By Felix Cunningham
Victor Hugo said it best when he uttered the phrase, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
The Southern University “Human Jukebox” Marching Band is indeed never silent but ever growing on campus. They are best heard in the stands and on the field for football games during the halftime show and even in the stands during basketball games.
Continuing the legacy left by past band directors, the marching band reached a record number of participants for the band and dance camp once again this summer.
Last summer the band and dance camp brought in 440 students, the largest in its 17-year history. In 2013, the attendance record was set at 270 students. This time, the number increased to about 450 students ranging from middle to high school. The attraction of the Marching Band and Dancing Dolls brought students from all over the United States and even the Virgin Islands.
Nathan Haymer, Director of Bands, was truly ecstatic about the growth being implemented in the band and school as well.
“This is just continuing to grow beyond anything we thought about years ago,” said Haymer. “The popularity of the band and YouTube is attracting more students here.”
The band is also another tool of excellent recruitment for Southern University as they try to institute greater numbers of future students into the university. The projection was more than 5,000 students, and with music and soul, it’s possible.
“The great thing about growing numbers is the repeat of students gives us a chance to recruit students not only for the band but for the university. These students go on and tell others about Southern University,” Haymer explained.
Southern University’s Marching Band and Dancing Dolls made a star-stricken appearance in Las Vegas when they opened for Floyd “Money” Mayweather before his illustrious fight against Manny Pacquiao.
The band camp members receive specific instructions from Haymer, the assistant band director, and the drum major Keith Morgan. Members of the Dancing Dolls lead the dance camp students.
Cung Thang, a 16-year-old from Washington High School in Kansas City, Kansas, said he was happy to attend Southern University and he enjoys playing the drum and using his God given talent to the university.
“I enjoyed my time at band camp and I really want to become a better drummer and a member of the Southern University Human Jukebox because I believe this is where I should be,” said Thang.
Jamie Taylor, from the New Iberia Westgate High School, said she was very aware of the Dancing Dolls and saw them up close at the Annual Bayou Classic football game in New Orleans against conference rivals, Grambling State.
“When I saw the Dancing Dolls, I said to myself, ‘I want to do that,’” said Taylor.
In the last performance before the band campers left Southern University, they received love and respect from Jaguar alumni and students, who were amazed at their performance.
“The Human Jukebox is my favorite band of all time and I cannot believe that those are band camp members,” Southern alumna Laura Morgan remarked. “I congratulate the band director and the commitment of the community.”
With that being said, who’s ready for the fall?