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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.

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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.”

 

 

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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.

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.