The LSU Tiger Marching Band was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame at a press conference held Friday, Sept. 11, at Lod Cook Alumni Center, along with former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long and former Tiger Marching Band Director Castro Carazo. The band’s public induction took place during halftime of the LSU-Vanderbilt football game Saturday, Sept. 12, in Tiger Stadium. Pictured during the public induction are, from left: LSU Alumni Association President and CEO Charlie Roberts, LSU Director of Bands Frank Wickes, LSU Associate Director of Bands Linda Moorehouse, LSU Assistant Director of Bands Roy King, LMHOF Executive Director Mike Shepherd and LMHOF Executive Advisory Board member Del Moon.
Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductions Historic for LSU Tiger Marching Band and Songwriters Huey P. Long and Castro Carazo
With their respective inductions into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, or LMHOF, last week, the LSU Tiger Marching Band and two of its most historic figures once again marched into the history books.
The honor, bestowed upon “The Golden Band from Tigerland” during a press conference Sept. 12 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center and again publicly during halftime of the LSU-Vanderbilt football game Sept. 13 in Tiger Stadium, makes the band the first marching band to ever be inducted into a state’s music hall of fame.
The weekend also saw the induction of former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long and former LSU Tiger Marching Band Director Castro Carazo into the LMHOF’s new songwriters’ wing.
During its halftime performance Sept. 12, the Tiger Marching Band performed songs written by and first performed by fellow hall of fame members. These included “Carnival Time” by Al Johnson, “Barefootin’” by Robert Parker and “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight.
The LSU Tiger Marching Band induction brings the number of music legends that have been formally recognized to date by the LMHOF to 45.
The selection of “The Golden Band from Tigerland” for induction alongside the likes of Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gov. Jimmie Davis was based on many unique accomplishments, according to LMHOF Executive Director Mike Shepherd. He noted that no other college band has had a fight song written by its governor in Huey P. Long; had an internationally known jazz orchestra leader in Castro Carazo as its band director; won the only national college marching band show competition ever held, the 1970 All American College TV Band Award; earned the coveted Sudler Trophy, awarded annually by the John Philip Sousa Foundation; won the 2008 ESPN Battle of the Bands Indiana Jones movie music video contest and $25,000 over other top bands from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Southern California by a landslide public vote; and can claim so much indigenous music heritage as its own. For example, the classic “Tiger Rag” originated as a Dixieland jazz song, and millions of people instantly recognize the first four notes of “Hold That Tiger” in the band’s famous pregame show.
“LSU has one of the most amazing collegiate marching bands in the United States,” Shepherd said. “They’ve been honored numerous times and have achieved some of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a collegiate marching band. This is a program founded in the late 1800s. It’s truly an amazing and historical band and another piece of amazing Louisiana music history, which we have second to none.”
Shepherd noted that few other college bands are as integral to the identity and lore of their athletic programs and campus culture or are as loved and supported by its fans as the LSU Tiger Marching Band.
Del Moon, a 1975 LSU graduate and Tiger Marching Band alumnus who created the first incarnation of the LMHOF in the 1980s and now serves on the hall’s executive advisory board, said the idea to induct Tiger Marching Band into the hall came after last year’s induction of LSU graduate and world-renowned composer Bill Conti.
“Last year, when we inducted Bill Conti, it occurred to us that we were overlooking a very important fact – that this band needs to be in the hall,” Moon said. “This band is viewed as singularly special not only by the LSU community, but by people all over.”
Moon, who lives in Atlanta and heads LSU’s Alumni Association chapter there, added that he is often approached by alumni from other universities who compliment the Tiger Marching Band.
“They tell me how wonderful they think the band is,” Moon said. “To hear that from fans and alumni of other universities shows how much respect people elsewhere have for LSU and for the Tiger Marching Band.”
Few other band programs have produced as many musicians, music educators and famed alumni in the music world as LSU’s band program, Shepherd said. These include Academy Award-winning composer Bill Conti, a 2008 LMHOF inductee; Emmy award-winning television and movie composer Julie Giroux; composer, conductor and author H. Owen Reed; prolific band music composer Clifton Williams; and many noted and gifted performers such as trombonist Carl Fontana.
Moon said the band’s induction comes because of its unique historical, cultural and educational contributions and for its continual record of achievements. He said it also serves as a reminder of how important music is to Louisiana at every level.
“There simply is no other college band more deserving of the honor of being the first to be inducted into a music hall of fame and to score yet another singular distinction among its peers,” he said. “It also reaffirms the towering music legacy Louisiana possesses in so many genres, including indigenous American music forms such as jazz, New Orleans rhythm & blues, rock & roll, swamp pop, Cajun and zydeco.
Calling the honor “very unique and humbling,” LSU Director of Bands Frank Wickes said that to be recognized among the many popular musical icons already honored by Louisiana and the hall is a great feeling.
