Former Sonic Boom leader appointed interim band director


By Jean Gordon Cook
601-979-1571
jean.g.cook@jsums.edu

Lewis Liddell

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University’s former Director of Bands, Lewis Liddell, has come back to lead the band program on an interim basis as the university launches a national search for a permanent director.

Before leaving in 2009, Liddell led the famed Sonic Boom of the South marching band and supervised the administration of the entire band program for 17 years, which includes the symphonic band, concert band, woodwind ensemble, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble, pep band and Prancing J-Settes dance line.

Liddell will replace interim director of bands Renardo Murray, who in May was appointed the marching band director at Alcorn State University.

During Liddell’s tenure at Jackson State, the Sonic Boom gained wide recognition as a benchmark of musical excellence through regional and national performances, including an appearance at the 34th annual NAACP Image Awards. Liddell also led the band during performances at the annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

“Jackson State is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Liddell return to lead our band program,” said Quinton Williams, JSU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and student life. “He helped the Sonic Boom become one of the most outstanding marching bands in the country and set a standard of excellence for JSU’s entire band program.”

Liddell earned a bachelor of music education from Jackson State University, a master of music education from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and a doctorate from Mississippi State University.

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118 thoughts on “Former Sonic Boom leader appointed interim band director

  1. 1. The alumni should get together to solve the problem. Talk publicly and do not hide behind a fake name. If you can say it on line then say it person. Ol Miss is campaigning to get that plantation owner back as the mascot and they are passing pettitions. We need to do the same to change things. They are expecting us to sit back and complain.
    2. The comment about people who marched before Liddell didn’t graduate is a lie. We have a high percent of graduates with post bachlor degrees. We also have numerous of music majors who have albums or who perform with profesionals.
    3. Ask Dr. Williams did anyone fall out on the field as the boom did during the Tennesse State game. When we performed at USM in 87′,they put us facing the sun, it was a 1:00 game and not one person fell out. While you claimed he talked about hazing when he was in the band did he talk about the discipline and respect that was taught toward current and previous members and how we had a band camp that trained us to be able to MARCH a show.
    4. Liddell does have alterior motives and was not good for JSU and that person who is supposedly running the department does not care about JSU or it’s tradition.
    5. Get together to solve the problem. Set a date for all interested alumni to attend because we do want the band back to where the crowed roared during the whole show. Back to swing and sway ( that is JSU’s trade mark). Get Ready back to the original Get Ready. Stop mugging going up the ramp and just march with pride. Trumpets to stop screaming and we want War n Thunder back! Work together to get it and Liddell and Ware need to get ride of the division and cockyness. I saw it during the reunion 2009.

  2. Why didn’t Liddell inform Mason he was retiring a year in advance so JSU could conduct a nationwide search for a Director of Bands before Mason left? I think Liddell wanted to give Murray an opportunity to cushion his resume as Director of Bands.

    Liddell even recommended Murray for the interim position.

    Liddell abruptly retired in June 2009, if you were in a rush to retire, why come back as interim band director? It’s not because of a love for JSU, if it were love, Liddell would have given the JSU administration notice before he abruptly quit (retired) in June 2009.

    Liddell had ulterior motives, NOT a love for JSU.

  3. Why didn’t Liddell inform Mason he was retiring a year in advance so JSU could conduct a nationwide search for a Director of Bands before Mason left? I think Liddell wanted to give Murray an opportunity to cushion his resume as Director of Bands.

    Liddell even recommended Murray for the interim position.

    Liddell abruptly retired in June 2008, if you were in a rush to retire, why come back as interim band director? It’s not because of a love for JSU, if it were love, Liddell would have given the JSU administration notice before he abruptly quit (retired) in June 2008.

    Liddell had ulterior motives, NOT a love for JSU.

  4. I’ll say it! I’m oldschool and those “Lidell” bands can’t nor do they attempt to “MARCH”. That’s not the “BOOM” I marched for. I don’t know what the hell that is. I get pissed every time I see a high school picking up their damn feet. Something isn’t right about that! High School kids being taught to pick up their feet but not the “BOOM”. I’m not going to even get on the over blowing, we have a thousand woodwinds and can’t hear them no damn more! We may as well go all out and get capes and take the “J” off of our uniforms. I am sick and tired of us trying to out do SU! No one will ever be able to out do them at what they do. Are we that ashamed of the legacy that was built BEFORE Lidell?! And please don’t give me that “evolution” bullshyt! Yeah, evolving into “SU”! This crap much change BACK to what it used to be! There was nothing wrong with the BOOM before Lidell so why are we changing? Did the Philharmonic Orchestra “CHANGE” through out time because of “evolution”? These brainwashed Lidell kids are killing me with their bulls&#$!!

    • “Boycott”!?

      And what does that accomplish?

      The university needs all revenue generated by its sports programs and events.
      Boycotts are a means of financial disenfranchisement, which the university does not need.

      Please re-think that position.

      Find your voice…

  5. Whomever they selct as Band Director, I hope the “Boom” stop marching into the stadium three hours before kick off!

    • Mr. Michael Jiles, Marching in 3 hours before the game starts is for the HBCU Band tradition called the “ZERO” Quarter where the home band and the visiting band have a battle till the game starts. Also with all the SWAC changes to bands playing during game play is strong reason why the Sonic Boom is in the stands 2-3 hours before each game. It is bad enough that the SWAC cut each bands halftime show from 15 minutes to 8 minutes is a complete insult.

      • Marching into Memorial three hours before kickoff and the opponent did not bring their marching band is unacceptable!

      • That “ZERO” Quarter crap started after Southern blow on the Boom as they marched into the stadium in 2007. Liddell just didn’t know how to address the issue. The easy way out was for the Boom to march into the stadium before the opposing band.

        • That “ZERO” Quarter crap started after Southern blow on the Boom as they marched into the stadium in 1997. Liddell just didn’t know how to address the issue. The easy way out was for the Boom to march into the stadium before the opposing band.

