Jacksonville State University’s famed Marching Southerners are the 2022 recipient of the Sudler Trophy presented by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation, according to a university press release.
Since 1982, the Sudler Trophy has been presented every two years to a college fanfare and is considered the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football.
According to the release, it rewards college bands of particular excellence who have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life; demonstrated the highest musical standards, the most innovative routines and walking ideas; and have made significant contributions to the advancement of performance standards for college bands.
JSU, with an enrollment of 9,540 enrolled in fall 2021, is the smallest university to receive this honor.
âThe announcement that we will be receiving the coveted Sudler Trophy 2022 completely humiliates me,â said Dr Kenneth G. Bodiford, JSU Groups Director. âIn addition to the current members and staff, this award is the culmination of all the hard work and dedication of past members and directors since the founding of the Southerners and Marching Ballerinas in 1956. It is truly an honor to share this accomplishment with all of our fanfare and our college family. ”
Bob Buckner, retired conductor at Western Carolina University – now the second smallest university to receive the trophy – said the honor is long overdue.
âEver since I first attended a JSU Marching Southerners performance in the late 1970s, I’ve been a fan,â Buckner said. âTheir strong tradition, musicality and irresistible sound have thrilled countless students and audiences across the South East.
âReceiving the Sudler Trophy is a tremendous tribute to any collegiate group and is an honor that places them among a very distinguished list of previous award winners,â he said. “Nothing is more American than a great marching band, and no marching band that I know of is more accomplished or deserving than the Marching Southerners.”
The members of the Sousa Foundation’s board of directors will present the trophy to the group at half-time during a JSU football match next fall. For more information on the Marching Southerners, visit www.marchingsoutherners.org.