“For us to be included in that and representing all of the students and directors in this band’s history is an honor,” Wickes said. “We’re particularly proud that this happened while we were active with this program. We think it’s very special. Our students do, the general student body does and our fans definitely do. I can’t say how much we appreciate this great honor that has been bestowed upon us.”
For more information on LSU Tiger Marching Band, visit http://www.bands.lsu.edu
Long, Carazo honored for songwriting
While the Tiger Marching Band was inducted into the LMHOF, the songwriting tandem of former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long and former Tiger Marching Band director Castro Carazo were also brought into the hall as the first members of the LMHOF’s new songwriters’ wing.
Long and Carazo collaborated on several songs, most notably “Every Man a King” and “Touchdown for LSU.” Other compositions by the two include “Darling of LSU,” “LSU Cadets March” and “Miss Vandy: Dedicated to the Coeds of Vanderbilt University.”
Shepherd noted that the Vanderbilt connection was purely coincidental to the Tiger Marching Band’s selection of the LSU-Vanderbilt game Sept. 12 for a halftime musical salute to LMHOF and to be publicly inducted by the hall.
“What better way to open up this new wing of the hall of fame than with two of the most notable songwriters in Louisiana music history?” Shepherd asked. “The experience of seeing Tiger Marching Band and the atmosphere of LSU athletic events would not be what they are today without their songs filling the air on game days.”
During the Sept. 11 press conference, Kay Long and Nina Carazo Snapp — granddaughters of Long and Carazo, respectively — accepted the award and expressed their gratitude for the hall recognizing their grandfathers’ musical contributions.
“I’m quite honored to accept this award on behalf of my grandfather,” Snapp said. “Tiger Marching Band is known and respected all over, and Mr. (Frank) Wickes is carrying on that tradition of this fine band.”
Long said her grandfather “would be thrilled” to be honored by the LMHOF for his songwriting contributions to LSU.
“Nothing would thrill him more than to be able to walk out there again,” she said. “I’m sure he’s here in this room today and he’ll be on the field with the band. He was so thrilled with LSU and this proud tradition, and he was proud to be a part of that. He never really was recognized for his songwriting when he was alive, so this is a great honor.”
Long said that her grandfather literally recruited Carazo off the bandstand at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blue Room in New Orleans, telling him, “You are now the band leader at LSU, come with me, we’re returning to LSU.”
Carazo also said that her grandfather’s relationship with “The Kingfish” had a special chemistry.
“Huey would call him up at all hours of the night, once saying ‘Get your pen and paper, I’ve got this new song.’ Huey then whistled “Touchdown for LSU” over the phone,” she said.
In 1937, two years after Long’s assassination, Carazo also wrote the music to “Fight for LSU,” the official fight song of the university, with lyrics provided by W.G. “Hickey” Higganbotham.
After his six years as LSU’s bandmaster from 1934-1940, Carazo continued to write music in a wide array of styles: light classic, traditional march, jazz and Cuban/Latin dance. He achieved success with “Bonita,” a Latin-themed song with words by Sam Lewis, a prolific Broadway and popular music lyricist. He also wrote “National Guard March,” officially adopted by the U.S. National Guard; “R.O.T.C. Cadets March,” and in 1952 his song “Louisiana My Home Sweet Home” was adopted as the official state march song.
“The only thing that kept Long and Carazo from generating more material was Huey’s untimely assassination in 1935,” Shepherd said. “Who knows what else those two would have come up with had Huey survived? He understood how music can inspire and drive an idea, and his anthem ‘Every Man a King’ was written with Carazo in 1934 as a possible presidential campaign theme song. It’s not hard to see that he provided a model for future Gov. Jimmie Davis to use his legendary ‘You Are My Sunshine’ as a potent campaign tool over a decade later. Davis is already honored as an LHMOF member.”
Shepherd added that Long and Carazo were responsible for transforming the LSU Tiger Marching Band from a military band to a show band with its own style, and as such provided the basis for all of the achievements that would follow.
“We have always planned to honor songwriters, stage performers, studio musicians and regional artists whose achievements deserve special recognition,” Shepherd said. “Bringing in Huey and Castro at the same time we honor the LSU Tiger Marching Band gives us the perfect opportunity to inaugurate our songwriter induction program.”
The LMHOF operates under the auspices of the certified nonprofit La Musique de Louisianne, Inc. LMHOF plans to induct many additional music hit makers and pioneers associated with the state’s rich and diverse music legacy, and to provide special recognition to many more regional favorites and to luminaries in songwriting and performance. Currently offering a “virtual museum” through its Web site, the group also envisions continuing and expanding its educational and promotional activities while seeking support to obtain brick and mortar facilities to advance its mission.
For more information on the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, contact LMHOF Executive Advisory Board Member Del Moon at 678-549-4444 or LMHOF Executive Director Mike Shepherd at 225-937-1298 or visit the LMHOF Web site at www.LMHOF.org. The organization also maintains pages and video links on social networking Web sites Facebook and MySpace, as well as on YouTube.
Aaron Looney | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations