Jackson State University

Sonic Boom of the South

jacksonstate

For nearly 70 years, the Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South” has mystified and thrilled audiences throughout the nation. The band was first organized in the early 1940s under the direction of part-time band director Kermit Holly, Sr. (As early as the mid-1920s, the University had a well-organized orchestra.) In its infancy, the band consisted of college students and students from Lanier High School where Holly was employed as full-time band director. Charles Saulsburg was appointed band director in 1947. He served for one year. (In the 1947-1948 years book, he is listed as a social science teacher. This writer was unable to find any additional information on Charles Saulsburg.) In 1948, William W. Davis of Ironton, Ohio, former arranger for Cab Calloway’s legendary big band became the first full-time band director. Davis’s concept of the marching band was greatly influenced by Cab Calloway’s big band sound and showmanship. Cab Calloway’s influence is still present today in the sound and show design of the Jackson State University Marching Band.

Prancing J-Settes” is the official name of the Jackson State University dance line, an auxiliary group of the Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South.” The Prancing J-Settes are supervised by Mrs. Kathy Pinkston-Worthy, J-Settes Sponsor. The Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South” is an ensemble of the Department of Music, Dr. Jimmie James, Jr., Chair. “The thrill of a thousand eyes,” were the words spoken by Dr. Jimmie James, Jr. at the onset of the “Prancing Jaycettes” in 1971. Shirley Middleton, a former majorette, initiated the concept of the majorettes abandoning their batons and dancing to popular musical selections. As the majorette sponsor, Shirley Middleton and the majorettes met with Dr. John A. Peoples, the University’s sixth president, and requested that they be permitted to “put down their batons.”

11 Comments to “Jackson State University”

  • The Jackson State University Marching Band rocked the house at the 34th NAACP Image Awards in 2003.

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  • Please vote for m.l.king marching band to win 50,000 and send us to london
    England. Its one vote per day but every vote counts. Help us and mrs. Miller and m.l.k marching band. Thank you

  • Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

  • So you are telling me JSU doesn’t have twirlers anymore? I’m a sophomore and been a majorette at my school for 3 years and will continue twirling. JSU was my dream college. Great education, near home, great band, but no more majorettes. This really sucks

  • I have Been a Majorette For 7 Years Now && Just Moved To Mississippi and found out they dont have a majorette squad at my high school. It is my dream to persue Majorette In College(JSU). I Know You Have To I’ve Experience to audition && i dont want to forget how to dance until its time for mee to go to college because there is no majorette squad where i am. What Should I Do

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  • I am interested in finding out the name of Mr. Kernit Holly, Sr. wife’s name. Can anyone tell me her first name. Thanks sincerely

  • I am a Freshman at John L. Leflore high school in the class of 2018 with a big desire to play with the the Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South”, when my time comes. My supplication is that you remember my name when I arrive. I play trumpet in my high schools Band where the Band director is no other than Mr. Michael Standerferd who I am proud to be under the leadership of. As I take pride in writing this letter I hope you consider me to join your family and I promise you I will take pride in that to.

    ,thank you
    Kaye

  • I am a Freshman at John L. Leflore high school in the class of 2018 with a big desire to play with the the Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South”, when my time comes. My supplication is that you remember my name when I arrive. I play trumpet in my high schools Band where the Band director is no other than Mr. Michael Standerferd who I am proud to be under the leadership of. As I take pride in writing this letter I hope you consider me to join your family and I promise you I will take pride in that to.

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