Mr. O’ Neill Sanford is the President of the HBCU National Band Directors’ Consortium, founder of the HBCU “Battle Fest” Battle of the Bands, and served as the Director of Bands at Norfolk State University from 1997 to 2011. Since becoming a music educator in 1965, he has held the following positions: Director of Bands, Sevier High School, Ferriday, LA; Marching Band Arranger and Trombone Instructor, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS; Band Director, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA; Symphonic and Marching Band Director, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN; and Director of Bands, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Sanford’s works for the marching band, jazz ensemble and concert band are performed throughout the United States and Europe. The St. Paul Civic Orchestra commissioned his work for orchestra and choir, Lift Every Voice. He wrote The Bicentennial Fanfare for the University of Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial; Pitts is It! – a spirit song; The Chancellors March and his 1991 composition, “The President’s March”, which was performed by the United States Navy Band, and is currently being performed throughout the United States.
Roderick Little is currently serving as Marching Band Director at Jackson State University. He received his Bachelors and Masters in Music Education from Jackson State University. A native of Jackson MS, he graduated from Lanier High School. Upon graduating from high school, he went on to J.S.U. where he participated in the University Bands, including the famous “Sonic Boom of the South.” He also performed in the University’s Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure in the Sonic Boom he played in the percussion section as a snare drummer, served as a part of the Jackson five drummajor squad, a student arranger and he also served as a student conductor of the Symphonic Band. After receiving his undergraduate degree from J.S.U., he went to his alma mater, Lanier High School, where he served as Director of Bands for four years.
A native of Miami, Florida, Lowell Hollinger earned two degrees from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi: the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and the Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance. He also earned the Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Currently, he is in the final stages of completing his Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is A.B.D. (all but dissertation). Mr. Hollinger studied clarinet with Dr. Justin O’Dell assistant professor of clarinet at Michigan State University; the former principal clarinetist of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Jim Moritsugu; Dr. Michael Magruder, Interim Chair, Professor of Music, and Director of Bands at Winston-Salem State University; and Jerry Simas of the New World Symphony Orchestra.
Mrs. Ashley- Crowley, a certified Zumba Fitness Instructor, is currently completing a Master of Arts degree in Dance Education from New York University, New York, NY. She received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Economics from Jackson State University in 2009. Ms. Ashley performed with the Prancing J-Settes from 2005-2008. She served as captain in 2008.
Courtney Lett, Band Administrative Assistant of the Sonic Boom of the South Band and Advisor of Tau Beta Sigma at JSU, was born in Moss Point, MS where she was a eager and determined musician and student to come to Jackson State University to continue her academics and also join the famous band the Sonic Boom of the South. Ms. Lett entered Jackson State University in 2005, joined the band as a clarinetist, and later became section leader in fall 2009 and spring 2009. She graduated from Jackson State University in Spring 2010 with a B.S degree in Biology Pre Nursing. After graduation she wanted to come back to her alma mater and work with the band and was granted access in the Fall of 2011 to become the advisor of Tau Beta Sigma and the band’s lovely clerical assistance.
Ramon L. Jackson serves in the capacity of Administrative Assistant/ Adjunct Professor of the Jackson State University Department of Music. Ramon Jackson has a diverse record of work as an educator with several schools in Jackson, Mississippi and other surrounding areas. Those schools include: North Jackson Elementary School, Byram Middle School, Jim Hill High School and presently Jackson State University where he serves as an adjunct professor of music. His educational philosophy is each and every child has the potential to bring something unique and special to the world when educators help the students to develop their full potential. Then as educators, we will have fulfilled a vision that the philosophers of the Tangelwood Symposium believed could be achieved. Creating a world where people learn to respect, accept, and embrace the differences between us, as the core of what makes life so fascinating.Currently, Ramon is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Instrumental Pedagogy, and is expected to be candidate for commencement in the Fall of 2018.