Tag Archives: Aristocrat of Bands

TSU Is all Roses; World-Renowned Aristocrat of Bands to Participate In 2021 Tournament of Roses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is going to the Tournament of Roses. The band recently received an official invitation to participate in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California.

The crowd applauds after the announcement that the TSU Aristocrat of Bands will participate in the 2021 Tournament of Roses in Pasedina, California. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The AOB will be one of only four university bands selected nationwide to participate in the parade, with a domestic television audience of more than 38 million.

“Only the best of the best are invited  and the Aristocrat of Bands is one of them,” said Dr. Robert B. Miller, president and chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, who came to TSU to personally present the band with the official tournament flag and invitation.

“It is a major accomplishment for the band, and for your university. This is a big deal,” he said. “In 132 years of the tournament, 107th  Rose Bowl this year, your band is going to be there. You are going to do entertainment like no other band in our parade does. Our parade has got 22 bands, 45 floats, the best floral and entertainment groups in the nation and TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands is going to be there.”

The Aristocrat of Bands entertains the crowd at the Gentry Center as the band celebrates words of their official invitation to the Rose Bowl Parade next year. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

At the flag presentation in the Gentry Center, amid thunderous cheers from university officials, relatives, former band members, and Mr. and Miss TSU and their royal court, Miller congratulated TSU, the AOB and band director, Dr. Reginald McDonald, for their hard work in submitting a successful application.

Miller, who was accompanied by his wife, Barbara,  also pinned TSU officials present with the official lapel pin of the Tournament of Roses, including Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, who represented TSU President Glenda Glover. Dr. McDonald was also honored in recognition of his leadership.

In acknowledgment, the AOB, known worldwide for their melodious musical renditions and marching prowess, performed such favorites as “I am so glad I go to TSU,” and “Best Band.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s Director of Bands, says participating in the Rose Bowl is a longtime dream. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)


“This is huge and I am just excited beyond measure,” said band member Julien Dooley, after hearing his first trip ever to California will be to perform in the Rose Bowl Parade. “The Tournament of Roses is very huge, and I am excited because I actually have never been to the west coast, and the thought of my first trip being to perform before such a huge audience has got me very emotional.”

Dooley, an Atlanta native and a drum major with the AOB, is a senior commercial music major.

 Fellow student Cailyn Sparks, a member of the AOB Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line, is equally excited. Her parents will be there to see their daughter perform.

“This is an opportunity of a life time and I am glad my mom and dad and maybe some other family members will be there,” said Sparks, a junior elementary education major from Phenix City, Alabama, who will also be going to California for the first time. “I am extremely excited about going to the Rose Bowl and excited to be there with my family.”

McDonald, TSU’s director of Bands, who could not hide his excitement about the announcement from the Tournament of Roses president and the reaction of the crowd in the Gentry Complex, called the invitation and the selection to the Rose Bowl Parade a “longtime dream.”

“If you know anything about parades in this country, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Parade are numbers one and two,” he said. “To have either one of those parades on your performance as a portfolio, says a lot about your band program.”

Four college bands are selected each year to participate in the Tournament of Roses –two that apply and two with football teams that play in the Rose Bowl.

“This year it will be Tennessee State University and Georgia State University. That is huge,” McDonald said. “It says a lot about our university, it says a lot about the things we are trying to teach on a year-to-year basis. We selected to apply to the Tournament of Roses because to be recognized as the best, you have to participate in those things that are challenging and hard and are also part of being the best. “

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of bands, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University, Nashville Predators kickoff ‘$1 Million in 1 Month’ campaign with ‘TSU Night’ at Bridgestone Arena

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands drumline and New Direction Gospel Choir headlined “TSU Night” at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The event kicked off a historic, long-term partnership between the university and the Nashville Predators to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships, and more.

TSU President Glenda Glover talks about campaign in interview before Predators’ game. (Submitted photo)

“This is an exciting night for TSU,” said TSU President Glenda Glover in a live broadcast before the Predators’ game against the Vegas Golden Knights. “This is a time to raise $1 million in one month for our students, our need-based students, our merit-based students. These are amazing students with promising careers, and we need to do our best to help them graduate and go on to make the best contributions to society.”

The choir performed the national anthem, and the drumline entertained Predators’ fans before the game and throughout it.