  6. Whomever they selct as Band Director, I hope the “Boom” stop marching into the stadium three three before kick off!

  7. I’m from Liddell era and I don’t have an issue with anyone from Taylor era, and I’m sure most of the people from my era don’t have an issue with Taylor era folks. I’m also willing to bet most folks from Taylor’s era dont’ have an issue with Liddell era folks…maybe they have an issue with Liddell himself, but not his students.

    When I meet an old head in the band hall I don’t say, “What era are you from”…I show love and respect and vice versa.

    How about EVERYONE stop trying to put a rift between anybody’s era that marched in the Sonic Boom!! Worry about “yourself”. At the end of the day…all the folks talking about there’s a rift, when you walk in the band hall at Homecoming…you won’t see this imaginary “rift”.

    And for the folks that didn’t even march in the Boom…mind ya fugging business!!

    http://www.tspnsports.com/forums/showthread.php?98439-Has-it-been-confirmed-yet-I-think-or-Maybe-Not-but-like-it-or-not/page5

    • “And for the folks that didn’t even march in the Boom…mind ya fugging business!!”

      Not until you stop making idiotic statements.

      Furthermore, perhaps one should have been in the classroom learning not to speak “Ebonics.”

      A mind (and money) is a terrible thing to waste, in your case.

      Find your voice…and some sense!

  8. SU JagNation1996

    In spite of the fact that this poster was from S.U. (and they’re all up in the blue and white kool-aid, lol), his/her words were INFINITELY valid. There is a SEVERE rift between The Boom eras, but the sad thing is that the rift is MAINLY between the Taylor and Liddell eras. Crazy thing is, Mr. Taylor and Dr. Liddell don’t show any evidence of animosity in front of students. As a student they RIGHTFULLY kept their opinions of each other in the right places, AWAY FROM OUR EARS. How about that? The PROBLEMS are with the students of Mr. Taylor bashing, and the students of Dr. Liddell defending (sometimes tactlessly) the others’ eras. The last time I checked, the “Sonic Boom of the South” name applied to ALL of the post-70’s bands at OUR (inclusive) “Dear old college home”. If you want to make things better, RESPECTFULLY offer your ideas, time, talents, and MONEY…if you want to bash the program PLEASE kick rocks. Young folks respect our Band’s legacy, and earn respect by giving your all…Alumni ACT in a manner that DESERVES respect, some of the “grown” folks succumb to ignorance quicker than the “young hotheads”.

    Musical excellence, elegance, ESPRIT DE CORPS, and dignity…

    Signed –

    “FUNKY”-er than you will EVER be on your “HORN”

    • I don’t there is a rift between the eras, the bottom line is, alumni, fans and supporters just think the “Boom” was better during the Haughton and Taylor eras.

      Fans don’t compare the Liddell era “Boom” to other college bands, they compare them to previous eras of the “Boom”.

  9. So back to the subject at hand. How can we as Sonic Boom Alumni come together to make sure that we get a highly qualified ALL JSU alumni staff to ensure that our program maintains it’s tradition of excellence. We really need a BOOM Alumni Association to make sure our voices are heard. Not only that but we also need to put our money where our mouths are. We need to do make sure our band staff is paid a competitive salary by any means.

    • On top of being small-minded, one is clueless, too.

      Hint: It will take a collective effort of all JSU alumni and supporters, not just alumni who marched in Boom.

      According to Herrero, an “ALL JSU alumni staff” is the answer. Look around, Herrero is the only person calling for such nonsense. One needs to expand your thinking about that position among other unimaginative ones. One does not understand diversity of opinion, nor diversity of staff. This tradition of excellence is rooted in non-JSU graduates (staff) as well, who contributed to that excellence, long before one came along.

      FInd your voice and mind.

      JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

      • You are correct non-JSU alumni have contributed greatly to this band program but are you insinuating that JSU graduates do not have the ability to carry on a great program? I am not against having a non-JSU alumnus on the staff at all. What I am saying is that there are enough JSU Music Majors that have matriculated beyond the bachelor degree level that are more than capable of coming home and taking care of the program. I DO believe that the next Director of Bands should be a product of the Boom. How can you not support and agree with that. I am not the only person who shares this opinion. I look around and I see people with the same opinions. I will however support whoever is the next DOB because I truly do indeed LOVE and SUPPORT my program. Don’t try to insult my intelligence at all sir because I am not insulting yours. Also, don’t you dare question my knowledge of the history of my beloved band program because I know it very well. I’ll respectfully listen to your opinions even though you DID NOT march in the BOOM because I do tend to view things from every angle possible. It will take a collective effort of all JSU supporters to have our voices heard but all BOOMsmen do need to come together and spearhead this effort. Why are you so against JSU graduates being the preferred choice for the next DOB? Are you really and truly a “concerned alumnus?” I appreciate your supposed “support” but don’t come at me sideways again. Just letting you know for future reference

        Christopher “Chalupa” Herrero
        DAWGTEAM
        Section Leader 07-08
        Bachelor of Music Education,
        JSU May 2010

        • Thanks for clarity and refinement of your opinion, I appreciate it.

          Of course, I will support a JSU alumni for the position of DOB’s if he or she is the most qualified candidate.

          Obviously, money is a factor in attracting quality applicants.

          This is my opinion on the money issue: Solicit 300 JSU alumni to pledge 100.00 each in support of supplementing the salary of the next DOB’s.

          That is the additional 30,000 for a competitive salary because I doubt the university is going to offer more than 100,000 to the next director.

          I think this is something we can all embrace, Boomers, alumni and supporters of Jackson State University.

          We will call a truce now, but know that I will challenge one again if the comments veer to far of the path of reason.

