Jarvis Christian University welcomes new interim band director

Jarvis Christian University has announced that former Grambling State University music department chair and director of bands Dr. Larry J. Pannell is the unive
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 2:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - Jarvis Christian University has announced that former Grambling State University music department chair and director of bands Dr. Larry J. Pannell is the university’s new interim band director for the 2022-2023 academic year.

“Dr. Larry Pannell is a legendary, iconic band director, who brings a wealth of experience and energy,” said Dr. Lester C. Newman. “We are excited that he has joined the JCU family and we look forward to the positive impact that he will have on our students.”

According to a press release, Pannell wore many hats as music department chair in his 26-years of leading the World Famed Grambling Marching Tiger Band. He hired and oversaw eight assistants who worked with the university’s concert band, symphonic band, jazz band, pep band and showband.

He was a band director and music instructor in Bakersfield and in Los Angeles, California; and in Shreveport, Louisiana, before returning to his alma mater in 1992 as an assistant professor and assistant band director. Dr. Pannell has directly trained more than 5,000 student members of the band.

Under his leadership, the band performed for five U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W.H. Bush, George Bush and Barack Obama. The band performed at the Presidential Inauguration of the 43rd President George W. Bush and at both Presidential Inauguration parades of 44th President Barack Obama. The band also performed for former President Bill Clinton at the Grambling State University May 23, 1999 Graduation Ceremonies.

The band was featured in Denzel Washington’s movie, “The Great Debaters,” as well as in the 20th Century Fox movie “Drumline.” A performance honoring the music of Motown during the 1998 Super Bowl XXXII in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, led to a recording contract for an album featuring the band performing hits made by Motown artists. His band performed more than 300 national performances and many abroad.

His contributions have helped connect the students and the university with an impressive list of America’s largest brands including Apple, EA Sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL) and dozens more.

Pannell says his music career began in 1963 when he joined the 7th grade band to play the clarinet at Linear (pronounced Lin-EER) Junior High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. The 1969 graduate enrolled at Grambling College graduated in 1973 from Grambling with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental Music Education. Two years later in 1975, he earned a master’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Louisiana Tech University.

He officially became Dr. Larry J. Pannell when he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. While a student at Grambling, Pannell met the love of his life, the former Mary Lou Anderson, to whom he was married to for 34 years.

After retiring from Grambling State University, Dr. Pannell has been a music consultant for Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida; and Albion College in Albion, Michigan.

Pannell is driven by his favorite scripture — Luke 12:48 which reads, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”