77th International Rice Festival set to welcome Human Jukebox
The 77th International Rice Festival is proud to announce that Crowley native Lawrence Jackson, Southern University director of bands, will return to Crowley for this year’s festival with the world-famous Human Jukebox Saturday, Oct. 19.
Jackson became the director of bands for the university about eight years ago and since becoming director he has looked for the opportunity to return to Crowley with the Southern University Marching Band.
“I wanted to bring the band here so bad,” he said earlier this week to the Rotary Club of Crowley. “I wanted to give back to the community, but I never had the opportunity until this year.”
The stars did align for Jackson this year who happened to have an opening in the band’s schedule the weekend of the International Rice Festival.
Jackson lept at the opportunity to bring the Human Jukebox to Crowley and thanks to sponsors Hoffpauir Farms, Happy Hoppin’ Fun Jumps, Gremillion Drug Store Wes and Carolyn Bertrand, Roland Rojas/State Farm Insurance, J.C. and Suzy Webb, Roland Dartez and Bill and Nancy Broadhurst, Jackson is finally getting his opportunity in 2013.
“It’s an amazing thing,” said Roxie Viator, Rice Festival coordinator, in an earlier interview. “It wasn’t planned, usually they are busy the weekend of Rice Festival.
“It’s nice to have somebody come back home, and it’s something he’s wanted to do for some time. The schedule worked out this year and if it’s not this year, he was unsure when he’d be able to try and schedule an appearance again.”
Jackson explained recently that this year will be the first time since the ’80s he is able to attend Rice Festival adding to his growing excitement.
“I am honored and I am pleased to be a part of something as historical as the International Rice Festival,” he said. “I’m like a little kid I’m so excited.”
And while Jackson will not divulge much about his plans for performances Saturday, he did explain the basic plans for the Human Jukebox’s appearance.
“I think you are going to enjoy the presentation we will make,” he said. “We are going to have more than 200 musicians and dancers. We have a huge band and we’re going to march a 10-man
front, but before we do the parade, we’re going to do about a 20-minute performance and if you miss that then you are going to miss a treat.”
That performance is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in front of the main stage. Jackson also explained that while marching in the grand parade, set for 3 p.m. Saturday, the Human Jukebox will make several stops to perform for the crowd.
The International Rice Festival would like to welcome everyone to its festival which begins Thursday, Oct. 17, with musical performances beginning at 7 p.m. on both stages.
About Lawrence Jackson
Jackson graduated from Southern University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in instrumental musical education and a master’s in school administration. He then furthered his studies at Vander Cook College of Music in Chicago.
In 1976, Jackson was appointed director of bands at Clinton High School. During this time, he was also responsible for the band programs at Clinton Elementary and Clinton Middle schools. While at Clinton High School, the band received awards of excellence and superior ratings at District IV Concert Band and Solo/Small Ensemble festivals, superior ratings and sweepstakes winner at Southern University Concert Band Festival and superior ratings at the Festival of Champions National Concert Band Festival in Panama City, Fla.
In 1996, after serving as director of bands at Clinton High School for 20 years, Jackson accepted a position of assistant band director at Southern University and was later promoted to associate director of bands. He has served as adjudicator for marching and concert band festivals throughout Louisiana, Texas and Michigan, and appeared as guest conductor and clinician in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Georgia.
While serving as director of bands at Southern University, he is one of three staff arrangers in the band department, conductor of the Brass Choir, Woodwind Ensemble, Basketball Pep Band and Saxophone Ensemble.
Jackson is also adjunct professor of music in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. He is a member of Greater King David Baptist Church where he serves as director and conductor of the King David Orchestra.
His honorary and professional affiliations include Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpa Music Fraternity, and the College Band Director's National Association, Music Educators National Conference, Louisiana Music Educators Association.
About the Human Jukebox, the Southern University Marching Band
From performing high-volume rhythm and blues, to playing flawless, show-stopping classics, from popular hip hop dance moves to precision drill steps, the Southern University Marching Band is without question a spectacular force. Redefining college band style, the Southern band’s success is measured by excitement of its vast and diverse audiences. Look around during any band performance and the crowd is definitely tuned-in and captured by the powerful sound and talent of the co-ed musicians. Halftime performances find fans of all ages rocking to the beat of the drumline, or swaying to the familiar sound of a top-40 tune, and being mesmerized by the creative dance moves of the fast-stepping band members and dance team.
Dubbed the “Human Jukebox” years ago, the Southern band has achieved legendary status as one of the nation’s top collegiate bands. Dedicated to the art of music through providing fresh and unique entertainment with a creative flare, the 215 member band enjoys a long list of awards and achievements and has a resume of appearances on local, national and international stages.
The Human Jukebox is internationally known, playing a variety of music and putting on a show unlike any other. They have performed for three United States presidential inaugurations, four Sugar Bowls and five Super Bowls. They have also appeared in Reliant Stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Georgia Dome, Yankee Stadium Coliseum and even the famed Radio City Music Hall.
The band has appeared on several national television shows, in two of film director Spike Lee’s productions and an award-winning documentary by NFL Films.