Tag Archives: Dr. Reginald McDonald

TSU Band Members, Music Education Majors Entertain 114 Children to Celebrate Week of the Young Child

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 100 area kids came to Tennessee State University’s main campus on Monday in observance of the national Week of the Young Child, April 16-20.

The event, which is usually in April, is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and celebrates early learning, young children, their teachers and families.

At TSU, the children, ranging between ages 3-5 from North Head Start in Nashville, listened to nursery rhymes and children songs like “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” performed by members of the Aristocrat of Bands and music education majors.

About 25 TSU students interacted with the children and demonstrated musical instruments like the clarinet, the French horn, trombone, and trumpets in the band room at the Performing Arts Center.

According to Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of Bands, the kids also participated in a demonstration of percussion instruments and saw clips of the TSU marching band.

“The joy on the kids’ faces showed that they were very happy with how they spent their time,” said McDonald.

He said the goal of the invitation and the interaction with the kids was to let the community know that “TSU’s music and band programs” are accessible.

“I believe that we should be accessible because there are others in the community who genuinely benefit from our accessibility. You never know, some of these kids might be here in a few years as members of the band just because of this experience today,” McDonald said.

He said the visit also allowed “our music education majors to get ‘live hands-on’ experience teaching general music.”

Throughout the week, Nashville community partners, departments and agencies will be making “fun” presentations to students at various schools and sites.

On Sunday, the city kicked off the week’s events at the Nashville Zoo, with Bouncy houses, table activities for the children, and of course, the “wonder of nature and animals to explore.”

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, 25 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.

Unflagging commitment: Tennessee State University student pursues dreams through Aristocrat of Bands

Courtesy: The Tennessean

During her first two years in the Tennessee State University band, Deprea Crane lived off campus — on the other side of Nashville — a two-hour city bus ride away.

She couldn’t afford otherwise.

Deprea Crane (Tennessean Photo)

So on the mornings of flag corp pre-drills, she would get up at 3 a.m. to catch a pair of buses from beyond the airport to school.

And after late-night practice, she would again endure the long bus ride that would put her home around 1 a.m.

But she never missed a rehearsal. And she never fretted the sleeplessness.

Band, to her, is one of the best things in life.

“I just love doing it,” Crane gushes, her caramel-colored eyes brightening. “I love performing.”

On Saturday, Jan. 27, Crane and TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands performed in one of the most prestigious events of the year as part of the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta.

‘Exciting and humbling’

The annual live showcase was created to celebrate and support the excellence of college marching bands at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

On Jan. 27 Crane took part in the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational. (Tennessean Photo)

“The Honda Battle of the Bands is basically a showcase to allow people to see the top eight black college bands in the country,” says Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s band director. “There’s no placement in regards to first, second or third. By being selected you’ve won.”

Each year, eight bands are selected from across the country to perform. The high-stepping, drum-thundering theatrics and music become a show-stopping event for thousands of spectators.

At one point during its performance, the Aristocrat of Bands spelled out “OPRAH” — who received a degree in Mass Communication from TSU and has provided scholarships for students at her alma mater.

“Everyone in the building, please give it up for Tennessee State University alum Miss Oprah Winfrey,” the announcer said over the band. “O, are you running for president in 2020?”

Being chosen for the Honda Battle of the Bands means rigorous practice schedules that must be juggled with class and homework demands.

But the reward, for many of the marching Aristocrats, goes beyond the field on which they play.

Every school participating in the Honda Battle of the Bands receives a $20,000 grant. At TSU, which will mark its eighth appearance at the event, that money goes to further support its music education program.

“Several kids in the band are currently here at TSU because of that commitment,” says McDonald. “It’s refreshing and exciting and humbling to me as a band director.”

For Crane, it’s personal.

Making music a visual experience 

Crane is paying her own way through college.

A Nashville native, the business information systems major is a member of the Honors College. She holds a 3.6 grade point average and has made the dean’s list each semester.

She will graduate this spring, a year early.

And every bit of her schooling has been funded through state and school scholarships.

That includes support from the Battle of the Bands grant. In fact, this year she is able to live on campus because of that aid.

But her schedule is still grueling.

Last semester she had three night classes. This semester she has more. That means taking a shuttle to TSU’s downtown campus and then hopping back on that same bus to the main campus — and then sprinting to band practice.

When she rushes in just after 7 p.m., her book bag slung over her shoulder, she’s already missed an hour. She quickly has to catch up on changes in choreography, learning new moves and new positioning.

But as she swings the silver pole of her big blue flag, artfully weaving it behind her back and tossing it in circles above her head, she doesn’t stress. She smiles.

This is her happy place.

And the whips and ripples from the blue cloth she flings are her favorite type of band accompaniment.

“We show visually what the music is saying,” she says. “In a band, you have to be very attuned with what you hear, but for us, we are able to show it.”

The White House, Atlanta and more

These students get a lot to show for it.

In 2016, the band performed on the White House lawn at a reception honoring the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were there that day, as were music icon Quincy Jones, former basketball star Kobe Bryant and actor Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few.

“Being a part of this band has opened up so many avenues for me,” Crane says. “And has opened up my eyes to so many things.

“We went to the White House. That’s not something you can just say that you did because you went to college. That’s an experience because you were a part of a prestigious unit, a band.

“We all do this together, we all work hard together, that way we can all benefit together.”

It’s all about unity

And every appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands means performing with the top programs among HBCU bands in America.

“Any time you have something of that caliber it brings out your best,” McDonald says.

For Crane, the showcase — which is more like a talent show than a competition — is about unity.

“You get to connect with other people that enjoy something as much as you do,” she says. “To come to college and choose to do band, you have to have a lot of dedication and really love something like this to be a part of it.

“To find people who are like-minded, that is absolutely wonderful.”

And worth every bus ride.

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, 25 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 Aristocrat of Bands to Compete at 2018 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Cheers and congratulations to the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands!

The award-winning, nationally and internationally recognized marching band is on its way to yet another Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

The band was one of eight selected from among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities after a fierce online voting process.

An overall winner will be selected Saturday, Jan. 27, when the final eight bands take the field in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

TSU President Glenda Glover, accompanied by administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and friends of TSU, will be in attendance to cheer on the Aristocrat of Bands.

They will compete against the Marching Maroon & White Band of Alabama A&M University, the Mighty Marching Hornets of Alabama State University, the Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman UniversityHampton University’s The Marching Force, and the Purple Marching Machine of Miles College. The others are the Blue & Gold Marching Machine of North Carolina A&T State University, and the Marching Storm of Prairie View A&M University.

This will be the eighth appearance for the Aristocrat of Bands at the Honda Battle of the Bands, having performed in 2003, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Our students are extremely excited to be a part of this, and a tremendous opportunity for all eight HBCU bands,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of Bands. “We are very proud of our students who are also matriculating in great academic standing, with more than 40 percent of band members making the Dean’s List and 80 percent matriculating toward the pursuit of their degree. We are thankful to Honda, the only corporation in America that has made this type of investment in the art form of HBCU bands.”

Tickets to the Honda Battle of the Bands are available for purchase now on the official website. The participating eight HBCUs will receive a $20,000 grant each from Honda to support their music education programs, plus travel to and accommodations in Atlanta for the Invitational Showcase.

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, 25 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.