The Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support and sacrifice of music parents and boosters around the world by shining a spotlight on an individual who exemplifies these qualities.
The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band
On Friday night during Grand Nationals the 2012 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to PJ Littleton, of Tennessee.
Eric Martin-President and CEO of Music for All, David McCullough-Director of Bands at Butler University, Webb Littleton, Casey Littleton, PJ Littleton, Susan Littleton, Cameron Gish- Director at Hillsboro M.S.
PJ Littleton is an active volunteer and arts supporter with the new band program at Hillsboro Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee.
As a youth, PJ Littleton represented his home state of West Virginia in the McDonalds’s All American Band, performed in the All-American Jazz Band, minored in music at West Virginia University, studied at the Berkley College of Music and worked in the music industry for over 10 years before moving to Franklin to raise a family.
In 2011 Hillsboro Middle School was the only middle school in Williamson County in Tennessee without an established band program- and the school that Mr. Littleton’s 6th grader would be attending. Mr. Littleton an avid supporter of music and music education attended every district roundtable discussion, every zoning meeting and every PTO meeting, fighting tirelessly for district support of a new band program.
When others said that the school’s small enrollment (275 middle school students) would not have enough interest for a band, Mr. Littleton pushed on with his belief that each student at Hillsboro deserved the right to perform in a band program similar to any other school in the county. After weeks of discussion the Board of Education agreed to hire a band director for Hillsboro. PJ Littleton is more than a proud parent and a dedicated band booster president. PJ Littleton is a true music advocate who saw a need for a music program and didn’t stop until the students of Hillsboro Middle School had access to music.
While administration was busy hiring new leadership for the school and building new classrooms for the influx of new students, a group of parents began meeting to discuss other academic, athletic, and arts-related needs of the group. This group of parents eventually formed a 501(c)(3) organization called Hillsboro Tomorrow, an organization that has funded over $300,000 in improvements to the school. PJ Littleton has been an active member of this organization since its conception, and worked with board members to allocate $45,000 of funds raised to support the new band program. Mr. Littleton was however responsible for finding the donors and business supporters to raise his requested amount of money.
“PJ has been a cornerstone of our band program, even before most knew we were going to have a band program. He has given of himself tirelessly with his time, his passion, and his resources. As someone who has worked alongside of him and has a child benefitting from his efforts, I can’t say enough wonderful things about PJ Littleton. We have worked together for the benefit of Hillsboro for nearly two year now, and the only complain I have heard him utter during this time is that he has not been able to do more” – Rhonda Kollenborn, President, Hillsboro Tomorrow.
Not only was PJ Littleton instrumental in making sure this school had a band program, but he was also instrumental in recruitment of band members. Even before the band director was hired, PJ was working with the community and creating a campaign “Catch the Dream, Build the Band,” that would spread awareness. The campaign was not only a tool for fundraising, but created a buzz about the band to incoming students.
Throughout the summer before the first year of the band Mr. Littleton raised over $35,000 in private donations that were used to purchase new chairs, stands, equipment ad a stock of school-owned instruments.
He not only gave of his time to fund raise but also gave of his time to help the new band director to prepare the new band room (a former storage room/ computer room) by spending hours painting and readying the room for use.
Throughout the 2011-2012 school year, Mr. Littleton served as the Band Booster President and continued to raise funds, help spread the accomplishments of the students to fellow parents and district administrators, volunteered at concerts and school events, attended PTO meetings, created band traditions, coordinated a year-end banquet, and even taught trumpet sectionals for the inaugural jazz band.
Thanks to PJ Littleton’s efforts, the new band program included nearly 60 students in its first year (20% of the student body). Enrollment soared to 90 students (30% of the student body) the next year. Mr. Littleton was there once again to help raise funds needed for new instruments to meet the increased enrollment.
PJ Littleton has no doubt been instrumental in raising much-needed funds for the new Hillsboro Middle School Band program, but his impact is much larger than that. “His impact reaches further than dollars and cents. His innovative ideas have transformed the way we think about band at Hillsboro School, and within our own county. I am constantly inspired by his selfless attitude, his contagious energy, his tireless pursuit of excellence, and is unmatched passion for public school music education. Through his efforts, we are becoming a comprehensive band program with a large stock of high-quality instruments, appropriate equipment, and an outstanding parent support system. But more importantly, he is helping to provide outstanding and memorable experiences for our students and their families, in a way that Hillsboro School has never achieved prior to this endeavor.” – Cameron Gish, Band Director, Hillsboro Middle School
Watch the Video of the Award Presentation