          Find your voice…

          JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

      • According to a former SECTION LEADER in the Boom (Mr. Herrero) says an “ALL JSU alumni staff” is the answer. Not only is this former Boomsmen RIGHT but this former drum major AGREES with him!! We marched in this band long enough to know what the Boom’s weak points are!! When you add all these other schools in the mix YOUR TRADITION GETS LOST among the other junk people bring in! I’m not about to keep saying the same thing over and over. Administration is hearing what the problems and SOLUTIONS are. Mr. Russ, that is a great idea. If this can get off of the ground, let me be THE FIRST person you call for $100.00 donation. LOVE THE BOOM!!

        J. “Anger Management” Grows
        Crab of 2005
        Jackson 5 Drum Major ’07-’09
        JSU Graduate/Alumni 2011

        • Thanks for supporting the idea.

          One makes valid points in your commentary, but I do not think that is the key to ensuring the Sonic Booms tradition of excellence.

          Even if the case, one will still have differences of opinion of what those traditions are. Look at some of the comments on this board.

          The question is, how does one honor that tradition.

          Correct me if I am wrong, but has an “All JSU staff ever existed within the program?

          The quality of performances may fluctuate, but the tradition virtually remains the same. That view may provoke some dissent, but that is what it should be about, a substantive exchange of ideas and opinions by every who wish to express an opinion.

  10. This response said it all:

    Look at this utter display and Lack of professionalism/bullying. These are the things are everyone is reading from the comments of Dr. Lewis Liddell students. This is sad on all levels. When Dr. Issac Greggs left and Mr. Lawrence Jackson took over, We came together as a family. Our Tradition was passed along and there are no rifts from era to era. But you new breed of Sonic Boomers. Some of you are acting like a pack of thugs with degrees. Get a grip, Get a clue.

    SU JagNation1996

  11. Stephanie Sanders, Blake Gaines, Dr. James Berry or James Holden are my choices for JSU’s next Director of Bands.

  12. @ The Forum,
    C. Russ brought up a good point about the operations of the Stadium. We need to help make it a successful profitable asset for Jsu. We can assist by attending the events, contacting the AD, Prez. And give event ideas that can be held at the venue, etc.

    Using the School of Business and Engineering is a great idea to get students involvemt and experience.

    JSU CAN,,,

  13. Honestly, Russ is right. We can ARGUE amongst each other at homecoming. We need SOLUTIONS right now. I am pretty sure people in JSU administration are reading these comments and taking notes. To stop the further loss of tradition within the Boom and fix this problem, we need to 1.) PAY OUR BAND DIRECTORS. 2.) We need an all JSU ALUMNI band staff. THAT IS THE SOLUTION!! We need a band director staff of JSU ALUMNI to keep our tradition IN TACT! This is bigger than Dr. Liddell stabilizing a band program for a number of years. This is bigger than Dowell Taylor and his era. Let me be the one to say it, IF THE BAND KEEPS GOING THE DIRECTION IT HAS BEEN GOING, (HORRIBLE salaries/the REVOLVING DOOR associated with the staff), EXPECT IT TO NOSE DIVE!! One man can not save an entire program. It will be a sad day but nothing lasts forever. Valley, Alcorn, Grambling etc. were once MONSTER band programs. Now look at them. If we do not get it together and fix our leadership problem, our dear Sonic Boom will be the Sonic DOOM..The next “washed-up champ” and DOOR MAT of the SWAC…

    J. “Anger Management” Grows
    Crab of 2005
    Jackson 5 Drum Major ’07-’09
    JSU Graduate/Alumni 2011

    • It is time for all those who love Jackson State (and the Sonic Boom of the South) to coalesce around concrete ideas and themes that pave the way forward.

      A small minority of commenters see the full picture and want to be a part of it. Others remain stuck in the past because that is where they choose to be: it is easy to do nothing, say little and be clueless. I did not make that up. It is on this site for all to see.

      In the next few days, I encourage those who are about making a difference at Jackson State, whether it relates to funding for the Sonic Boom or whatever it is that stirs your soul, take ownership of it. Act on it.

      The JSU Development Foundation has programs that we may want to explore with respect to raising funds. There are strict guidelines regarding the do’s and do not in regard to raising money. On Thursday, I will be meeting with an alumnus about this program. In the meantime, others can do some independent investigation of their own.

      Murray, Haughton, Liddell, McGruder and Taylor: They were the chapter we discussed last week, if we keep going back we will never know what is up ahead.

      Yes, some of us do not want to know what lies ahead because we are afraid to leave ones small, suffocating comfort zones. That is okay, but do not let them choose your fate.

      Find your voice…

      • There is talk about some JSU alumni wanting to increasing the Band Director’s salary just to bring Michael Magruder back, I don’t think this is right, it’s called pre-selection! If Magruder is interested in the position, he should apply along with the other interested candidates and not be solicited.

        I’m so sick and tired of narrow minded people making the comment, “If you didn’t play in the band, you have no comment”, that is the must stupidest comment I have ever heard! It’s not about you; it’s about the spectators at halftime and they know what’s entertaining and what isn’t, even though they may have never played an instrument.

        I know there was a “Sonic Boom Booster Club” back in the 1980’s that consisted of alumni and fans, I think were need to bring this club back so our voices can be heard!

        “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”! JSU needs to select a Director of Bands that will bring all the generations of alumni (this includes ex- Boom members) and fans together, because there is too much divisiveness!

        • If one sees this happening speak out. I sure will. It is necessary we observe the process and let it happen, but remain vigilant of dishonourable conduct.

          “If you did not play in the band, you have no comment,” that is the most idiotic comment that I will ever hear in my lifetime.

          It is an indefensible statement.

          One must never allow oneself to succumb to that level of ignorance.

          Find your voice…

          JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

        • Actually that’s not stupid. If you were not a part of the program, how can you know anything about the program. United the BOOM stands. Outsiders who think they know, just mess things up.

    • No protesting……Dr. Lewis Liddell is in place to take of the program until the search committee find the person to which will take the program to the next level. Every SWAC/MEAC schools are watching the JSU Sonic Boom as the news went fast about Murray going to Alcorn.

