Jackson State performed alongside Usher during Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII halftime show

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Jackson State University’s Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band had a remarkable opportunity to perform alongside eight-time Grammy-winning artist Usher during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as the “Summa Cum Laude of Bands,” the Sonic Boom showcased their talent on a national stage, making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Dr. Roderick Little, the director of bands at JSU, expressed his excitement about the band’s participation, describing it as surreal and monumental. He emphasized the pride he felt in providing such an extraordinary opportunity for the band students and achieving strategic goals for the band program.

The band’s appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show was made possible through a recommendation from JSU alum Cortez Bryant to Jesse Collins, the executive producer of the halftime show. Bryant, also a Sonic Boom alum and Co-CEO of Blueprint Group/Maverick, highlighted Jackson State’s Sonic Boom as the best band in the land, ensuring their selection for the prestigious event.

President Marcus L. Thompson, Ph.D., praised the students’ performance with Usher, emphasizing their precision and musicality. He underscored the significance of showcasing JSU’s campus culture and student experience on a national stage, reaffirming the institution’s reputation as a global research institution.

Following their Super Bowl performance, the Sonic Boom of the South and the Prancing J-Settes have been invited to participate in the 136th Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Honda on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2025, in Pasadena, California. To support the band’s participation in this historic event, JSU has launched “Thee Road to Roses” fundraising campaign with a goal of $800,000.

The Rose Parade is a cherished New Year’s Day tradition, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees and followed by the Rose Bowl, one of college football’s oldest and most celebrated contests. By donating to the campaign, supporters, friends, fans, and alumni can contribute to the Sonic Boom’s legacy and bolster the rich history of Jackson State University and HBCU marching band culture.

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