HBCU Arranger Carnell Knighten Dies

Photo courtesy of www.scsu101band.com

Carnell Knighten, longtime assistant band director at Southern University (SU), died Wednesday, Jan. 25, after collapsing in a hallway in the school’s music department.

The news came as a shock to the Historically Black College and University marching band community, which had started to gather for their flagship event, the Honda Battle of the Bands.

Knighten, 60 years old, worked as director of technology and director of the woodwind symphony at SU as well as an arranger and composer for SU’s and for South Carolina State University’s (SCSU) marching bands.

“He was a tremendous musician, excellent arranger, and he’s done so much for our band in these two years he was here,” says Eddie Ellis, director of bands at SCSU. “My condolences go out to his wife  and his daughter and his two grandkids.”

Knighten would have been traveling with the SCSU band, which is one of eight bands performing for the 10th anniversary of Honda Battle of the Bands, taking place at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on Sat., Jan. 28.

A well-known arranger, composer and clinician, Knighten held a bachelors in a music and a masters in journalism from SU. He worked as an arranger at Morgan State University and as a high school band director at Southern University Laboratory School, before returning to his alma mater as assistant band director in 1988. Knighten was also a life member and former district governor of Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Band Fraternity.

Halftime Magazine would like to express our condolence to the friends and family of Carnell Knighten and the band families at SU and SCSU.

About the author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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