      Signed ..
      An Anonymous JSU Administrator (Watching and reading)

      • Sir/Madam:

        Thanks for “watching and reading” these comments. I had hoped this would be the case. My feeling is the friction in slowly dissipating and some of us are seizing this opportunity to lend their voices of engagement.

        We have another looming task ahead, which is the operations and management of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. Time is fast approaching the launch of the stadium under the ownership and control of Jackson State University: are we ready?

        The local media (and detractors) expect to write and talk about what they think will be staggering chaos. Do not let that happen. My assumption is the stadium will be efficiently and professionally managed, on day one, no exceptions, period.

        This idea may be under consideration, but the School of Business and Marketing should be actively engaged in the process now. Use resources and expertise available to one at Jackson State, I.e. feasibility/marketing plans. It may be a excellent costs saving to the university.

        Also, thanks for posting the positions of University Provost and VP of Academic Affairs positions. One (and others) is encouraged by that decision.

        We are Jackson State, and we must act with authority now.

        Find your voice…

        JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  14. You mean HAZING isn’t one of the “traditions” that are being detroyed? You mean there was no hazing in the band back then? Wow, I guess all those Taylor peeps lied to us.

  15. Again, where are all the Taylor era Music Major’s? Surely they can make a contribution. They can find their voice. They can make the Boom better. Surely they have more talent than bashing their own school’s band?

    • So….We all guess some from the Liddell ERA has someone??? Step up to the plate…….
      Cause the only talent I see from you 1999 is your mouth CONSTANTLY running non STOP………

  16. JSU Administrator such as myself love these type of reading. Especially after our spies watched Murray for us so long.

    • If true, this behavior suggest an involvement which was not a part of your job description, I would expect.

      I am not bashing one personally. I am bashing the structure and culture it enables, and one seems to be a part of it. This behavior is unprofessional and so, should not be tolerated or sanctioned by the university.

      When I speak with Dr. Meyers, I will credit ones words. This is a compelling reason for a house-cleaning that is way over due.

      Thanks for not doing the job in which one was hired to perform.

      Find your voice… in your case, find another job because one is in the wrong profession.

      JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  17. Hey Charles Russ….Not of of Dr. Liddell’s CRAB have the BRAINWASHED lack of respect. Some saw what needed to be seen with their own eyes. Example….

    Go to,,,,,
    http://sonicboomofthesouth.com/history/bandmaster-chronology/

    Look at the SMALL list of accomplishments for Dowell Taylor………
    Then look at the LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG list for the ….

    Also…Guess Edward “Pop” Duplessis and Paul I. Adams are liars in what was said for years about why they left…..

    No Hazing issues except 1991 during Edward “Pop” Duplessis year………

    2 Official after the fact and a 3rd one that was sleep under the rug……Woodwind section……
    It is not like it is a secret…….

    jstate83 love this to death on TSPN Sports.com

    • Lewis Liddell is the webmaster of that website! That’s why his accomplishments are so LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!

      Liddell TIRED to make himself look good on paper, but he has failed miserably at halftime!

    • Again, I am not interested in that nonsense. My interest is seeing Jackson State

      employ the most accomplished Director of Bands to lead the Sonic Boom, period.

      I do not care about hazing, era’s, etc.

      I want inspirational leadership from the JSU administration and dynamic leadership from the JSU alumni.

      Find your voice…

      JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  18. Kendrick, Maurice, S. Taylor, Thomas, Sherman, Anger Management:

    Keep talking and be aware of how each can make a difference at Jackson State.
    It is our university, make it better. Get involved and encourage others to do the same.
    When things do not make sense, speak up and encourage others to do the same.

    Take ownership of things that matter. JSU matters.

    Find your voice…

    JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  19. That is your recycled, and widely subjective opinion of ones entitlement. All of the previous DIrectors of Bands made significant contributions for The Sonic Boom, period.

    So let us move on to the next chapter.

    My question is: what is your answer to hiring a permanent Director of Bands?

    I suggest one offer solutions for the future, move beyond the past, and soften your indiscriminate attacks of others.

    Find your voice…

    JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  20. Davis gave the Boom, the “Big Band” sound, Haughton gave the “Boom, the Tiger-Run and the “Get Ready” march in, Taylor gave the “Boom”, “JSU Rocks The House” and awesome field shows, the only thing Liddell brought to the “Boom” was mediocrity, shame and band members who were not motivated to perform!

    Liddell era band members were not driven, they were lazy! Their best performances were in the stands, when they hit the field, walking, no energy, falling down during the “Tiger-Run”, it was a “HOT MESS”.

    • Actually Doc already retired when people fell on the tiger run on. Get your facts straight before you even attempt to bash my band program.

    • And come to think of it what did YOU do for the program. Did you even march? Back to the topic at hand, Let’s get money to pay SONIC BOOM Alumni to come back home and run the program.

  21. I can see why Liddell era “Boomers” get no respect, they have no class or dignity.

    • Yo Maw don’t got no dignity. Her ass be suckin dick for crack money on the corner of Valley and 80 but yet call herself a classy lady.

      • If one do not respect oneself, one could at least respect the privilege of commenting on this site.

        I will leave it at that…

  22. Kendrick Murray weren’t you on suicide/homicide watch your only full year in the band? How does it feel to the be the guy in the organization who is the sorry and nobody likes you. 3 years you attempted to march and you barely made it one time….

    • So what, it is his efforts that should be applauded, not attacked.

      What positive message can one add to the discussion?

      Change ones thinking; it will change ones life.

      Find your voice…

      JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

    • Look at this utter display and Lack of professionalism/bullying. These are the things are everyone is reading from the comments of Dr. Lewis Liddell students. This is sad on all levels. When Dr. Issac Greggs left and Mr. Lawrence Jackson took over, We came together as a family. Our Tradition was passed along and there are no rifts from era to era. But you new breed of Sonic Boomers. Some of you are acting like a pack of thugs with degrees. Get a grip, Get a clue.

