TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands to be part of Biden, Harris inauguration celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands will be part of the “We Are One” virtual celebration for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 19, is an evening hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which will celebrate and honor the Black community and African Diaspora. The event will feature performances and speeches from distinguished guests, including TSU President and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated International President and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover.

The celebration will be live-streamed from 8:00-9:30 PM Eastern (7:00-8:30 Central) at https://bideninaugural.org/watch/. It will also be broadcast

AOB participates in Battle of the Bands. (Submitted photo)

on Urban One, Revolt TV, and the Instagram pages of HBCU Grad, NowThis News, The Source, The Shade Room, BET, TheGrio TV, Daily Kos, Watch The Yard, Blavity, and on NBC Peacock’s The Choice.

“The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is very excited to be a part of the inauguration celebration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” says Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “In the midst of a very challenging year, our band program continues to display the excellence of Tennessee State University.”

McDonald says the band submitted four videos for inauguration organizers to include in the celebration, and that footage from the videos will be used in some capacity.

Band member Tiara Thomas says the band’s inclusion says a “lot about the elite nature of the Aristocrat of Bands.”

“Although virtual, this is one of multiple appearances the AOB has made in Washington, D.C. over the years,” says Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “However, I feel this one is as monumental as the performance for President Obama, because we are celebrating a fellow HBCU graduate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,“ a Howard University alumna.

Former President Barack Obama greets AOB band members during their visit to the White House in 2016. (TSU Media Relations)

In 2016, during the administration of President Barack Obama, the band was invited to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The band performed on the south lawn of the White House, the first HBCU band to perform for the Obama administration at the White House.

The AOB was the first band from a historically-black university invited to march in the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy. One of the students who marched in that parade was Edward L. Graves, who became director of bands from 1979 to 2014 (retired).

The AOB also returned to Washington, D.C. in 1993 and 1997 for the Inaugural Parades of President Bill Clinton.

To learn more about the AOB, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

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.