Road to the Grammys: Band’s TV Appearance Inspires Student to come to TSU, join AOB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –In September 2016, Logyn Rylander was surfing through her TV streaming service for something good to watch. It was in her living room when she first learned of Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) on television.  

Logyn Rylander

“I was watching Cedrick the Entertainer’s special on Netflix, and I saw the band performing,” Rylander said. “I was shocked.” 

Rylander was mesmerized by the AOB’s energy and passion as members marched up the aisles of a Nashville auditorium. The high-octane performance was during their appearance with nationally known stand-up comedian and actor, Cedric Kyles, also known as Cedrick the Entertainer. She didn’t know much about TSUs band at first, but she was very familiar by the time the Netflix special performance was over. 

“I thought, yes, I am going there (to TSU.)” 

Logyn Rylander has been playing the saxophone since the third grade.

The Philadelphia, PA native, who was a sophomore in high school at the time, applied to the university and received a band scholarship to play the saxophone. 

Fast forward to today, Rylander will graduate this Fall with a degree in music technology business. Along with getting her degree, the saxophonist says the other ultimate accolade is being a part of a Grammy-nominated, groundbreaking gospel album The Urban Hymnal.  The historic music project is produced by the Aristocrat of Bands and features several gospel icons in the industry. The AOB is the first collegiate marching band in the history of the Grammys to receive a nomination. 

Rylander has been playing the saxophone since the third grade and picked up the bassoon her freshman year at TSU. She recalls the emotional journey of performing with AOB for the very first time.  

“My freshman year, I cried at multiple performances because I knew someone was watching me, the same way I watched the band on television … it was a full circle moment,” she said. She knew one day her talent was going to take her far. 

AOB band director Reginald McDonald and TSU alumnus, Sir the Baptist watches as Logyn Rylander submits the application to the Grammys.

“This is going to inspire someone the same exact way it inspired me.” 

Rylander also had the honor of submitting the application to the Grammys as her fellow band members looked on anxiously. 

Dr. Larry Jenkins, assistant band director and co-producer of the album, said Rylander wasn’t aware that she would be the person to submit the album, but that she deserved the chance to do so. 

“From the beginning, Logyn’s enthusiasm towards the project showed me that she was a visionary and that she was able to see the big picture,” Jenkins said. 

Logyn Rylander and TSU alumnus, Grammy award-winning producer Dallas Austin

Rylander helped create the soft and mellow notes with her saxophone in the songs titled Dance Revival and Fly. Rylander’s deep, reedy, and woody bassoon sounds can also be heard in the song Blessings

She said she admires the music AOB produces and is grateful to be a part of this musical journey with fellow band members she considers family.  

“I’m very grateful and honored to be in this band,” Rylander said. “What a way to end my school and band career.” 

The Grammys will take place on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, at the Arena in Los Angeles, California. Listen to The Urban Hymnal album on all music streaming platforms such as Apple Music, YouTube, and or Spotify.