DHS graduate represents in Southern University band

DeRon Talley, EDITOR
Sophomore cymbals player Jonafer Mills performs at the halftime show for the annual Bayou Classic football game between Southern University and Grambling State.

Music drives the hearts of many, but few are given the chance to be part of the world renowned “Human Jukebox.” Donaldsonville High School graduate, Jonafer Mills said it’s a humbling experience to be featured on national TV and be part of the Southern University band, “The Human Jukebox.”

Last weekend, Mills, who plays the cymbals, was part of the 39th Annual Bayou Classic between rivals Southern and Grambling State University in New Orleans. This rivalry isn’t just between the football teams, nor is the game the biggest attraction. It’s all about the bands. There is a battle of the bands competition the night before the game and this year Mills and the rest of the “Human Jukebox” won the title. Mills described the evening to be “crazy.”

“Everybody was hype and the energy was there,” Mills said, who double majors in Music Education and Political Science.

“It was nice to have the family feeling and at the same time the spirit of competition that drives everybody to do better. It was a beautiful thing.”

According to Mills, being part of one of the most popular bands in the land is a good feeling and playing on national TV isn’t something he allows to get in the way of his blessing.

“You can’t let things get to your head so you become arrogant and too self-centered,” Mills said after the game’s halftime show. “It’s a humbling experience and I just thank God I’m allowed to be here right now.”

LaTrent White, a former DHS band member,said he remembers when Mills first started out in the band. He said Mills was new to the music at first but progressed to become a great leader.

“He has good word and can tell (DHS band) what to do to get them in,” White said, who is the assistant band director at DHS. “He’ll send more talent. He’ll come down here and tell (DHS band) what to do and go back up and let (Southern band) know what’s up.”

In Donaldsonville, Mills said he’s looked at as a role model and he is trying to recruit DHS band members to the Southern band. He said he was kind of reluctant to the title, but he feels it’s his responsibility to bring up as many people as he can from his hometown.

“It’s real humbling and it makes you reconsider your prospective,” he said. “It makes you think about your priority and to make sure you are on top of your game so you can make sure someone else has the tools they need to make it in their future.”