Meet Nikole Roebuck, MD. She is Grambling State University’s first female Band Director and Chair of the Department of Music.
She handles the operations of Grambling State University’s World-Famous Tiger Marching Band, which was recognized globally in April 2019 after performing for Beyoncé and Adidas.
“We are excited to have one of our home-grown innovators lead during this historic time,” President Rick Gallot said when she was appointed in 2019. “Dr Roebuck is one of our most dedicated and humble leaders and a proven gift to our students, community, and all who support the world-famed sound of Grambling.”
The university band was founded in 1926, and until Roebuck’s appointment, no woman had served as director of the band. In addition to becoming Grambling State University’s first band director, she became the third woman band director in the history of historically black colleges and universities, joining Tomisha Brock of Clark Atlanta University and Dr Kerry Anne Simon of Mississippi Valley State University, who were appointed in 2017 and May 2019, respectively, according to Knoe.
Furthermore, her selection gave her the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s second female band director in its history, according to the platform.
Roebuck told NBC Sports that being named the first female Band Director in an industry dominated by men was a “surreal” experience for her. She expressed hope that her nomination will pave the path for more women who resemble her.
“Because it was a male-dominated position, I knew one day it would happen I just didn’t know when,” Roebuck said. “I worked hard and dreamed big. I still have to pinch myself and say ‘is this real?’ I encourage women to never give up on their dreams. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you because a position is typically dominated by a man. Women can do it too.”
According to NBC Sports, Roebuck played clarinet in the band at GSU and performed at every Bayou Classic while she was a student. She went on to earn a master’s degree in music from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and a Doctor of Philosophy in music from the University of Memphis.