Creation of something great, Interview with Harold Haughton


Harold J. Haughton is the founder of the best band in the CIAA: The Trojan Explosion. Due to the current state of the pandemic Haughton was not able to meet face to face, so the interview took place on Zoom.

For those that know their history, they should know that the band at VSU has had three different names until settling with the most recent one. The first name was the Marching 110, then the Sounds Of Distinction, and last but not least, The Trojan Explosion.

Coming from Jackson State University with his assistant arranger, Haughton had a dream to have the best band in the land, but his plans were a lot harder than thought out.

What made you leave Jackson State to come to Virginia State?

In 1984 , I was offered a job to be a band director at VSU and there were some things going on at Jackson that I didn’t agree with. When I came to VSU the band had started with only 14 people. I told those students to come back with someone they know who plays an instrument, or don’t come back. After that the band grew from 14 to 60 and from 60 to 120. It was a hard transition from the huge band I led at Jackson, but it was a magical time trying to grow the band back.

What made you change the name from The Sounds Of Distinction to The Trojan Explosion?

After being at Jackson and hearing that they had a booming sound which was the reason for the name Sonic Boom. I looked at VSU and heard the explosive sound that this small, but yet strong band produced and collided with the mighty mascot Trojan. This name fit perfectly for this band and it stuck for many years.

Being at VSU did you learn anything from your students that you still carry with you today? What did you enjoy most about teaching them?

I learned a lot from these students. It was a lovely time I spent with them and meeting very talented musicians like your parents. Your father was one of the most exceptional trumpet players and bandsmen I have met. I’m also happy to see that the ones I taught years ago have the chance to march in the same school and uniforms they did.