Jackson State University

Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band

Band Bio

The Jackson State University Marching Band, affectionately referred to as the “Sonic Boom of the South” is known for its intricate, precision marching and the big band sound. Its dance squad, the famous Prancing J-Settes, has set the standard for dance teams across the nation. Even Beyoncé acknowledged borrowing from the groups’ vast repertoire of dance styles and patented moves. The band is currently led by Mr. Dowell Taylor, Director of Bands; Mr. Roderick Little, Associate Director of Bands and Marching Band Director; Mr. Lowell Hollinger, Associate Director of Bands and Director of Concert Ensembles; Mr. Kevan Johnson, Assistant Band Director and Chief Arranger; Ms. Chloe Crowley, Director of the Prancing J-Settes; Mr. Calvin Berry, Percussion Assistant; and Ms. Courtney Lett, Administrative Assistant.

The “Sonic Boom” “Hollywood’s Band of Choice,” has performed in Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; and has made numerous halftime appearances for the NFL/NBA including the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the NBA All-Star game in 1991. The “Boom” was featured in a television special for Motown's 30th Anniversary and the 34th NAACP Image Awards, with a special guest performance by “Cedric the Entertainer.” In May 2013, the “Boom” was featured in a Headline News (HLN) and a CNN “Special” chronicling what it takes to become a Drum Major at Jackson State University. In 2003, the “Boom” was enshrined in the NCAA Hall of Champions. In 2005, the “Boom” was included in the video game entitled EA Sports, NCAA Football.

The “Boom” has been featured in People and Jet Magazines, the Christian Science Monitor, ESPN the Magazine, Black Voices Quarterly, and is a favored entry at the Annual Honda Battle of Bands Showcase held each year in Atlanta, Georgia. Students in the band dubbed the Jackson State University Marching Band the “Sonic Boom of the South” in 1971, under the leadership of Mr. Harold Haughton who directed the band from 1970-1984. In 1974, the band’s theme song, “Get Ready,” an old Motown favorite, was selected and three years after that, the “Tiger Run-On” was perfected. The “Tiger Run-On” is a fast, eye-catching shuffle that brings fans to their feet during halftime performances.

The “Sonic Boom” has a long list of outstanding directors including Mr. F. D. Hall, Mr. Kermit Holly, Sr., Mr. William W. Davis, Mr. Harold Haughton, Sr., Mr. Dowell Taylor, Dr. Lewis Liddell, Sr. Mr. Oneil Sanford, and Mr. Roderick Little. Mr. Edward Duplessis and Dr. Renardo Murray, both served as interim band directors in 1992 and 2010, respectively. Former directors of the prancing J-Settes include Ms. Shirley Middleton, Ms. Narah Oatis, and Ms. Kathy Worthy.