A near capacity crowd rocked the Georgia Dome at the 14th annual Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) Invitational Showcase. Eight top marching bands from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) delivered a dynamic performance on a national stage, streamed online live, earning grants and positive attention for their respective institutions.The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands returned for their seventh appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands, having previously performed in 2003, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. In just three days, the band put together a phenomenal all-new show that saluted the history of hip-hop. See their entire performance online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=G35lXQdzuXo.
“The seventh appearance of the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands at the HONDA Battle of Bands was another proud moment in the legacy of this great band program,” TSU band director Dr. Reginald A. McDonald told the PRIDE. “As Ambassadors of our illustrious college we take very seriously the opportunities to display the EXCELLENCE of Tennessee State University. I am honored to walk in the shoes of the distinguished educators who have served as Director of Bands… J.T. Gray (1917-1919), Harold Brown (1923-1926), Clarence Wilson (1926-1930), Jesse D. Hayes (1937-1943), Jordan “Chick” Chavis (1946-1951), Frank T. Greer (1951-1972… The Father of the ‘Aristocrats’), Dr. Clifford Watkins (1972-1979) and Edward L. Graves (1979-2014).”
The Invitational Showcase included dynamic mixes of music new and old, and dance choreography on a whole new level, as breathtakingly intricate formations defined the 2016 performances. In addition to a mass band featuring nearly 2,100 student musicians, all eight drumlines performed to close the show.
The 2016 lineup consisted of: Alabama A&M University, Marching Maroon & White (Southwestern Athletic Conference); Alcorn State University, Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite (Southwestern Athletic Conference); Bethune Cookman University, Marching Wildcats (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference); Jackson State University, Sonic Boom of the South (Southeastern Athletic Conference); Lincoln University (PA), Orange Crush Roaring Lions (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association); Prairie View A&M University, Marching Storm (Southwest Athletic Conference); South Carolina State University, Marching “101” (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference); and Tennessee State University, Aristocrat of Bands (Ohio Valley Conference). In addition to a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music education programs, each participating HBCU received travel and accommodations to the Invitational Showcase in Atlanta.
After the event, a reception was held for TSU band alumni as part of a campaign to support the purchasing of much needed band uniforms. The Aristocrats are in need of 350 new uniforms at a cost of $600 each.
“The new uniforms will keep the traditional look of the current uniforms with one exception,” Dr. McDonald told the PRIDE. “The color will return to the school color – reflex blue. The traditional ‘Tenn State’ will remain on the chest.” Contributions are tax deductible, and checks/money orders may be sent made out to: TSU Foundation/Marching Band.
Payments may also be made online by visiting tnstate.edu/foundation/give.aspx or by phone to the TSU Foundation at 963-5481.