Sponsors sought for ‘Human Jukebox’
CROWLEY – As summertime draws to a close, the International Rice Festival Association is just getting into its busy time, the final weeks before the festival.
With that comes the finalization of the festival schedule and for the 77th festival, a name many not many would expect has been added to the line up: Southern University’s marching band, known the world over as The Human Jukebox.
“It’s an amazing thing,” said Roxie Viator, Rice Festival coordinator. “It wasn’t planned, usually they are busy the weekend of Rice Festival and [Lawrence Jackson] really wants to come back and give back to his community.
“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, [Jackson] is unsure when he’d be able to try and schedule an appearance again.”
Crowley is fortunate enough that Southern has an opening in their schedule the weekend of Rice Festival and a person who wants to give back to his community in Lawrence Jackson.
Jackson, a native of the Rice Capitol of the World, currently serves as director of bands at the university. He is a graduate of the university, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in instrumental music education and a master’s in school administration. Jackson furthered his studies at Vander Cook College of Music in Chicago.
In 1976, Jackson was appointed director of bands at Clinton High School, at which time he was also responsible for the band programs at Clinton Elementary and Clinton Middle schools.
While at Clinton High, he led his band to receive 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.
But for Jackson, it all started in Crowley and this year, he hopes to be able to give the hometown crowds on Saturday a show they’ll never forget.
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 also has appeared on several national television shows, in two of film director Spike Lee’s productions and an award-winning documentary by NFL Films.
The prestige and excitement of a Saturday performance by band at Rice Festival has definitely caught festival organizers’ eyes, but to make sure they can get the band to perform, organizers need the community’s help.
“Because it wasn’t planned, we now have to come up with funds to make this happen,” said Viator. “They are appearing at a very reduced cost, but we have to furnish their transportation and dinner. That’s it. But we need to offset those unplanned costs.”
Ideally, the Rice Festival would like to receive funds and sponsorships totaling at least $5,500. And, as Viator explained, the Rice Festival takes care of its sponsors.
“They will be named, unless they want to remain anonymous,” she said. “We will definitely work out some sort of perk for a sponsor and if someone wants to sponsor the Southern’s Band appearance specifically, we can definitely do that.”
The Southern Band will also be traveling with its dancers, totaling more than 200 people for the Rice Festival to transport to and from the university during the day Saturday as well as feed.
For anyone interested in sponsorships, contact the Rice Festival office at 783-3067 Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.