Tag Archives: Honda Battle of the Bands

Former TSU Band Member Makes History, Shares Stage with Beyoncé at Coachella

The Coachella Valley Music Festival may have been thousands of miles away from Tennessee State University and Nashville, but that didn’t stop the influence of the Aristocrat of Bands and the cultural sounds of the HBCU band experience from taking center stage at the event on Saturday night.

When mega superstar Beyoncé took the stage, former Tennessee State University band member Michael Jones performed with her as she made history as the first African American woman to headline the musical event. Jones was a part of the band and drumline that provided music for Beyoncé, in what many are calling an iconic performance.

Jones, a Florida native, along with musicians from other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Tennessee State University, Florida A&M University, Alabama State University, Prairie View A&M University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University, Norfolk State University, Bethune-Cookman University, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, backed the Grammy Award-winning performer during her nearly two hour performance, which included a reunion performance with Destiny ‘s Child band mates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland.

TSU Alum Mike Jones plays sousaphone as a member of DRUMline Live, an international tour based on the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band tradition. Jones along with other members of DRUMline Live performed with Beyoncé at Coachella 2018 on Saturday. (submitted photo)

“This is tremendous exposure for our university and the other HBCUs that had band members perform with Ms. Knowles,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Our institutions have a rich history and legacy that many may not be familiar with, but a performance highlighting our cultural presence, with someone the stature of Beyoncé, creates an incredible buzz and interest. We are thankful for her knowledge of our contributions to the fabric of education and the scholarship program she has established specifically for HBCUs.”

The singer’s website issued the release to announce the four schools to receive the newly established Homecoming Scholars Award Program for the 2018-2019 academic year, through her BeyGOOD initiative. The universities include Xavier University, Wilberforce University, Tuskegee University and Bethune-Cookman College. One winner from each school will receive $25,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for the scholars program created by Ms. Knowles.

Beyoncé’s historic show was the first time the 36-year-old had performed on stage in over a year.  According to a press release on her website, the set was “a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance.”

Reginald McDonald, TSU associate professor of Music Education and director of Bands, said he was thrilled to see the HBCU band experience shared at Coachella and around the world.

“As an HBCU band director, it is thrilling and exciting to witness our performance style influence pop culture,” he said.  “The admiration and excitement for HBCU bands extend far beyond a football game halftime.”

He cited the TSU Aristocrat of Bands performance at the White House, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Honda Battle of the Bands and their 2016 performance with Cedric The Entertainer as examples of performances that still garner positive feedback.

Founded in 1999, Coachella is one of the largest, and most profitable music festivals in the world.  It features a mix of popular and established artists with emerging artists from genres of music including pop, rock, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music.

Jones looks to continue his musical odyssey with the iconic superstar as a member of the sousaphones section. A second Coachella performance is scheduled for this weekend.

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.

TSU Aristocrat of Bands Selected for the 2016 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is preparing to perform once again in the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. The band was recently selected in a competitive online voting process in which the nation’s top band contenders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities vied for a spot in the annual showcase.

M51A8459
TSU Aristocrat of Bands set for its seventh appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

TSU was among only eight HBCU bands making the final cut and will gather at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Jan. 30, 2016 to entertain thousands of students, alumni and other fans with their musical talents and showmanship.

Along with Tennessee State, the other bands selected included Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Jackson State University, Lincoln University (PA), Prairie View A&M University, and South Carolina State University. Each band will receive a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music education programs, and will receive paid travel and lodging accommodations to the Invitational Showcase.

“The Honda Battle of the Bands is an once-in-a-lifetime experience that helps HBCU student musicians showcase their talent and discover their greatness, both on- and off-the-field,” said Steve Morikawa, vice president of Corporate Community Relations, American Honda. “Honda is proud to have a longstanding relationship with America’s HBCUs, and is honored that many students consider this event a highlight of their collegiate experience.”

This will be the seventh appearance for the Aristocrat of Bands at the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase, having performed in 2003, 2004, 2011, and 2012, 2013, and 2015.

“Our Aristocrat of Bands students work extremely hard academically and as musicians, and we are proud that we have been selected to participate in the Honda Battle of the Bands for yet another year,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of University Bands. “We appreciate all of those who voted for us to be a part of this competition and look forward to presenting a show that lives up to the outstanding Aristocrat of Bands legacy of quality musicianship and energetic showmanship.”

