TSU’s Grammy-award winning Aristocrat of Bands makes historic performance at the Grand Ole Opry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Grammy-award winning Aristocrat of Bands marched through the doors of the Grand Ole Opry with Tiger spirit for their historic debut in front of thousands.

TSU’s Grammy-award winning Aristocrat of Bands debut at the Grand Ole Opry April 4, 2023. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Fondly referred to as AOB, the band has had many firsts, with appearances across country at several iconic venues.

Now, the trailblazing band can add to its list of ‘first to do it’ following their debut at the Grand Ole Opry on April 4.

“Being at Opry tonight as an HBCU band … this opportunity is breathtaking,” said AOB’s director Dr. Reginald McDonald. “To be a band of firsts, we are excited. This is another opportunity for our students to learn beyond the classroom.”

TSU Sophisticated Ladies debut at the Grand Ole Opry. (Photo by Jenai Hayes)

There were about 80 band members and five Sophisticated Ladies that participated in the 12-minute performance.

“It feels so good to be here,” said Joshua Knox, an AOB drum major from Detroit, Michigan. “Being able to perform at this historic stage makes everything so great being here with my fellow band members.”

AOB performed two songs off their Grammy-award winning album The Urban Hymnal. The band performed Dance Revival and Blessings on Blessings with soulful sounds from the Grammy-award winning duo Louis York, who is featured on the song, along with TSU alumna Ashley “FluteBae” Crawford.

Joshua Knox

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands is the first collegiate marching band to win a Grammy, the music industry’s highest honor for Best Roots Gospel Album.

Aimee Rollins, a freshman from Atlanta who plays the clarinet, said the overall experience was another one for the books.
“Every time we perform it is a great time,” Rollins said, noting that the crowd’s energy was lively. “When they come and experience something new, introducing them to a new world of music they didn’t know about before .. with a lot of TSU people in the crowd hyping us up, I really did appreciate it.”

Aimee Rollins

Louis York singer and music producer Claude Kelly, described the experience of performing with AOB at the Grand Ole Opry as ‘next level history.’

Check out the Aristocrat of Bands debut at the Grand Ole Opry here. Listen to The Urban Hymnal album on all music streaming platforms such as Apple Music, YouTube, and or Spotify.