      SU JagNation1996

      • Why are you even sticking your nose this direction? Sweep around your own door before you come to this page with these LIES. If that is the case why are jaguar alumni saying that your band director Mr. Jackson is holding the program back? Why are alumni complaining that the signature “jaguar-rock” is not the same and has been lost under the new leadership? Why are alumni complaining that the band has lost its “power” under the new leadership? Why are Human Jukebox members DIVIDED over the freshmen NOT shaving their heads bald like the freshmen members before 2009? You must have forgotten that even though we are rivals, BEFORE THE RIVALRY, we all went to the same high schools. People talk. How about you go tell you SCOTLANDVILLE Jags to go PRACTICE so the Boom do not blow them over to SAUDI ARABIA again this year. WE GOT THIS.

  23. Marice Austin Patrick has hit the nail right on top of the head. Kendrick Murray, just stop while you are ahead. Please. You are ALL THE WAY in LEFT FIELD man. Now I agree with Charles Russ on one issue:

    “A possible solution to finding the most accomplished Director of Bands requires a competitive salary offer from the university…I think an investment supported by alumni donations and fundraising mechanisms to support salaries, especially when it comes to attracting quality staff is the way forward.”

    This is a great idea and also not uncommon. I heard that this is something that Grambling does. The only way this “revolving door” in our band room will finally be shut tight is if our band directors get PAID. This is absolutely ridiculous that JSU’s staff produce a MONSTER of a band, EVERY YEAR, and get paid CRUMBS for their work. Regardless of who fills the spot after Dr. Liddell, if they are not making any money, EXPECT THEM TO LEAVE. Then 5+ years from now we will be right back on this site…SEARCHING for another director of bands. I just hope that the band program does not take a NOSE DIVE through all of this in the process. (Which is the route it is headed if we do not fix this REOCCURRING PROBLEM)

    J. “Anger Management” Grows
    Crab of 2005
    Jackson 5 Drum Major ’07-’09
    JSU Graduate/Alumni 2011

  24. Liddell should have stayed retired! Using “Get Ready” as a drill song is an overkill.

  25. To Taylor Era Boomers and/or Liddell haters:

    Liddell is a temporary fix to a problem of leadership vacuum. Where are all the Taylor Era Music Major Alumni? They should be lining up to take the reins. Right? …………You all see all of the many, many “problems” with the band under Liddell. You should be ready to step in and make it like it was in the 80’s, Right?………… Oh, that’s right. Only a hand full of you ever graduated and even fewer have advanced degrees needed to teach on the collegiate level. In stead of spending 17 years putting your own school’s band on blast you should have been going to school so you can implement change.

    To me that is the glaring evidence that MOST of you don’t really Love the Boom. You are bitter at the way Taylor was replaced as Band Director (which I agree was Jacked up) You just sit back a spew hate at the man that took his place (even though he didn’t have a damn thing to do with it) You people don’t love the Boom, you just love Taylor. You people critize the Boom worse than any Alcornite, Southerner, or any other rival. And you do it in publicly. You hate the Boom.

    • Love the Boom….Love the Boom….All the stuff. Still point the fingers at past Music Majors. WHERE ARE YOU MUSIC MAJORS? You are making more excuses than a sinner not going to church. So put up or SHUT UP 1999!!!!!

  26. First off all, what professor taught you English? Your first line isn’t a sentence but it is a fragment. Secondly, I marched in “The Sonic Boom of the South” for half of a semester in 2008 on trumpet. I also marched in the band the entire semester where I played the french horn in 2010. I will be graduating from Jackson State University in May 2012. I plan to do something with my degree, unlike others. I’m not worried about whether someone crosses a section or not. It won’t take Kendrick Murry more than four years to get his degree. Finally, worry about Maurice Patrick and enjoy your evening.

  27. First of all, if you never marched in Da BOOM. Your opinion is not welcome! I’m sure I speak for most Sonic Boomers with that statement. Second, the opinions of every person and the band directors that they loved is good, but it is stupid for anyone to put down any of the previous and/or present directors of bands because they ALL had flaws!! All opinions are biased to some degree but lets deal with the main factual issue. JSU IS NOT PAYING FOR EXCELLENCE SO THEY DON’T GET IT. The band directors salaries are ridiculously too low for ANY band director worth anything to even consider the possibility of joining that staff. Most Alumni that comment on this board talking about a particular band director being TRASH, did not even graduate from JSU. Murray left because of money. Magruder won’t come back because its not enough money. Dr. Liddell came back ONLY because he bleeds blue and white CAUSE THE MONEY WAS NOT IT!!!! As much as I respect all previous band directors from every era, Dr. Liddell does not HAVE to be at JSU he wants to make the chump change they are giving him because he loves JSU. Furthermore, Liddell is going to have a hell of a time trying to recruit ANY QUALITY staff members with the lowest salaries in the SWAC right next to MVSU!!!! the situation is shameful but true!

    • Marice Austin Patrick:

      Whether I or anyone marched in the band, or not, is irrelevant. The First Amendment of the U.S Constitution protects my ability to communicate freely and without fear of reprisal, not Marice Austin Patrick, in his fragmented grammar.

      However, I agree with ninety percent of your comments. At least one stated a cogent commentary that illuminates the problem with this situation.

      Thank for sharing your perspective.

      Find your voice…

      JSU CAN (Concerned ALumni Network)

      • No one can take away your First ammendment rights Charles Russ. I said no Sonic Boomers past or present would care about your comments of BOOM leadership!! Your opinions are biased as heck and although you are rightfully entitled to them, you don’t know these people that you are bashing!

        • Show me the bias, and bashing one claims. Apparently, I credited one with being a lot smarter than one is.