TSU New Direction Gospel Choir performs national anthem at Predators’s game Saturday night. (Submitted photo)

Fan Kenny Scribner said he saw the Aristocrat of Bands perform at football games and was looking forward to seeing the drumline. He also thinks the partnership between TSU and the Predators is a good idea.

“Anytime you help the students it’s a good deal,” Scribner said.

TSU and the Predators announced their partnership on Thursday. The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative.

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands drumlins performs outside Bridgestone Arena. (Submitted photo)

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

The university and the Predators will also work together on providing internships.

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said Thursday. “When you combine two great things – the education of the next generation with our passionate fan base, we know that strong goals seem to be more achievable, and that’s what we are hoping to do with this campaign.”

Nashville Predators promote ways to contribute to campaign. (Submitted photo)

Also Saturday night was the Big Blue Old School Concert hosted by TSU Student Affairs. Portions of the proceeds will go toward the fundraising campaign. 

A month of campaign activities includes the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU Colleges Challenge Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

#TSU1million1month, @TSU1million1month

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU recruits students at Battle of the Bands College Fair, Aristocrat of Bands makes record 9th appearance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recruiters got a chance to talk to some of the nation’s brightest high school students at the Honda Battle of the Bands College Fair in Atlanta on Saturday.

Numerous students stopped to talk to TSU officials who had a booth at the event that was attended by high school students from across the country. For TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, it was a record ninth time that the marching band has been invited to the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.  

Aristocrat of Bands performs for 9th time at Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. (Submitted photo)

“We are really glad for this recognition our band continues to receive with this record appearance,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “This is a huge recruitment tool for the university because typically at this event, not only do we have people who are extremely fond of HBCU bands, you also have high school kids from all across the nation that attend.”

This time, the band arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a newly donated, wrapped 53-foot trailer carrying the members’ equipment.

Named by The Undefeated recently as the Best HBCU Marching Band in America, the AOB joins only the Marching Storm of Prairie View A&M, and the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band for the most appearances at the Honda Invitational, the nation’s premier showcase for HBCU marching bands.

In addition to the new trailer, the Best Band ranking, and the Honda Invitational, the AOB enjoyed a stellar year of achievements and accolades last year, and is looking forward to even more in 2020.

In April, during the NFL Draft in the Music City, the AOB were featured on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take, and the band received a shout out from pop star Lizzo for the band’s rendition of her “Truth Hurts” medley. In January, percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Parade. They were also featured performers at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 home opener.

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University’s World-Renowned Marching Band to Perform at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ Home Opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands will be front and center Sept. 15 when the Atlanta Falcons take to the field in their season home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The marching band has been invited to perform at half-time of the Falcons-Eagles game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the second AOB NFL invitation this season. The band will also perform during the half-time show of the Tennessee Titans-San Francisco 49ers game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 6.

Just a day after performing at the Southern Heritage Classic, the Aristocrat of Bands will be in Atlanta to perform in the half-time show of the Falcons’ home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

For Atlanta native Julien Dooley, a drum major with the AOB, performing in his hometown, especially in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is special. He knows his family will be thrilled, but he plans on surprising them.

“I have not told anyone yet, but this is just so exciting,” said Dooley, a senior commercial music major and a graduate of Atlanta’s Southwest DeKalb High School, who also plays trombone for the AOB.

“I am a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons. It is very exciting that the AOB gets the opportunity to perform for the Falcons, which means I get to go back home, something I rarely get to do because of our busy band schedule.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, said he received the Falcons’ invitation last week, with a choice to perform at any one of their next three home games. The band performs at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis between TSU and Jackson State University on Saturday, the day before the Falcons game in Atlanta.

“Our preference was the Sunday after the Southern Heritage Classic. Needless to say, that’s going to be an extremely busy weekend for us again,” he said, noting the band’s back-to-back performances at the John Merritt Classic on Aug. 31 in Nashville, and the Battle of the Bands competition in Houston the following day.

“One thing we learned last week that even after the John Merritt Classic our kids did a great job. We got on the bus and drove 14 hours to Houston. The show in Houston was even better than the one we did Saturday night. So, we know that our kids are performers and they will rise to the occasion.”

McDonald, who previously performed for the Falcons as a high school band leader at Southwest DeKalb  (1999 playoffs – Falcons vs. 49ers) said going to Atlanta is also personal and special.

