Tag Archives: Aristocrat of Bands

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

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.

 

High achieving sophomore seeks to help others obtain success, excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When she was in high school, Amiya Ingram motivated her peers to be successful. Come graduation time, she wanted to find a higher education institution that would do the same, and Tennessee State University won her heart.

“I felt the family-oriented environment as soon as I came to tour TSU,” says Ingram, now a sophomore. “I knew it was the place for me.”

Amiya Ingram

A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Ingram fully embraces TSU’s tagline: “Excellence Is Our Habit.” The mechanical engineering major has a 3.3 grade point average, and she’s also a member of the Aristocrat of Bands’ Royal Elegance Flag Corp. Her freshman year at TSU, Ingram was selected to be a member of the Ron McNair Scholars Program, as well as the Blue Scholars Entrepreneurship program.

She says what she likes most about TSU is the care and concern she receives from administrators and faculty. Despite their busy schedules, they make time to listen to students, to mentor them.

“I have a good relationship with my dean,” says Ingram, who is a former president of the TSU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. “You get to have one-on-one relationships with people that are usually hard to get to.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, says there’s more to students’ “education than in the classroom and laboratory.”

“We hope to develop a more complete TSU graduate, one that possesses leadership skills, has a global consciousness and awareness, and technical competence,” says Hargrove. “Ms. Ingram demonstrates that educational journey as an engineering student, and we believe she reflects the mission of Tennessee State University … to Think-Work-Serve!”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of the famed Aristocrat of Bands, agrees with Hargrove, which is why he sends his students a motivational quote each morning.

“I want them to know that I am like them in that I had a lot of professors/teachers who took interest in me as a person,” says McDonald.

Ingram says she appreciates McDonald’s attentiveness.

“He treats us like we’re his kids,” she says. “He keeps my head up, keeps me going.”

Ingram says such attention by Hargrove, McDonald and others at TSU motivates her even more to do what she can to assist fellow students, like helping them find internships.

“I’ve had a few internships,” says Ingram, who will be traveling to New York City this summer to intern at Bank of America in global information systems technology.

“I like to help people find internships that match them, or research opportunities. I also try to act as an encourager for people.”

Ingram says she also enjoys community activities similar to the prom dress drive she initiated her senior year in high school.

“We basically got everyone to bring in their old prom dresses, and we gave them back to the community,” says Ingram, adding that such events also serve as a recruitment tool by “creating a personal relationship with individuals who are thinking about attending Tennessee State University.”

Ingram is among a new recruit of high achievers the university is targeting to attract the best and brightest students, since TSU raised its admission standards about two years ago. Minimum requirements for incoming freshmen went up from a 2.25 GPA to 2.5, while the ACT score remained at 19.

Ingram says she loves the changes TSU is making, such as recent groundbreakings that include construction of two new residence halls and a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building.

She says she constantly boasts about the university because she wants prospective high school graduates to experience the “excellence” that she now does.

“Tennessee State University has been a stepping stone to success,” says Ingram. “I brought my hard-work mentality to the university and they provided the opportunity, and for that I say thank you.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

To read 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.

 

 

 

Legendary Music Producer and TSU Faculty Reflects on Memories with ‘Queen of Soul’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – On the morning of August 16, 2018, Sanchez Harley reached for his cell phone to send a comforting text message to his dear friend who was gravely ill with pancreatic cancer.

“I’m praying for you. I will always love and appreciate you,” he wrote.

Harley, a Tennessee State University Alum and legendary music producer, did not know that the 18-time Grammy Award-winning Icon Aretha Franklin would not live to respond to his message. She would die that same morning.

“The only way to describe her is she was a one and only, and there will never be another. She taught me a lot,” he said.

This fall, Harley has returned to TSU as an adjunct professor in the Department of Music to teach students some of the valuable lessons he learned from the “Queen of Soul” and other wisdom he has accumulated during his journey in the music business.

Aretha Franklin with Sanchez harley and Jerry Parries, former president of the Tehillah Music Group. (Photo submitted)

“I was working on a duet with her and Karen Clark-Sheard, and I was trying to get them tight on a particular line, and she said to me, ‘Sanchez, perfect is not perfect.’ And I thought about that and taking it to the next level. Taking it to the next level means that you discover what feel is,” he said. “The definition of feel is the amount of imperfection. It’s the imperfection in something that creates the feel, because if it’s perfect, it doesn’t feel good… You really arrive as a producer when you figure out what of and how much of the bad you need to include in something for it to be good.”

Although he entered TSU on a music scholarship as a bass clarinetist and performed with the instrument in the symphonic band, Harley also played saxophone in the TSU jazz band and in the Aristocrat of Bands. He said that during his career he has worked in several capacities, including arranger, producer and coordinator of live events.

Harley credits Tennessee State for playing a major role in preparing him to work with music greats like Shirley Caesar, George Clinton, Rufus, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Kirk Franklin, The Temptations and Patti Austin.

“While at TSU I started arranging music for the marching band under Dr. Greer,” he said. “A lot of those experiences, just getting up and standing in front of the band over in the music building, prepared me to stand in front of musicians on Music Row.”

He said some of the most important traits a music producer must have are a great ear, objectivity and the ability to recognize a great song.

“I told my class in our last meeting, you can take a great song and a poor artist and a poor performance, and win most of the time. But you can take a great artist with a great performance and a poor song and almost never win. It’s all about the song,” he said.

Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music, said Harley has visited the department as a guest speaker prior to this semester, but wanted to do more for his alma mater.