Tickets to the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase are available for purchase now on the HBOB website, http://www.hondabattleofthebands.com/, and start at just $10.

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

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 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 celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Nearly 60,000 Fans Witness Aristocrat of Bands Performance at 2015 Honda Battle of the Band Invitational Showcase

Fans also witness presentation of first-ever Honda Power of Dreams Award to TSU honoree with on-field surprise: a 2015 Honda CR-V

 

 

The Aristocrat of Bands returned to Atlanta for a sixth time to participate in the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase January 25, performing in front of nearly 60,000 fans in the Georgia Dome.
The Aristocrat of Bands returned to Atlanta for a sixth time to participate in the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase January 25, performing in front of nearly 60,000 fans in the Georgia Dome.

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.

Audrey Stradford sits in her new 2015 Honda CR-V presented to her by American Honda Motor Co. Stratford was named the first-ever Honda Power of Dreams Award honoree for her lifelong dedication to serving HBCU students and the Tennessee State University community, and was awarded the vehicle at the 13th annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase on Jan. 24, 2015.
Audrey Stradford sits in her new 2015 Honda CR-V presented to her by American Honda Motor Co. Stratford was named the first-ever Honda Power of Dreams Award honoree for her lifelong dedication to serving HBCU students and the Tennessee State University community, and was awarded the vehicle at the 13th annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase on Jan. 24, 2015.

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.”

 

 

RELATED STORIES

Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands Selected for 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase

Honda Turns Spotlight on TSU “Dream Maker”

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

Honda Turns Spotlight on TSU “Dream Maker”

Audrey Stradford
Audrey Stradford

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For more years than some can remember, Audrey Stradford has been helping students realize their dreams of a college education. Known as “Miss Audrey” to many who have graced the halls of Tennessee State University, it is not uncommon to see her open her checkbook to help pay for a student’s textbook and tuition or buy them a hot meal.

It is because of this and many other acts of kindness and encouragement over the past three decades that Honda will recognize Stradford with the Power of Dreams Award during the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase later this month in Atlanta.

“I was shocked and actually thought someone was pulling my leg,” said Stradford, who works as a financial aid assistant at the University. “I’ve always been one to work behind the scenes. I’ve been a giver my whole life and it is hard for me to be on the receiving end.”

An iconic figure at TSU for more than 30 years, Stradford will be the first to receive the 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.

Michelle Allen, who wrote the nomination for the award, said Stradford is very deserving of the award and has made an impact on the lives of many a student over the years.

“’Miss Audrey’ has been very instrumental in the lives of students here on campus,” said Allen, TSU band office manager. “She helps them stay on track and stay focused on graduation. She has been a mother figure to many and does not do it for a reward, but out of the goodness of her heart.”

interview
“Miss Audrey,” as she is affectionally known as around campus, was recently interviewed for a spot that will air during the award presentation at the Honda Battle of the Bands Jan. 24 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (photos by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Stradford graduated from the University in 1966 with a degree in Sociology. She met her future husband at TSU and eventually moved to Detroit a few years later. But she always made sure to return for the annual Homecoming activities, missing only two over the years. However, it was her love for the school and the students that would keep her coming back a few times each year to volunteer in what ever capacity she could.

She has helped with everything from new student move in, homecoming activities, and encouraging students to remain in school and study hard, to eventually returning to Nashville 12 years ago and landing a job in the financial aid office.

Her main focus has been students over the decades and has reached out a helping hand to many who just needed a voice, a kind word of encouragement, or a motivational “kick in the pants” when they needed it.

According to Stradford, it is the joy of seeing “her” students graduate after sometimes struggling, that makes it all worth it for her.

“I have cried at many a graduation,” she said. “Sometimes I am the first one to receive a hug, even before their parents. The proudest moment for me is watching the students I’ve had an influence on walk across that stage and receive their diploma. And that gives me the greatest satisfaction and makes it all worth it.”