“That was a huge moment in my career as a young man, and to have that opportunity 20 years later as a college band director, is even more significant,” said McDonald. “This is a market where we get a lot of our band kids from. Majority are from Memphis and West Tennessee, the next largest group – 30 percent – of our kids come from the Atlanta area , and those connections that I have with band directors from Atlanta and the school system are tremendous.”

Sophomore Tiara Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, plays the French Horn in the AOB. She said the invitation to Atlanta gives band members the chance to play in another NFL arena away from home.

“I am really excited because normally (since she came to TSU) we only perform for our home NFL team – the Titans,” said Thomas, a member of the TSU Honors College, with a 3.9 grade point average. “So, to be invited to a whole other state to showcase our talent, that’s really big.”

The Aristocrat of Bands made global headlines last week when Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to the band. During the halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State at the John Merritt Classic, the AOB included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance the following day at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands Gets Shout Out from Pop Star Lizzo for ‘Truth Hurts’ Medley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University world famous marching band has done it again.

Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands.

The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands have performed at major events and places, including the White House for former President Barack Obama and and First Lay Michelle Obama. (Photo by John Cross)

During halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State on Aug. 31, the Aristocrat of Bands included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance Sunday at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

TSU sophomore Paula Rodriquez, also a Houston native, was elated to hear Lizzo call out her school.

“It feels great because I have a sister who went to Grambling and always bragging about Grambling having the best band, but I tell you AOB is doing great getting recognition from all over and now by Lizzo, it is just great,” said Rodriquez, a computer science major. “I am from Houston and Lizzo is also from Houston. It is great to be recognized so far away from home.”

Zack Glover, a junior mechanical engineering major from Atlanta, expressed the same sentiment about his school.

“Lizzo cosigning the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is a positive direction for the band,” Glover said. “It shows their hard work will be recognized by other hardworking artists, and through her, other stars who did not know about this great band will certainly know now.”

In a note to university administrators, Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, could not hide his excitement.

“Since our performance in Houston this past weekend, we have received a lot of positive social media buzz from the artist Lizzo for our rendition of her song ‘Truth Hurts,’” McDonald said. “I estimate that over 4.7 million people have seen her tribute to the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.”

A former marching band member and flutist herself, Lizzo tweeted overnight, giving props to TSU, specifically how they incorporated “Truth Hurts” in their medley performance at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston.

“Truth Hurts” has reached to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Lizzo is coming to Nashville on Sept. 30 for a stop on her “I Love You Too” tour at Ryman Auditorium.

The AOB is not new to national or international recognition. They have performed at the White House, at NFL games, and appeared at events and performed with many other big stars.

During the recent NFL Draft in Nashville, the AOB thrilled fans with a performance on ESPN’s “First Take.” Percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade. The AOB performed with country music legend Keith Urban, and performed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Catch the award-winning AOB performing this Saturday at the TSU vs MTSU game in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on Sept. 14 at the Southern Heritage Classic  in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Partners With Apple, Inc. to Offer Alums Free App Design and Development Course

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Technology giant Apple, Inc. has partnered with Tennessee State University to give minorities and underserved communities greater access to the field. TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences.

That expansion includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free. Computer Applications for Educational Leaders is being offered through the TSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies, and is accepting applications now.

The course supports the university’s mission to provide life-long learning opportunities to the TSU alumni.

“This course is the first of its kind to address an individual’s working and learning style where they can take the course on-ground, online, hybrid or at the Apple Store,” said Dr. Robbie K. Melton, Tennessee State University’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative.

Dr. Melton also says the curriculum is structured to provide onsite instruction for groups of 10 or more wherever they are located.

That scheduling flexibility is what attracted Dr. Jeffery Norfleet, associate dean of Academic Services at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. Jeffery Norfleet (Photo Submitted)

“I like to learn virtually because it just works with my time and my schedule,” said Norfleet, who received his undergraduate degree from TSU in Humanities in 2008 and his master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in educational technology in 2010.

“There are apps out their for everyone. Apps out there that will help you with your personal life, your professional life, and your spiritual journey,” he said. “We may not be coding experts as far as the ‘IT’ side is concerned, but from your basic line of work and employment, you can utilize this skill set to benefit the community in which you live.”

Norfleet, a Clarksville-native who served as saxophone section leader with the Aristocrat of Bands while at TSU, said he believes efforts like this one will strengthen the university’s relationship with its alumni.

