the Football issue

LawrenceRawlins, a 1994Southern graduate and the band director for McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans, comes from a band family. His older brother, Wilbert Rawlins Jr., who also attended Southern and marched with the Human Jukebox, directs the marching band at L.B. Landry-O. Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School; sometimes the brothers will lead their separate bands down St. Charles Avenue in the same Mardi Gras parade. Their love of marching bands comes partly from their musical home — their father, Wilbert Rawlins Sr., played drums for soul singer Irma Thomas for 27 years — and partly from time marching in their own middle-school and high school bands, said Lawrence Rawlins, who played mellophone and French horn. “When you’re real, real small, you think maybe you’ll be a police officer, an astronaut,” he said. “But by the time I was in junior high I realized I wanted to be a band director.” That dedication and drive was focused even more by his time in the Human Jukebox band, and the lessons he learned there still help him in his classroom today. “It’s the discipline,” he said. “One of our mottoes was ‘Be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment, ready to work.’ And ‘If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.’ And the culture. We had some brilliant, brilliant instructors and upperclassmen keeping it in line. It’s like a fraternity.” By the time classes start for normal Southern students, band members will already have been on campus for two weeks of “grueling, all-day rehearsals,” said Nathan Haymer, today’s Southern University band director. “That’s how we get in shape,” he said. It doesn’t end with band camp; members must also attend practice for about three-and-a- half hours daily, he said, while maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA with a full course load and also being available to travel on the band’s

The Human Jukebox by Alison Fensterstock + photo courtesy of SUMarching Band

T ens of thousands of students, alumni and other fans converge on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome eachThanksgiving week for the Bayou Classic, one of the Southeast’s great annual college football games.And the gridiron battle between the longtime rivals — the Southern University Jaguars and the Grambling State University Tigers — is only part of the show. For many, the school’s marching bands, Grambling’s Tiger Marching Band and Southern’s Human Jukebox, are at least as mighty as the teams that have been meeting on the field each November since 1932.

busy schedule. That’s not just for college ballgames; the Human Jukebox regularly gets invited to appear at NFL games and other special events, including three presidential inaugurations, five Super Bowls and in two Spike Lee films over the years, plus international appearances like a 2011 trip to Morocco and Nigeria. The Human Jukebox’s rigorous work ethic and vibrant culture have made it one of the most celebrated university marching bands in the world. At the beginning of 2014, the National Collegiate Athletic



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