NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands was invited to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The famed band performed on the lawn of the White House on Friday, Sept. 23, a day before the museum was to open on the National Mall.
“We are extremely proud that our band and university are a part of this historic event with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in our nation¹s capital,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, who attended the event. “This is a proud moment for TSU as we continue to build
on our great legacy. TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands is the first HBCU band to perform for this administration at the White House.”
Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of University Bands, called the opportunity a “once in a lifetime chance.”
“A lot of people would never be able to say that they’ve had the opportunity to meet the President of the United States, let alone play on the White House lawn,” McDonald said. “This is tremendous.”
TSU has a number of items that will be part of opening exhibits at the museum, which has built a collection of about 40,000 artifacts. Several of the items are tied to legendary TSU Track and Field Coach Ed Temple, who died Thursday at the age of 89.
Glover said while the visit to the White House was exciting, it was also somewhat somber because of Temple’s death.
“This is a sad time as we mourn the loss of our beloved Coach Ed temple, who would have attended the event,” she said. “TSU has a number of sports-related items in the museum’s opening exhibits that are there because of the accomplishments of Temple at TSU
and the Olympics.”
Grant Winrow, TSU’s director of special projects, worked with Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for public relations and communications, to help the museum coordinate the display of the university items.
Winrow said the items, as well as the band’s performance, showcase TSU’s “excellence.”
“Now all the world can see what our great university has produced,” Winrow said.
Smithsonian officials estimate annual visits to the museum will average between four to five million people in its first few years.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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.