Jeffery Norfleet marching with the Aristocrat of Band as an undergraduate student at Tennessee State University. (Photo Submitted)

“I think this will begin to open up doors where students can see that they may have walked away with one major or one type of master’s, but the resources that the school wants to pour back into them will give them the opportunity to continue to develop their professional skill set as well as their personal skill set,” he said.

“It also encourages them to give back to the university, because these opportunities don’t come free at most places. “

Sheron B. Doss, who secured a bachelors degree in Social Welfare from TSU in 1976, is proving you’re never too old to learn, and said courses like this one are important for seniors.

“At our age, we assume we are too old to learn, but why shouldn’t we learn now,” said Doss, who was recently accepted into the doctoral program for Administration Management in Pre-K and Higher Education at TSU.

Sheron B. Doss (Photo Submitted)

“We are living longer, and we have got to be there rather than depend on our children and grandchildren. It makes communicating and living so much easier.”

Melton said the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success. She said TSU employees as well as Tennessee high school students are also eligible to take the free course.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” she said. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over 200 people from high school to senior citizen centers wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

The push comes on the heels of the university’s July launch of HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create”, a national initiative supported by Apple, Inc., which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities.

“Apple is encouraging us to offer more academies because of the result from the academy this summer in which five of the apps that were designed are now being tested on campuses,” said Melton.

“We got a call from the Department of Labor because they received word from other constituents about the excitement, not just in Tennessee, but throughout all HBCUs regarding our transformation attitude regarding STEM careers,” she added.

Doss, who found out about the class during registration, said she took Melton’s Microcomputer Technology in Primary and Elementary Schools course in 2017. She encourages all alums to take advantage of the free learning opportunity.

“I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what level or what age, just start,” she said. “Just look at it, and I guarantee you that something in the course during the duration of the class will make you happy, will make you glad, and if you are like me, it will excite you.”

TSU hosted the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy July 14-19 through its newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations. Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country came away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum, which utilizes its popular Swift programming language.

For more information about enrolling in EDAD 6100: Computer Applications for Educational Leaders course, contact Deborah Chisom at dchisom@tnstate.edu or call (615) 963-7390.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Receives 11 Nominations For 2019 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the ninth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. 

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best HBCU Choir: New Direction Choir

Best Fine Arts Program: Department of Music

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Engineering

Best Business Program: Executive MBA Program

Alumna of the Year: Traci Otey Blunt

Female Coach of the Year: Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

Male Athlete of the Year: Christion Abercrombie

Male Student of the Year: Jailen Leavell

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

Last year, Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year.”

The year before that, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2019 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://bit.ly/31JbrRF

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands Thrills NFL Draft Watchers with Performance on ESPN’s ‘First Take’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Football fans across the nation who tuned into ESPN Friday morning to watch the NFL Draft in the Music City got a taste of the thrilling sound of the world-renowned Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.

The AOB, known worldwide for their melodious musical renditions and marching prowess, were the featured guest entertainers on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take, with popular hosts Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Will Cain.

Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN’s First Take, interacts with members of the TSU Aristocrat of Bands following the band’s performance on the popular sports talk show. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Diehard TSU fans, friends and supporters were among the hundreds who made up the studio audience at Nissan Stadium. Daryl Rice and Brad Strode were among them.

“This is a very big deal,” said Rice, a former Flying Tiger and a 2015 graduate of TSU. “I am Big Blue true and true. I am a big First Take fan and to be able to see my fellow alumni and our band on live television and on this huge stage is an amazing experience.”

Strode, a 2015 graduate who also ran track for the Tigers and a big Fist Take fan, did not know the AOB were performing at the show until he saw the group enter the stadium.

“I was just so excited to see my school’s marching band,” Rice said. “It is always a great feeling when you see your fellow Tennessee State students in the house. It is even more exciting to see that my HBCU is here on this big stage with outstanding representation. I am just very proud.”

Daryl Rice, left, and Brad Strode, two TSU graduates, were among hundreds who saw the Aristocrat of Bands perform on First Take, the popular ESPN sports talk show. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

To kick of the show, hosts Smith, Kellerman and Cain joined band members in their opening rendition of “I am so glad I go to TSU.” The band also entertained audience members during commercial breaks with such favorite songs as “Aristocrat Opener” and “Best Band.” 

Band Director, Dr. Reginald McDonald, said it is a “huge deal” anytime the university has an opportunity to be exposed to this type of audience, whether nationally or internationally. He is thankful to the university administration for the support.

