BATON ROUGE, La — Dr. Isaac Greggs was at the helm of Southern University’s Human Jukebox Marching Band for 36 years. Part of his legacy was in growing the band’s notoriety by having them perform for the NFL, the Rose Parade and also to perform abroad in other countries.
Part of Greggs’ legacy included performing at four presidential inaugurations; elevating the status of band, the university and all Historically Black Colleges in the process. The band played at both of the inaugurations of President Ronald Reagan, in 1981 and 1985. The band was also there to perform in both of President Bill Clinton’s ceremonies in 1993 and 1997.
President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, 2021, is the fifth time the band performs for the swearing in of a United States president. Southern University Director Bands, Kedric Taylor is elated for the honor, saying, “We’ve been keeping up with the legacy that Dr. Greggs left in place. He left a blue print like none other. We always pride ourselves on being ambassadors of Southern University and A&M College and Louisiana.”
This past fall was a great challenge for marching bands across the country. Having a socially distanced marching band with wind instruments was a paradox. Director of Bands Kedric Taylor kept his band ever relevant with masks, social distance and sparsely scheduled practice.
The real genius of keeping the public eye on the Human Jukebox was in the series of virtual performances throughout the fall semester. The band’s virtual inauguration performance is the cream that rose from a bitter semester.
Leading up to the election, universities across the country led widespread voting efforts to motivate students to take part in the democratic process. Southern University’s band students were motivated as well as Kedric says, “we tried to go out and encourage students to vote and let them know how important it is to go and out and vote. This right is fundamentally important and at the core of what we instill in our students at Historically Black Colleges.”
“We wanted to put on a great presentation for the event. The students did a great job and I’m proud of them! The late Dr. Isaac Greggs would say that you’ve got to educate and entertain. This is what we are doing for Vice President Kamala Harris, and President Joe Biden, as well as Southern University,” says Kedric Taylor.
Kedric Taylor marched as part of Dr. Isaac Greggs’ Human Jukebox from 2002 to 2005. The lessons have come full circle because now Kedric’s own students are on the world’s stage.