Tag Archives: Tournament of Roses

TSU’s World-Renowned Aristocrat of Bands Names New Leaders as Group Prepares for 2021 Tournament of Roses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands prepares for its historic appearance in the Tournament of Roses in January, the marching band has announced a new lineup of drum majors.

Julien Dooley, the only returning drum major, will lead the “Fantastic 4” in 2020-2021. (Submitted photo)

The new “Fantastic 4,” as they are called, were announced at the AOB’s recent virtual banquet, which also recognized outgoing drum majors who are part of the 2020 TSU graduating class. Julian Dooley, a senior communications major from Decatur, Georgia, who will lead the new Fantastic 4, is the only returning member. Joining him are Justen Ramsey, rising junior, health science, from Atlanta; Travion  Crutcher, rising junior , mechanical engineering, from Huntsville, Alabama; and Cameron Brown, senior, mass communications major from Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, congratulated the new Fantastic 4, and paid special tribute to the outgoing members for their accomplishments and service to the university.

“I thank you for your love, service, hard work, dedication and loyalty to the Fantastic 4, the Aristocrat of Bands and Tennessee State University,” McDonald said. “Congratulations on your accomplishment in earning your degrees. We wish you the very best in all of your future endeavors.”

Justin Ramsey, Drum Major No. 2

 The outgoing drum majors, who will receive their bachelor’s degrees in various disciplines at the August 1 commencement ceremonies are Hassan Moody, from Decatur, Georgia, business administration; Cole Gilbert, from Jonesboro, Georgia, health science; and Xavier Ellis, from Stone Mountain, Georgia, criminal Justice.

At the virtual banquet, the AOB also announced captains for the Sophisticated Ladies, Royal Elegance, and section leaders for the instrumentalist.

In March, the world-renowned AOB received official invitation to participate in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California. Dr. Robert B. Miller, president and chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, came to TSU to personally present the band with the official tournament flag and invitation.

Travion Crutcher, Drum Major No.3

The AOB will be one of only four university bands nationwide to participate in the parade, with a domestic television audience of more than 38 million.

“Only the best of the best are invited  and the Aristocrat of Bands is one of them,” Miller said in the Gentry Complex, amid thunderous cheers from university officials, relatives, former band members, and Mr. and Miss TSU and their royal court.

Cailyn Sparks, a member of the AOB Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line, called the Rose Bowl Parade invitation “an opportunity of a life time.”

“I am glad my mom and dad and maybe some other family members will be there,” said Sparks, a junior elementary education major from Phenix City, Alabama, who will be going to California for the first time. “I am extremely excited about going to the Rose Bowl and excited to be there with my family.”

Cameron Brown, Drum Major No. 4

McDonald added, “If you know anything about parades in this country, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Parade are numbers one and two,” he said. “To have either one of those parades on your performance as a portfolio, says a lot about your band program.”

In addition to the Tournament of Roses invitation, receiving the Best Band ranking, and a record ninth appearance at Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational, the AOB is enjoying a stellar year of achievements and accolades. In April 2019, during the NFL Draft in the Music City, the AOB were featured on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take; the band received a shout out from pop star Lizzo for the band’s rendition of her “Truth Hurts” medley. In January 2019, percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Parade. They were also featured performers at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 home opener.

For more information on the AOB, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

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, 24 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 Is all Roses; World-Renowned Aristocrat of Bands to Participate In 2021 Tournament of Roses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is going to the Tournament of Roses. The band recently received an official invitation to participate in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California.

The crowd applauds after the announcement that the TSU Aristocrat of Bands will participate in the 2021 Tournament of Roses in Pasedina, California. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The AOB will be one of only four university bands selected nationwide to participate in the parade, with a domestic television audience of more than 38 million.

“Only the best of the best are invited  and the Aristocrat of Bands is one of them,” said Dr. Robert B. Miller, president and chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, who came to TSU to personally present the band with the official tournament flag and invitation.

“It is a major accomplishment for the band, and for your university. This is a big deal,” he said. “In 132 years of the tournament, 107th  Rose Bowl this year, your band is going to be there. You are going to do entertainment like no other band in our parade does. Our parade has got 22 bands, 45 floats, the best floral and entertainment groups in the nation and TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands is going to be there.”

The Aristocrat of Bands entertains the crowd at the Gentry Center as the band celebrates words of their official invitation to the Rose Bowl Parade next year. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

At the flag presentation in the Gentry Center, amid thunderous cheers from university officials, relatives, former band members, and Mr. and Miss TSU and their royal court, Miller congratulated TSU, the AOB and band director, Dr. Reginald McDonald, for their hard work in submitting a successful application.

Miller, who was accompanied by his wife, Barbara,  also pinned TSU officials present with the official lapel pin of the Tournament of Roses, including Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, who represented TSU President Glenda Glover. Dr. McDonald was also honored in recognition of his leadership.

In acknowledgment, the AOB, known worldwide for their melodious musical renditions and marching prowess, performed such favorites as “I am so glad I go to TSU,” and “Best Band.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s Director of Bands, says participating in the Rose Bowl is a longtime dream. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)


“This is huge and I am just excited beyond measure,” said band member Julien Dooley, after hearing his first trip ever to California will be to perform in the Rose Bowl Parade. “The Tournament of Roses is very huge, and I am excited because I actually have never been to the west coast, and the thought of my first trip being to perform before such a huge audience has got me very emotional.”

Dooley, an Atlanta native and a drum major with the AOB, is a senior commercial music major.

 Fellow student Cailyn Sparks, a member of the AOB Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line, is equally excited. Her parents will be there to see their daughter perform.

“This is an opportunity of a life time and I am glad my mom and dad and maybe some other family members will be there,” said Sparks, a junior elementary education major from Phenix City, Alabama, who will also be going to California for the first time. “I am extremely excited about going to the Rose Bowl and excited to be there with my family.”

McDonald, TSU’s director of Bands, who could not hide his excitement about the announcement from the Tournament of Roses president and the reaction of the crowd in the Gentry Complex, called the invitation and the selection to the Rose Bowl Parade a “longtime dream.”

“If you know anything about parades in this country, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Parade are numbers one and two,” he said. “To have either one of those parades on your performance as a portfolio, says a lot about your band program.”

Four college bands are selected each year to participate in the Tournament of Roses –two that apply and two with football teams that play in the Rose Bowl.

“This year it will be Tennessee State University and Georgia State University. That is huge,” McDonald said. “It says a lot about our university, it says a lot about the things we are trying to teach on a year-to-year basis. We selected to apply to the Tournament of Roses because to be recognized as the best, you have to participate in those things that are challenging and hard and are also part of being the best. “

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of bands, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.