“This goes beyond recruitment for the university,” said McDonald, who added that he had less than 36 hours to prepare the band for their appearance. “It was all made easy because of the support of (TSU) President (Glenda) Glover, who immediately gave us the greenlight. We realize this is an opportunity for the world to see TSU.”

Julien Dooley, the AOB drum major, said coming to TSU has just opened him to so many opportunities. He called his mom, sister and girlfriend and friends in his hometown of Atlanta to tune in.

“One thing that I really like about the AOB is that the opportunities are plentiful,” said Dooley, a rising senior majoring in commercial music, who McDonald recruited a day after his graduation from Southwest DeKalb High School in his native Atlanta. “Since coming here, I have seen nothing but benefits like from going to the White House (to perform for the Obamas), to a studio session with (Emmy winning) music Professor Larry Jenkins, to being handpicked to do the NFL Draft on national television. I think anything with the AOB name on it is purely amazing.”

Dooley’s fellow band member, Tiara Thomas, also a rising senior majoring in political science, said she watches First Take every morning, but actually appearing on the show “was extra special.”

“I am really excited for this experience because it is something I watch at home every morning,” she said. “It is big to have an HBCU. We work really hard to brand ourselves and to get opportunities and exposures like this for our university. I am just really excited.”

Band members, along with TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover, graced the NFL red carpet the day before as a part of opening Draft Day ceremonies.

“I am so proud that our students, as band members, are included in a once-in-lifetime experience in their own backyard like the NFL Draft,” said President Glover. ”Our inclusion in the NFL Draft experience from the Draftville promotional video to opening ceremonies, and now an appearance on a nationally syndicated sports show speaks to our institution’s importance and notoriety not just in Nashville, but also across the country.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Aristocrat of Bands rocks ‘Amazon Live’ event at the Ryman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands rocked the Ryman for the “Amazon Live” event on Feb. 7.

About 400 TSU students, along with individuals from other local colleges and universities, attended the event at the Ryman Auditorium Thursday night to learn more about Amazon and job opportunities it has to offer.

Some attendees used their iPhones to take photos or record the band, while others got out of their seats and moved to the beat of the band.

Larry Jenkins, assistant director of bands at TSU, said it’s always a joy to perform and see the audience’s response.

“It means a lot for the university, for the students,” said Jenkins. “To be called to do an event like this means a lot.”

Amazon announced in November that Nashville will be home to its Operations Center of Excellence, as well as the company’s headquarters for its logistics group. It’s expected to bring an estimated 5,000 jobs to the area.

Aristocrat of Bands performing at “Amazon Live” at the Ryman Auditorium. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students, lauded Amazon for creating a space to introduce their company and brand to college students, in particular.

“We’re really excited for them to have the opportunity to meet with some of the executives at Amazon, and to learn about the Amazon culture and brand,” Stevenson said before the event.

Braxton Simpson is the student representative on TSU’s Board of Trustees and the Amazon Prime student ambassador. She said she’s looking forward to the opportunities Amazon is offering.

“With Amazon coming to Nashville, bringing 5,000 jobs, that opens up a lot of opportunity for students, especially in this area,” said Simpson. “We want to prepare TSU students for that opportunity that’s coming our way.”

To learn more about the Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Percussionists from TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands perform in Rose Parade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Percussionists from Tennessee State University’s famed Aristocrat of Bands recently performed in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Submitted photo

Honda Corporation of America invited eight percussionists from last year’s Honda Battle of the Bands to perform in an all-star drum section for the annual parade on Jan. 1.

The percussionists are: Keyuna Bufford (senior), Jackson, Tennessee; Quintin Burton (senior), St. Louis; Delvecchio Christian (senior), Memphis; Richard Freeman (sophomore), Birmingham, Alabama; Floyd Ivy (sophomore), Memphis; Devin Pride (junior), Atlanta; Brian Watson (freshman), Nashville; and Evan Armstrong (sophomore), Nashville.

The students were guided by Derrick Greene, assistant band director who was head drum major for the Aristocrat of Bands in 2015-2016.

The band, one of TSU’s greatest ambassadors, made its eighth appearance in the Honda Battle of the Bands last year.

In 2014, the AOB became the first collegiate band ever to perform at halftime of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame game. The band and university made national headlines again in 2017 by accepting a special invitation from former President Barack Obama to perform on the White House Lawn.

And in 2018, the band performed with country music megastar Keith Urban during the singer’s tour stop at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

To learn more about the Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.