Sanchez Harley with Aretha Franklin and his late mother, Sarah Harley, at Franklin’s annual revival in Detroit in 2010. (Photo submitted)

“He wants to give back to his university, and his university definitely wants him here with us. The students have just plugged in to him in a big way,” Elliot said. “He’s got this history of having worked with performers and doing production in the studio. Too often the thing that is left out of all that instruction is how to get the best performance out of an artist. Well, he’s done that for decades, and he is bringing those skills in to teach our students how to do the same thing.”

Harley said the course he is teaching this fall, Introduction to Music Production, is a course Elliot gave him the freedom to design.

“I find that many young producers have a misconception about what production is. They don’t really understand all of the things that are involved administratively. It’s more than administrative; it’s technical. It’s psychological—being able to get the best performances from your people. It’s accounting. It’s organization. It’s tact. It’s so many things,” he said. “I designed an Introduction to Music Production course to give individuals who are inspiring to produce some background of all of those things.”

Elliot said the university is proud to have Harley as part of its faculty.

“We say that ‘Excellence Is Our Habit’, and this is just one more bit of proof of just how much that excellence has been the habit at TSU for over 100 years, and it is going forward.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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.

TSU celebrates history-making Homecoming with new constructions, record fundraising and parade attendance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This year’s Homecoming at Tennessee State University involved a bit of history-making, in addition to the excitement.

The Tigers’ trouncing of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (41-14) in the football game at Nissan Stadium on Saturday was just the icing on the cake. Add that to the much-anticipated parade along Jefferson Street that brought out thousands, and groundbreaking ceremonies for four new buildings, as well as a scholarship gala the night before that raised a record amount to keep students in school.

President Glenda Glover waves to the crowd along the 2018 Homecoming parade route. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Scholarship Gala is the university’s single largest fundraising event. Organizers said when all the tabulation is completed, they expect this year’s proceeds to top last year’s $1.3 million intake.

No doubt, TSU President Glenda Glover called this year’s Homecoming one of the most exciting in school history.

“We are on record pace here,” Glover said to a packed room of cheering fans at the President’s Homecoming Reception at Nissan Stadium, just before the football game.

“We broke ground for four new buildings this week, including two new residence halls that will

The world-renowned TSU Aristocrat of Bands participates in the Homecoming parade. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

help us to recruit more quality students. We are just very excited.”

The new structures include two new residence halls, a Health Sciences Building and an Alumni Welcome Center. The new dorms will be the first to be built at the university in 23 years, and the Health Sciences Building will be the first state-funded building to be constructed on the campus in 15 years.

Glover also touted the record number of participants in the 2018 Homecoming parade.

“We had 140 entrants in this year’s parade, that’s the largest ever. It is really good to see the Nashville community come out in such numbers to support TSU,” she said.

Mr. TSU and Miss TSU and their Court wave to the cheering crowd from atop their Homecoming float in the 2018 parade along Jefferson Street. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At the reception, Glover recognized and congratulated several individuals, including Special Presidential Honoree James Shaw, Jr., the “Waffle House Hero”; the parade grand marshals, and the Homecoming honorees. She also recognized and thanked TSU alums Amos and Brenda Otis for their “generous contribution” of $1million toward the construction of the new Alumni Welcome Center.

She paid special tribute to the family of injured TSU football player Christion Abercrombie for their courage. The family, including Abercrombie’s aunt, Shawn Neason, and uncle Kevin Richardson – sporting the player’s No. 6 jersey – later joined President Glover for the coin toss at the start of the game. Also present at the reception was Abercrombie’s other uncle, Obie Mitchell, and Chris Wyckoff, a family friend.

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with senior administration and Foundation Board members, receive a check for $1 million from TSU alums Amos and Brenda Otis toward the construction of an Alumni Welcome Center on campus. Picture from left are: President Glover, Amos Otis, Brenda Otis, Dwaye Tucker, Foundation Board chair; Dr. Lesia Crunpton-Young, VP for Research and Institutional Advancement; Joni McReynolds, President of the TSU National Alumni Association; Cassandra Griggs, Alumni Affairs director; and Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Glover said, excitement about homecoming was widespread and rekindled a lot of memories.  Nathan Andrews was all smiles as he stood in front of what is now Humphries Hall and pointed to the parking lot on the other side – soon to be the home of the Alumni Welcome Center.

“That was a baseball field, where we passed the time in the evening,” said Andrews, of Nashville, who came to TSU in 1959. “And where I am standing was a little beer joint. We couldn’t go to many places so some of us would sneak around here.”

Injured TSU football player Christion Abercrombie’s family member accompany President Glover for the coin toss at the start of the Homecoming game at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Andrews said although he is not active as he should be, he watches the parade every year if his health allows, and sits at his favorite spot – “across from the baseball field.”

Colette Combs, of Miami, Florida, a 1976 TSU graduate, looks forward to always coming back to where she called her beginning.

“Homecoming is filled with exciting moments of rekindling and renewing old friendships,” said Combs, who this year celebrated her 45th anniversary as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “This is a time when we celebrate and reminisce on precious memories formulated here at Tennessee State University.”

A group of TSU alums, attending the Homecoming parade, celebrated their 45th anniversary as members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Several members of the class are not in the picture. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

From Oct. 14-20, Homecoming events included the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest, a gospel concert, the Mr. TSU and Miss TSU coronation, the Homecoming Concert, the Alumni Whiteout Party, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, the President’s Legacy Society Luncheon, and the Breakfast of Champions, among others.

Also this year, the university launched the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Symposium in honor of the late TSU alum and pioneering heart surgeon. The Watkins family, who attended the inaugural symposium, received rousing applause from the audience and President Glover for contributing $500,000 to establish the Levi Watkins, Jr. Endowed Scholarship at TSU.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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.