaugurations, the Rose Bowl Parade, and the Special Olympics.

The Southern University band has also performed in Reliant Stadium, Yankee Stadium Coliseum. According to the university's website, the band has also appeared on several national television shows, two Spike Lee productions, an NFL Films documentary, and a Jonas Brothers music video.

In 2010, the Southern University performed at the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.

In 2015, under the direction of current band director Nathan B. Haymer, the band performed at the for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquaio opening ceremony extravaganza in Las Vegas, Nevada.

One of the band's proudest achievements, according to the university's website, is performing at the New Orleans Saints' return to the Louisiana Superdome on September 25, 2006, a year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

In October 2017, the Baton Rouge-based chick finger restaurant Raising Cane's donated $1 million to Southern University in an announced partnership. A portion of the donation was earmarked for the university's Human Jukebox Band.

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