          Find your voice…

    • This is completely true. Liddell took a pay cut to come to JSU to take the job as Director of Bands. Anyone that does not believe that money is an issue can take a trip to the JSU library and request to see the University budget book. It is public record. It lists the salaries of everyone on campus by name for years. Mr. Duplessis used to always say he could make more money teaching high school then he did at JSU. As a teacher I can verify that I made more my 3rd year teaching high then he made with 30 years at JSU. Every JSU director has had there successes and their errors. It amazes me that after all of these years some people still focus on how you got into the organization and not the WORK that you did when you was there. If you was Taylor made or a product of Liddell, if you came to practice 2 days a week late and was drunk and/or high on those days then you made no contribution to the organization anyway. And if that led to you being a QUITUATE and not a GRADUATE of Jackson State Univeristy then you probably are still NOT making any POSITIVE contributions. The focus of this conversation needs to be how are we gonna be able to pay someone an adequate salary to continue the WORK that needs to be done to make this program continue to be successful. Despite popular opinions but inviations to the Honda Battle of the Bands, NAACP Image Awards, and ceremonial parades are still considered measures of success. In order to get a viable candidate the salary is going to have to increase at least $30,000. To get Magruder at least another $50,000 added to the current pay. Regardless as to era you were here, it’s gonna take SUPPORT from every era to pull this off. Were gonna have to put our money where our mouth is. Talk is cheap. Until we form a UNIFIED Sonic Boom Alumni that focuses on what is really NEEDED for the program we will be unheard. I’m willing to volunteer to get it done. Are you?

  28. “The Sonic Boom of the South” has previously had good leaders, including Dowell Taylor, Lewis Liddell, Renardo Murray, and many others. In my opinion, Dr. Murray stood out among the three. Many people might have not liked him as a band director, but 2010-2011 was one of the best years for the band program at Jackson State University. I would have left Jackson State, if I was treated as badly and had an option to leave. Dr. Murray cut out the foolishness, which would destroy any band program. Hazing anyone doesn’t make anyone better! It doesn’t take much to tell a freshman to “Get your *** in line!” Dr. Liddell made sure that those marches were played correctly and thats good but you can’t play marches when Southern is crankin “Run This Town” as they did a few years ago. Dowell Taylor had the style but not enough volume. Take a look at the Jackson State University Band from 2010-2011 and compare it to the previous years. In the SWAC, it’s about having a good quality sound and volume.

  29. I think Liddell era “Sonic Boom” members are upset because Alumni and Fans don’t regard Liddell era bands as “highly renowned” editions of the “Sonic Boom”.

    I know it was tough for Liddell to follow legends like Davis, Haughton and Taylor. Liddell did his best! I guess Liddell’s best just wasn’t good enough! Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

  30. Although I LOVE THA BOOM, now as a parent of two teens, I wish alumni of HBCUs were as involved and vocal about giving back financially and academic development and innovation than who is band director.

    • Anonymous:

      There are many reasons alumni do not participate in supportive structures, but here are a few that comes to mind:

      1. Lack of motivational and dynamic leadership within the alumni base.

      2. A can-not-afford-attitude that fosters misplaced cultural priorities, i.e. cars, clothing and food.

      3. Pretzel mindset that one only give in the Church offering and nothing else.

      4. Lack of trust and confidence in ourselves and others to advance positive change.

      5. And a mindset that devalues the possibilities of accomplishment and success within us.

      Frankly, it is stunning that the conversation can not evolve from my era vs. your era mindset.
      Are we fully clueless, or is just that downward trajectory that the we choose to embrace?

      Find your voice…

      JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  31. I have never posted on the sites one mentioned, and will never. Nor was I a member of the Sonic Boom. This discussion is not about some ill-conceived battle of eras that people have etched in their minds. It is and should be about the Jackson State of tomorrow.

    Is it going to be a better JSU for the next generation?

    Some how too many of us can not see the forest for the trees. We are too parochial in ones thinking, vision and actions.

    My frustration is the absence of leadership from the alumni, the university and the department of music. As I see it, there is a leadership vacuum and there seem to be little recognition that it exists or the desire to change directions.

    If one had a passion for Jackson State, what would it be?

    Find your voice…

    JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

    • If you were never a member of the Sonic Boom how can you say Liddell or any other person is not good for the program?

      • Please re-read, I hope one sees it in the context it is intended. I spoke in the context in which he returned. It was the negligence of leadership that did not address the position over the period of two years. I

        This is not a personal attack on Dr. Liddell.

        Furthermore, I do not have to be a member of the Sonic Boom to observe or comment on a perceived flawed process.

        Find your voice…

        JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  32. Oh, BELIEVE ME Mr. Rush, you guys have not remained silent on the matter. The hatred displayed for the Boom by some “Taylor-Mades” on various PUBLIC internet sites such as bandhead.org, marchingsport.com, swacfans.com etc. have not went unnoticed. I’m sure Sonic Boom family as well as the SWAC and NATION have heard all the negative comments voiced about the band from that era! Sometimes I wonder why some (not all) of those “Original Sonic Boomers” just don’t go put on the opposing team’s shirt at some of our home games.

    No one is saying “remain silent.” It is a certain way you go about addressing these types of matters and certainly BLASTING the band program whenever given the opportunity is NOT the way to do it. Did I agree with everything that the band did through my matriculation at JSU? No, but every concern I had I BROUGHT IT TO THE F.D. MUSIC HALL. I am pretty sure someone in the administration tower is willing to listen to concerns also. My LOVE for the Boom will not permit me to blast the program infront of every school in the SWAC giving them ammunition to throw at JSU whenever band conversation arises.

    I’m all about RESPECT and SOLUTIONS, not about being BITTER and COMPLAINING. Also, to Ms. Tripp and her ignorant comments (with all do respect and in my best New Orleans dialect)..You can take dat “applaud” and shove it up yo’ ass! Good night.

    J. “Anger Management” Grows
    Crab of 2005
    Jackson 5 Drum Major ’07-’09
    JSU Graduate/Alumni 2011

  33. First, no one needs to be taught to remain silent, that is part of the problem. We can no longer afford silence on matters that require ones attention.

    My interest in this matter is to effect positive change from the Jackson State’s leadership, the alumni and the School of Music in selecting the most accomplished Director of Bands. However, I think the aforementioned entities have not shown leadership on this issue, and among other pressing matters that require intelligent solutions quickly.

