St. Augustine High School recently announced that its music center will be named in honor of Edwin Harrell Hampton, legendary bandmaster, founder of the Marching 100 and dedicated St. Augustine employee of fifty-seven years. The Edwin Harrell Hampton Music Center dedication represents a historic milestone for the Marching 100, and for St. Augustine, a school with a 65-year legacy of excellence in music education.
“Mr. Hampton’s emphasis on excellence and discipline is at the heart of St. Augustine High School and the music program he envisioned and was instrumental in building,” said Justin Augustine, St. Augustine High School Board Chairman and student of Hampton. “For more than five decades, Mr. Hampton encouraged young African American musicians to have pride and integrity in everything, and through his leadership, the band achieved national recognition,” Augustine added.
Under Mr. Hampton’s influence, the school’s music program embraced both classical and contemporary training, added military discipline, provided students with practical hands-on experience, presented concerts, and was the first African-American band to desegregate New Orleans Mardi Gras parades. During his tenure, the renowned Marching 100, became a fixture in parades, serving as cultural ambassadors for the City of New Orleans.
“My father was a dedicated and devoted band director, with a special ability to connect with students — encouraging them to be the best they could be, both in the band and as individuals. He always told his students to put their best foot forward, he meant on the marching field as well as in life,” said Tamara Hingle, Edwin Hampton’s daughter. “St. Aug was my father’s mission in life, he would’ve been humbled and honored to have the music center named for him.”
The naming echoes the impact Mr. Hampton has had on the growth and development of St. Augustine High School’s Marching 100, which he established in 1960, nine years after the school opened.
“The center reflects the tremendous loyalty former students have for the music program and the universal admiration and respect Mr. Hampton has among those who learned from him,” said Oyd Craddock, St. Augustine High School President and CEO.
A further tribute to Mr. Hampton is the $500,000 renovation planned for the 5,000 square foot music center. It will update the existing rehearsal/lecture hall, practice rooms, and offices, and add studios equipped for sound engineering and music production.