Stradford will receive formal recognition at the 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Jan. 24 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. She will be there to cheer on TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands as they compete against seven other marching bands from HBCUs around the country. This year’s theme is “March On,” to remind 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.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands Selected for 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational

AOB1NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Congratulations to the Aristocrat of Bands!

The Tennessee State University 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. In addition to voting, students, alumni and fans of each HBCU took to social media to help their favorite marching bands advance to the 13th annual Battle of the Band showcase in Atlanta.

Feedback from band directors, HBCU school presidents and representatives from American Honda were also considered in the selection process.

An overall winner will be selected when the final eight bands take the Georgia Dome by storm on Jan. 24, 2015, to showcase their “incredible” musical talent and “electrifying” showmanship in front of a packed crowd.

The other bands making the final eight along with the Aristocrat of Bands are the Mighty Marching Hornets of Alabama State University, the Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University, Howard University’s Showtime Marching Band, making their first Honda Battle of the Bands appearance, and the Sonic Boom of the South from Jackson State University.

Also selected are North Carolina A&T University’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine, the Human Jukebox from Southern University, and the Marching Tornado of Talladega College.

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

“It is gratifying that this will be the fourth time in five years for us to be chosen under my leadership,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting band director. “Although we were selected by people voting online based on what they have seen and heard from our halftime shows, we look and sound great.”

According to a Honda release, this year’s theme, “March On,” is 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 eight bands selected to participate in the Invitational Showcase and thanks all of the schools, students, alumni and fans that participated in the process leading to Atlanta,” said Stephan Morikawa, assistant vice president, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda is committed to supporting education at HBCUs by investing in their programs and providing a platform aimed at helping students realize what Honda calls The Power of Dreams.”

The 2015 Invitational Showcase will feature the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award. Participating teams and fans will have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding member of their community who is working to help students achieve their dreams. Honda will then select a winner who will be recognized in Atlanta at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

Tickets to the Honda Battle of the Bands are available for purchase now on the official website, starting at just $10. The participating eight HBCUs will receive a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music education programs, plus travel to and accommodations in Atlanta for the Invitational Showcase.

In another development, the Aristocrat of Bands has, for the second time, been invited to perform at the Bands of America Grand National Championship in Indianapolis in November.

According to McDonald, TSU will be the only HBCU to play twice in the Bands of America Grand Nationals, considered the nation’s premier marching band event.

“It is unique that these top high schools at the competition will get to see our band perform. We see this opportunity as a recruitment tool for both the band and the University,” added McDonald, who put the graduation rate among band members at more than 75 percent.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John 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, 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.

TSU, Honda Battle of the Bands Ready to “March On” to the Georgia Dome

Voting Open for Fans to Help Determine the Final Eight to Perform in Atlanta in January 2015

2014BattleOfTheBandsNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University is hoping to make a triumphant return to Atlanta and the Honda Battle of the Bands as one of the eight most prestigious marching bands from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They hope to be selected to take the Georgia Dome by storm with their incredible musical talent and electrifying showmanship.

In order to secure one of the top spots from the 38 bands attempting to do the same, the band needs everyone to vote them into the January 24, 2015 competition. Voters can visit the Honda Battle of the Bands website and vote up to six times per day for their favorite TSU band.

To date, the Aristocrat of Bands has appeared five times at the annual showcase in Atlanta beginning in 2003. They subsequently appeared in 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

For 13 consecutive years, the Honda Battle of the Bands has provided the nation’s top HBCU marching bands a platform to share their unique blend of musicianship and choreography with millions of fans. This year’s theme, “March On,” 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.”

Now until Wednesday, Oct. 15, fans can go online and vote daily to help select the final eight bands that will perform at the 2015 Invitational Showcase. Voting ends on October 15, 2014, at midnight EDT.

“Honda is deeply committed to supporting the dreams of HBCU students by investing in their education and showcasing exceptional student musicians,” said Stephan Morikawa, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “As we continue to prepare our participating band members to March On, both on the field and in life, we look forward to a thrilling and uplifting event in Atlanta.”

The 2015 Invitational Showcase will feature the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award. Each participating team will have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding member of their community who is working to help students achieve their dreams. Honda will then select a winner who will be recognized in Atlanta at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

For more information on the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands, visit HondaBattleoftheBands.com.

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 Inaugurations.

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About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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.