“Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to experience Eagle pride amplified by one of the most incredible bands of all time!”
How many times have we heard these words at N.C. Central University football games as the Sound Machine takes the field?
For seven years, the Sound Machine has marched to the downbeats of Jorim Reid, director of bands.
This year, the group will march to an additional voice of command — Samuel “Sam” Rowley, the new assistant director of bands at NCCU.
Although this is Rowley’s first collegiate job, it is not his first in the music profession. Before coming to NCCU, Rowley taught at Southwest Dekalb Middle School in Decatur, Ga.
“It is different working with more professional and semi-professional people,” Rowley said. “It is a new challenge for me. I love new challenges.”
His students said they appreciate the one-on-one practice time that having Rowley here affords.
“I’m glad he’s here,” said political science junior Torenzo Blair. “He allows the band time to focus on sound.”
“He is very knowledgeable and professional,” said Gregory Haskins, biology senior.
Reid hand-picked the Sound Machine’s first assistant band director in seven years.
“I found him, interviewed him, and recommended him,” said Reid.
Rowley grew up in Belle Glade, Fla. and graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in music education. He is working toward a doctorate degree at the University of Illinois.
“When you want something bad enough, you do what it takes,” said Rowley.
Rowley said a commercial with Louis Armstrong he saw when he was 5 years old inspired him to play the trumpet.
As an undergraduate, Rowley was president of the Delta Iota chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc.
He was the first African American to become the Southeast District president of Kappa Kappa Psi, receiving its highest honor, the J. Lee Burke Award.
He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Longineau Parsons and Kirk Franklin.
“I’d like to give [the band] a new flavor and a younger image,” he said.