Fans also witness presentation of first-ever Honda Power of Dreams Award to TSU honoree with on-field surprise: a 2015 Honda CR-V
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –Returning for a sixth time, the Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University marched into the Georgia Dome in Atlanta January 25 and performed their high-energy showcase that has made the band famous at home and across the country.
The AOB performed in front of nearly 60,000 fans in the dome along with seven other bands from Historically Black Colleges and Universities from across the country during the 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands that showcased the talents and musical showmanship of more than 2,100 student musicians.
According to Dr. Robert Elliot, chair of the Music Department, the students had an opportunity to see what excellence meant in a real-world setting.
“The Honda Battle of the Bands is a class act in every way,” said Elliott. The planning was excellent, while the execution was even better, and everyone involved is treated with respect. It was an honor to be a part of this event.”
The AOB was one of eight of bands selected out of 38 bands competing for an opportunity to travel to Atlanta through a fierce online voting process. In addition to voting, students, alumni and fans of each HBCU took to social media to help their favorite marching bands advance. The band not only scored big with fans during their performance, but also with Honda, which provided each school with a $20,000 grant to support music education, plus travel to and accommodations in Atlanta for the Invitational Showcase.
“The Honda Cooperation is the only major company in the United States to make this type of significant contribution and support to HBCU bands and instrumental music education,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting band director. “It was indeed an honor to be selected as one of the top eight HBCU bands in the country, and as a show of support for the selection to attend, our students put on an awesome performance.”
This was the sixth appearance for the Aristocrat of Bands at the Honda Battle of the Bands, having performed in 2003, 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2014. According to McDonald, the support of Tennessee State University student body, alumni, administration, faculty, staff and Fans was truly “breathe taking.”
“To be selected for the fourth time in five years under my leadership is confirmation that we are moving the band program here at Tennessee State University to elite status,” he added.
The showcase provided another first for schools and fans attending the event. This year, Honda awarded the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award, meant to honor an individual who has helped HBCU culture thrive—by helping students achieve their dreams through positive support, guidance and leadership within the institution or community.
This year, the inaugural award went to Audrey Stradford, who works as a financial aid assistant at the University, for her lifelong dedication to serving HBCU students and the Tennessee State University community. The surprising moment came when Honda presented her a new 2015 Honda CRV.
“I was floored and didn’t know what to make of it,” said ‘Miss Audrey,’ as she is known around campus. “I’ve always been one to work behind the scenes. I’ve been a giver my whole life and it was hard for me to be on the receiving end. The new car was just the icing on the cake.”
The showcase, dubbed this year as “The Power of Dreams,” was intended to serves as a reminder to students and fans that life on and off the field is a journey, and no matter the challenge, the dream or what may lie ahead, “learning never stops as long as you commit to ‘march on.’”
“Honda congratulates the bands that participated in this year’s Invitational Showcase, and thanks all of the schools, students, alumni and fans who joined us to celebrate these amazing student musicians,” said Stephan Morikawa, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda is proud that the Invitational Showcase truly helped students realize what Honda calls The Power of Dreams.”
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About Tennessee State University
With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.