    “Dr. Liddell is The Best man for the position right now.” I disagree. The best person (he or she), was the person not hired two years ago.

    A possible solution to finding the most accomplished Director of Bands requires a competitive salary offer from the university. This seems to be a hindrance, but a factor that can be neutralized through creative thinking from the alumni. I think an investment supported by alumni donations and fundraising mechanisms to support salaries, especially when it comes to attracting quality staff is the way forward.

    In closing, “J. ‘Anger Management’ Grows,” thanks for voicing your opinion, and we will not always agree, but we cannot be silent any longer. I respectfully suggest one carve a niche for oneself that helps develop Jackson State on. I will do the same.

    Find your voice…

    JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  34. Get over it, J. “Anger Management” Grows, you didn’t play in one of the “highly renowned” versions of the “Sonic Boom”, but I applaud you and understand your pain.

    • And what highly renowned band did you play in? The only highly renowned band during the Taylor era was the Motown Band!!! Liddell has many!!!!

  35. I used to have alot of respect for the Taylor era of bandsmen up until I got out of the Boom. That is when I realized that the main Boom FAMILY that are all on the INTERNET bashing the Boom, all in the public bashing the Boom, and all over the country BASHING THE BOOM are you TAYLOR-MADES. They need to teach you all that the place to voice your concerns are IN HOUSE and not in the public!!

    Yes, the Dowell Taylor bands were GREAT. The field shows were always full of energy and flawless. Yes there is a clear difference in the sound and field presence of the Boom from 2011, 2001, 1991 etc. One thing that people fail to realize is Taylor had a SOLID BAND STAFF the years he led the Boom. Dr. Liddell led the band for 17 years WITH a CHANGING STAFF. People came and went but STILL Dr. Liddell maintained a KILLER band program. That is one thing that you have to respect about Doc. Many band programs would have crumbled under the same circumstances.

    I marched five years in this band program and was drum major for three of those five years. What would I suggest that would fix the band and keep our tradition in tact? PAY OUR BAND DIRECTORS and get a staff of JSU alumni who know our tradition. There is NO REASON why GRAMBLING’s band directors should be getting paid/are getting paid more than JSU’s band directors! Maybe this would hold some people on the band director staff!!

    Dr. Liddell is THE BEST man for the position right now. If any one else feels otherwise, get a music education degree and come run the band program the way YOU see fit. Until then, stop CRYING and BASHING the Boom and suck it up! LOVE THE BOOM!!

    J. “Anger Management” Grows
    Crab of 2005
    Jackson 5 Drum Major ’07-’09
    JSU Graduate/Alumni 2011

  36. The story is he is not interested in returning as Director of Bands. Why, I wonder?

    Nepotism does not have to be an acceptable practice if alumni rejected it.

    Silence does not create change. Make your voice heard. The search in just beginning,

    write, email or call the administration about your concerns.

    Find your voice…

    JSU CAN (Concerned Alumni Network)

  37. We all know nepotism is practiced at Jackson State; they probably will select another Liddell or Murray, instead of selecting the most qualified person as Director of Bands.

    They probably will bring Michael Magruder back as permanent director.

    • The word from a good former Boom source is that MacGruder don’t want it at this stage of his career. He is the band director and chair of the music dept at WSSU and would not come back to JSU due to “grap” within the structure on campus.

      The band director is on one symptom of the problem…The “Boom” will also be the best band in the land; but what’s needed to ensure its continued success?

      Love the dialogue; and inspired to see that alums are concerned about what’s happening on campus. Alumni are forever, presidents, band directors, professors are temporary!!!!!

      “JSU CAN”

  38. “Original Sonic Boomers” unite into one voice and organize. Then address your uniformed concerns to the University’s Leadership, Dr. Meyers; ensure you are part of the solution not contributing to the problem. Words without action is a waste!!!

    …And yes, I engage the Administration regularly to voice my concerns when I notice anything that is not right or needs improvements on campus….

    “CAN” (concerned alumni network)

  39. Your comments should point to the future of the Sonic Boom.

    One is talking about the past; it is 2011, and the Sonic Boom of the South does not have a permanent leader. How does one respond to that?

    I suggest someone who can unite the essence of former leader’s contribution to the Sonic Boom, and their own, to deliver the best performance.

  40. o The 1992 through 1999 versions (Liddell era) of the “Sonic Boom” were the sorriest versions of the “Sonic Boom” in JSU’s history! Taylor era bands (1984 to 1990) had precision, showmanship, Big Band sound and they marched and not walk like the bands of the Liddell era. Taylor era bands were well disciplined and respected.
    Remember when the “Sonic Boom” used their instruments in a fight with the Alabama State marching band in Birmingham (Legion Field)? That was during the Liddell era and that incident tarnished the “Sonic Boom’s” legacy! Remember the hazing incidents; one was during the Liddell era. Taylor’s era was unblemished; you can’t say the same for the Liddell era bands. Liddell era bands often marched without plumes; this didn’t happen during the Taylor era.
    The best version of the “Sonic Boom” were during the Davis, Haughton and Taylor eras, you can exclude the Liddell era bands.

    1989 “Sonic Boom”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-0HMhtPfuw&feature=player_embedded

  41. WOWOWOW….I usually don’t reply to comments of this nature because everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it amazes me how former so call Boomers talk about the new Boomers like there era was Gods gift to the world. That’s hilarious because I’m sure folks that came before you said the EXACT same thing about the Taylor era. Its called evolution!!!! If things stayed the same folks would have something to say about that too. Ask anyone what Taylor bands would compare to ANY Liddell band and the only band folks will say is the Motown band…..you hear of NO OTHER band during Taylor’s era. One year out of how many years that Taylor was band director?!?! But you hear of band after band raising to the occasion of what the boom should be about in the Liddell years so clearly Liddell must have been doing something right!!!! Now, lets talk about respect….I can’t name one year that any group of students willingly walk off the field before a performance during the Liddell years but that happened in 88 so where is the real disrespect. The same cockiness you speak of is taught and breed in sonic boomers from your era up until now so don’t act like Taylor bands were not cocky and disrespectful in fact it was much worse than it is now….I have heard the stories from Taylor era folks!!!!! We were all apart of one of if not the greatest band in the land and all of the band directors – with the exception of these past two years – have brought this band to new heights so lets just leave it at that…..LOVE THE BOOM!!!!!

    • Liddell Crabs …ZERO RESPECT. Arrogant and Cocky. Murray was the MOST EVER. After 1992. The program was taken backwards!!!!!!

      • And Taylor Crabs have respect?!?!?! That’s laughable!!!!! The only aspect of this I agree with is the Murray part because that is true and the funny part is he had ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to be arrogant or cocky!!!!

    • The 1992 through 1999 versions (Liddell era) of the “Sonic Boom” were the sorriest versions in of the “Sonic Boom” in JSU’s history! Taylor era bands (1984 to 1990) had precession, showmanship, Big Band sound and they marched and not walk like the bands of the Liddell era. Taylor era bands were well disciplined and respected.

      Remember when the “Sonic Boom” used their instruments in a fight with the Alabama State marching band in Birmingham (Legion Field)? That was during the Liddell era and that incident tarnished the “Sonic Boom’s” legacy! Remember the hazing incidents; one was during the Liddell era. Taylor’s era was unblemished; you can’t say the same for the Liddell era bands. Liddell era bands often marched without plumes; this didn’t happen during the Taylor era.

      The best version of the “Sonic Boom” were during the Davis, Haughton and Taylor eras, you can exclude the Liddell era bands,

      1989 “Sonic Boom”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-0HMhtPfuw&feature=player_embedded

      • @Tiger Trail Are you seriously trying to blame Dr. Liddell for a riot? That basically occured because some sorry excuse for sportsfans tried to attack the band members and steal their instruments. You cannot blame Dr. Liddell for instigating a fight. That had absolutely NOTHING to do with the ability to teach music or lead as a band director.

      • This is hilarious….The reason that happened in the first place was because an Alabama State student grabbed a member of the Sonic Boom. If that had happened during anyone’s era it would have been the same outcome so your comments on that are superfluous!!! The Taylor era is the BIRTH PLACE of hazing in the Sonic Boom, the only thing is it didn’t get publicized until now and everyone is having to deal with that not just the Sonic Boom. Dr. Quinton Williams the present Vice Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at JSU came before the band at the last band camp talking about the hazing that was going on in the band when he was there in gruesome details and let’s take a guess what era he was in….HMMMM….the Taylor era so let’s stop acting like hazing just began in the Liddell era. It was at its peak in the Taylor era it just became publicized during the Liddell era. So if it was unblemished it was totally by chance that it wasn’t. You Taylor folks may want to get your facts straight before you start talking about things you have no clue of because the reason any Liddell band ever marched without plumes or any other essentials was do to there being no budget or an vendor error not Liddell. If you all would put your money were your mouths ALWAYS are that band would never have to want for anything. But you all rather bad mouth the band instead of support but I’m not surprised because your just a product of your leader!!!!

  42. Liddell or Murrey was any good for the program. We need a music director who knows JSU tradition and a director who wants to bring the tradition back. Since Mr. Taylor left they have been sorry and cocky. They have no respect,can’t play Get Ready, the swing and sway is gone and the tiger run on is them trying to get on the field. Bring the boom back and he will not do it.

    • Some may or may not agree with your assessment, Crab ’87.

      Today, we and others interested, have an opportunity to determine who the next DOB is. Unfortunately, we talk amongst ourselves but do not engage the process.

      The problem is communication.

      Will the alumni weigh-in their concerns? What level of impact will alumni have? Will alumni submit questions to potential candidates? How do we provide a forum to this process? Who do alumni talk to about what attributes they want in the next DOB?

      What I find troubling is a group of highly qualified alumni is not interested in applying for the position. Why?

  43. One reason the search is now there is a President. Not a interim Presiident be glad Dr Murray is gone. Think a about it when the boom is not at the first game this year. Ask band members about the x director. He left the boom to go to ASU, RIGHT….

    • I think Murray is glad to be gone. No matter how you slice it, there is a leadership vacuum in the Department of Music at Jackson State.

      I will constitute 10 statements that will test your theory that things will change now that Jackson State has a new president:

      1. The Director of Bands hiring process is professional and efficient.

      2. A process that addresses departmental deanship and chairmanship vacancies.

      3. The stadium has a seasoned management team in place at the start of football season.

      4. The office of Alumni Affairs and Constituency Relations restructuring.

      5. Women’s basketball coach catastrophe reaches a swift conclusion.

      6. A mass firing of support staff (they know who they are, the unprofessional and incompetent
      ones.)

      7. Fewer automated messages when contacting departments, etc.

      8. Improved marketing and public relations strategies.

      9. Hiring and promoting innovative leaders.

      10. Jackson State incorporates business model instead of a mom-and-pop operation.

      Choose any one, it will be a significant improvement if the university can just see the message.

  44. One reason the search is now there is a President. Not a intern Presiident be glad Dr Murray is gone. Think a about it when the boom is not at the first game this year. Ask band members about the x director. He left the boom to go to ASU, RIGHT….

  45. “Leave while you are on top”….In order for the band program to further exhale it requires new, innovative, experienced & professional leadership. We can’t keep “recycling”; our programs and our University will remain stagnant. Status Quo is not acceptable for the JSU “I” know…..

    Love my “Alma Mater”

  46. Typical Jackson State Progress:

    One step forward
    Two steps back
    Run around in circles
    Til you don’t know jack.

  47. Can Dr. Quinton Williams provide an explanation why the university just launched a nationwide search for a Director of Bands?

    This post has gone two years unfilled.

    Also, are processes in place to fill other vacancies at Jackson State University with permanent leadership, i.e. departmental chairmanships, deanships, etc.?

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