Tag Archives: Aristocrat of Bands

AOB Preps for Primetime (video)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Courtesy of WKRN Channel 2) – The Tennessee State University band is taking their show on the road to be part of a nationally televised game.

The 221-member group known as the Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) will perform during halftime of the Rams-49ers matchup Thursday night in St. Louis.

“We love what we do,” said Head Drum Major Semaj Wansley. “The crowd, they come for a good show, and we give it to ’em.”

The band was already scheduled to be in St Louis for Saturday’s Gateway Football Classic between TSU and Central State University (CSU), when they were given the go-ahead for the NFL gig by a TSU alumnus who works for the Rams organization.

As an Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) marching band, the high-steppers put on a show like no other.

“Doing a halftime show for us is a 40- or 50-minute aerobic exercise, and so we have to first make sure everybody’s in good shape and things of that nature,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, Director of Bands at TSU.

“Cardio,” added Rocile Cain. “Cardio really helps and once it’s time to perform the adrenaline kicks in. So that helps, too.”

(video courtesy of NewsChannel5)

Cain is captain of the Sophisticated Ladies, the dance team that accompanies the instrumental ensemble.

The AOB spent weeks practicing for not only the halftime show, but also two other routines for Gateway Classic events.

“It’s somewhat difficult, but it’s all keeping everything in your head focused,” Wansley said.

“(It’s all about) going over everything more than once, and just making sure we have it and it’s perfected,” said Cain.

The AOB has a history of high-profile performances since its inception in 1946. The group performed during the Presidential Inauguration of Former President Bill Clinton in 1993. In recent years, they have performed at several home games of the Tennessee Titans.

Dr. McDonald told Nashville’s News 2 the band tailors every performance for the specific audience.

While the group marched for News 2 cameras Tuesday morning, the full performance scheduled for Thursday night is top secret until showtime.

“We want to kind of keep some things as a surprise, but we do promise to entertain a national audience,” McDonald said. “And we promise to entertain the people in the St. Louis area that have never seen a band like our band before.”

The AOB is scheduled to leave campus en route to St. Louis Thursday morning.

Thursday night’s game will be televised on the NFL Network.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Aristocrat of Bands to Perform During Thursday Night NFL Game

The Aristocrat of Bands perform last year during halftime of one of the home football games at Hale Stadium. The Band has been invited to perform a halftime show during the nationally televised game Sept. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
The Aristocrat of Bands perform last year during halftime of one of the home football games at Hale Stadium. The Band has been invited to perform a halftime show during the nationally televised game Sept. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

TSU takes the field Sept. 26 during 49ers-Rams game

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – They have marched in presidential inauguration parades and thrilled audiences across the country with their showmanship and musical versatility. They have played halftime shows for the NFL in front of thousands of fans from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and in their hometown of Nashville, Tenn.

Now the Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University can add St. Louis to the list of venues played when they march into the Edward Jones Dome Thursday, Sept. 26 and take the field at halftime during the nationally televised game between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams.

“This is a real honor,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting director of Bands. “There are a lot of college bands in the country and only a very few ever get the chance to play in this type of venue. We are excited to perform in a different market and let the Midwest know what TSU is all about.”

The opportunity to play during halftime, according to McDonald, came about because the band will be in St. Louis for the Gateway Classic football game later that week, and he was looking for another venue to play and help spread the TSU name.

While reading the newspaper, he noticed that the Rams were playing a Thursday night game on the NFL Network and jumped on the opportunity to make it happen. The staff contacted the senior director of communications for the team, who just happens to be a TSU alumnus.

“We contacted Artis Twyman who has been with the Rams since 2003 and approached him with the idea,” explained McDonald. “He let us know within two days that we would be performing a six-minute show.”

As soon as Twyman was contacted, he knew it was something he had to make happen. Always looking for new talent, he approached team executives and showed them a YouTube video of a recent performance by the band, and the executives were hooked.

“Everybody thought it was a great idea and excited about the University performing in front of 62,000 fans,” said Twyman. “Not that many people in the St. Louis area have seen a show band like the Aristocrat of Bands. I am excited not only about showcasing them here in front of our fans, but also to a national audience.”

While the students and staff are excited about appearing in primetime and performing in front of a national audience, it won’t come easy and will take a lot of hard work. The freshman band members arrive the beginning of August, with upperclassmen arriving Aug. 18. The band will have two weeks to prepare for the first home game, the John Merritt Classic, on Sept. 1, and then devote practice time to the four performances they have scheduled in St. Louis over a tree-day period.

“We will have 12 days to put together the NFL halftime program, the pep rally for the Gateway Classic and parade, then a separate halftime show for the classic,” added McDonald. “All the performances will be different, and will surprise and thrill the crowds. It will be exciting for everybody.”

The Aristocrat of Bands have been performing NFL halftime shows in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans since the team relocated to the state, playing at one or two home games each season. As ambassadors of the University, the performance in St. Louis, according to McDonald, will enable the band to spread their recruiting reach to the Midwest, especially since many may have not been exposed to the high-energy performance styles of an HBCU marching band.

“This is the first time we have been to the area and people will get to see the showmanship that is the Aristocrat of Bands,” said McDonald. “This is an opportunity for us to recruit in a different area, perform in a different part of the country that we usually don’t get to, and show that TSU is the best marching and performing band in the country.”

The Aristocrat of Bands will perform during halftime, Thursday, Sept. 26. The game between the 49ers and Rams will be televised on the NFL Network beginning at 7:25 p.m. CDT. They will also perform during halftime of the Gateway Classic, Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 2 p.m. also at the Edward Jones Dome.

Since its inception in 1946, and subsequently becoming a show band under the administration of second TSU President Dr. Walter S. Davis, the Aristocrat of Bands has been featured at many international and national events, including half-time shows at several NFL games, Bowl games and Classics, and Presidential Inauguration – the latest that of Bill Clinton in 1993.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu