The Tennessee State University nationally and internationally recognized marching band is on its way to yet another Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.
The band was one of eight selected from among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities after a fierce online voting process. In addition to voting, students, alumni and fans of each HBCU took to social media to help their favorite marching bands advance to the 13th annual Battle of the Band showcase in Atlanta.
Feedback from band directors, HBCU school presidents and representatives from American Honda were also considered in the selection process.
An overall winner will be selected when the final eight bands take the Georgia Dome by storm on Jan. 24, 2015, to showcase their “incredible” musical talent and “electrifying” showmanship in front of a packed crowd.
The other bands making the final eight along with the Aristocrat of Bands are the Mighty Marching Hornets of Alabama State University, the Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University, Howard University’s Showtime Marching Band, making their first Honda Battle of the Bands appearance, and the Sonic Boom of the South from Jackson State University.
Also selected are North Carolina A&T University’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine, the Human Jukebox from Southern University, and the Marching Tornado of Talladega College.
This will be the sixth appearance for the Aristocrat of Bands at the Honda Battle of the Bands, having performed in 2003, 2004, 2011, and 2012 and 2014.
“It is gratifying that this will be the fourth time in five years for us to be chosen under my leadership,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting band director. “Although we were selected by people voting online based on what they have seen and heard from our halftime shows, we look and sound great.”
According to a Honda release, this year’s theme, “March On,” is intended to serves as a reminder to students and fans that life on and off the field is a journey, and no matter the challenge, the dream or what may lie ahead, “learning never stops as long as you commit to ‘March On.’”
“Honda congratulates the eight bands selected to participate in the Invitational Showcase and thanks all of the schools, students, alumni and fans that participated in the process leading to Atlanta,” said Stephan Morikawa, assistant vice president, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda is committed to supporting education at HBCUs by investing in their programs and providing a platform aimed at helping students realize what Honda calls The Power of Dreams.”
The 2015 Invitational Showcase will feature the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award. Participating teams and fans will have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding member of their community who is working to help students achieve their dreams. Honda will then select a winner who will be recognized in Atlanta at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.
Tickets to the Honda Battle of the Bands are available for purchase now on the official website, starting at just $10. The participating eight HBCUs will receive a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music education programs, plus travel to and accommodations in Atlanta for the Invitational Showcase.
In another development, the Aristocrat of Bands has, for the second time, been invited to perform at the Bands of America Grand National Championship in Indianapolis in November.
According to McDonald, TSU will be the only HBCU to play twice in the Bands of America Grand Nationals, considered the nation’s premier marching band event.
“It is unique that these top high schools at the competition will get to see our band perform. We see this opportunity as a recruitment tool for both the band and the University,” added McDonald, who put the graduation rate among band members at more than 75 percent.
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.