Conrad Hutchinson III turned out to be a perfect fit for Inglewood HighSchool.
The principal who’d hired him as the band director in 1977 liked the “show-style” performances that incorporated high knee lifts, pop music and dance moves. And Hutchinson knew the style well thanks to his father, Conrad Hutchinson, Jr., a longtime band director and campus legend at Grambling State University in Louisiana.
Over the course of nearly four decades at Inglewood High, the younger Hutchinson would make his mark leading the school’s celebrated concert, jazz and marching bands and serving as a mentor to countless students in beginning to advanced band classes.
And that’s why school leaders decided to affix his name on the side of the two-story Fine Arts Building at the edge of campus – now officially known as the Conrad Hutchinson Center.
The switch was made official Wednesday at a ceremony in the George Green Auditorium featuring performances by Inglewood High’s JROTC Color Guard and marching band and a collection of speeches from school and district leaders and alumni. One of them came from Hutchinson’s son, Conrad IV, who like his sister also once played in the IHS band.
“It’s a pleasure for me to do what I’m doing,” he told the crowd, “because let’s face it, what are you going to do at home?”
Music has been important to Hutchinson for most of his life. The son of Grambling’s longtime band director, Hutchinson grew up on the college campus sharing his late father’s passion for music and the school’s renowned Tiger Marching Band. He is a 1967 graduate of Grambling, where the Performing Arts Center now bears his father’s name.
Inglewood High Principal Kevin Brown wanted to do something similar for his school’s band director.
“When I was named principal of Inglewood High School, I immediately wanted to recognize and celebrate Conrad Hutchinson’s achievements and commitment to our school and District,” Brown said. “What better way than to have the Fine Arts Building named after him. He’s done so much for not only Inglewood High School but the entire community.”
State Trustee Don Brann told the crowd Wednesday that Hutchinson “epitomizes the very best of Inglewood Unified School District.”
Former student Kenneth Egans is a shining example. A 1984 IHS graduate and past member of the school’s marching, jazz and concert bands, Egans is a practicing attorney whose time with Hutchinson prepared him for life beyond the walls of Inglewood High School.
“The lessons he taught weren’t just music lessons,” Egans said, “They were life lessons.”
To see a video of Principal Kevin Brown’s opening remarks on Wednesday, link to: http://bit.ly/1mScLVE