Grambling State University and the community of Grambling are honoring legendary band director Conrad Hutchinson by declaring October “Conrad Hutchinson Month.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the university and community kicked off the month’s inaugural event series, which will lead up to a celebration of the 100th birthday of Hutchinson with a press conference and art unveiling in the band room, as well as a fundraiser launch.
Proceeds from the “I Am Conrad” fundraiser will help support the Tiger Marching Band as a part of the annual Bring It Home campaign.
“Professor Hutchinson helped build the best HBCU Band of all time and greatly influenced my own education,” GSU President Rick Gallot said in a press release. “He will forever be celebrated as a history-making innovator, educator, and musician who shaped a critical part of African-American culture and the American marching band legacy.”
Hutchinson became Grambling’s band director in 1952, a position he held for more than 37 years. During his reign as band director, he transformed Grambling’s band into the force that the world-renowned Tiger Marching Band is known for today.
Under Hutchinson, the Tiger Marching Band accomplished many firsts.
In 1967, the band performed at the Super Bowl’s inaugural game in Los Angeles, California.
Grambling’s performance has been named “One of the Top 10 Super Bowl Halftimes Shows” by Sports Illustrated.
In 1972, the band performed at Monrovia, Liberia, at the inauguration of Liberian President William R. Tolbert.
In 1981, the band was featured in an award-winning Coca-Cola television commercial.
Under Hutchinson, the band was invited to perform at four United States presidential inaugurations.
Hutchinson, affectionately known as “Hutch”, was a graduate of Tuskegee University with a degree in music education who first taught band at Mobile County High School in Mobile, Ala.
He later served as band director for seven years at Lincoln Grant High School in Covington, Ky., before his trailblazing and pioneering career at GSU.
Celebration for Hutchinson have already occurred and will continue later this month with tributes at half-time at the GSU vs. Alabama A&M game and the GSU vs. Texas Southern on Oct. 2 and Nov. 2, respectively.
On Oct. 25, Hutchinson’s 100th birthday, the university and community will celebrate the inaugural Conrad Hutchinson Day with a pep rally and outdoor performance in front of the Favrot Student Union.
There will also be a gospel celebration at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling, La., and a jazz celebration in the Performing Arts Center. Students, alumni and faculty members of Grambling State University have expressed their approving opinions on Conrad Hutchinson Month.
“Conrad Hutchinson is one of the many legendary figures on this campus,” said Ainsley Reece, a senior computer information system major from Shreveport, La.
“The World Famed has many characteristics that can never be matched, and he has left his mark for sure. So, it’s only fitting to dedicate a month to him.”