Aristocrat of Bands represents TSU Family in Houston

Members of the TSU Aristocrat of Bands in Houston at the AKA Presidential Installation. (photo courtesy James ‘Dean’ Sexton)

Tennessee State University Family is real. When the college’s President was installed this month as the International President of her sorority, the college’s marching band made the trip to support her. The TSU Aristocrat of Bands traveled to Houston, Texas to show Houston and the world who the real TSU Band is, and that the real TSU Family stands with its own.

While the entire regular school season marching band now numbers around 250 members and rolls in five or six buses to games and events, during the summer, 70 select members were available for the trip and took two buses from Wise Coaches, paid for by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., to represent the support that the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends have for their beloved President.

Dr. Glenda Glover is the 8th President of Tennessee State University, having begun serving January 2, 2013. Dr. Glover has served as the 1st Vice- President of AKA and ascended to lead the organization as its 30th International President during the organization’s biennial convention In Houston to serve a four-year term through 2022. See more about Dr. Glover, AKA, and TSU elsewhere in this edition of the PRIDE.

Dr. Reginald A. McDonald, band director of the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands, gathered his staff and students, including all four drum majors (Hassan Moody, Julien Dooley, Cole Gilbert, and Xavier Ellis), three majorettes, and several dozen instrumentalists, and they left for Houston on Tuesday, July 17th.

“The Aristocrat of Bands was honored to have an opportunity to perform for the AKA’s Boule Inauguration Celebration for their new President and our President,” said Dr. Reginald A. McDonald, TSU’s Director of Bands. “This was another first for our unique history of being a band of ‘firsts’.”

Among the active band members on the trip were half a dozen of Dr. Glover’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters: Katelyn Miles, flag; Doris Morrow, flag; Olivia Watson, flag; Cynthia Henning, piccolo; LaToria Lane, piccolo; and Holland Ealy, clarinet.

“As a newly initiated Soror you want to attend anything and everything that has to do with the organization,” said Cynthing Henning, Aristocrat of Bands piccolo and Spring 2018 initiate of AKA. “To be able to participate in the way that I did was a true honor. Being surrounded and supported by my Sorors as we helped celebrate Dr. Glover was truly a gratifying experience.”

Arriving in the city, they visited Willowridge High School and interacted with the students there, inspiring them and fulfilling one aim of the trip, recruiting new members of the TSU Family. A public performance at Evolution Academy Charter School was an additional highlight of the trip.

On the official program of the sorority inauguration/installation, the band helped introduce Dr. Glover to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for the first time as their president. After an exhilarating and exhausting three days on the road, the band arrived safely back on the TSU campus early on July 20th.

See the full band in action during the John A. Merritt Classic in Nissan Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Their opponent is Bethune Cookman University, whose marching band is the best in the MEAC. You will really want to witness this incredible battle of two of the best marching bands in America!