Hampton University’s marching band will be taking their talents to Rome in 2020. According to Wavy News, the band has been enlisted to perform in the Rome New Year’s Parade; making the school the first historically Black college or university to do so.
The band—who goes by The Marching Force—will perform at St. Peter’s Square for the parade, the news outlet writes. The event is a cumulative celebration of the World Day of Peace and the Pope’s blessing for the New Year. The band will also have the opportunity to perform for local communities during their time in Italy.
“This wonderful opportunity will put Hampton University on an international spotlight and bring some attention to what we’re doing with the band at Hampton. Over the last year, we have been focusing on recruiting talented musicians, dancers, color guard and majorettes. Our mission is not just to build better band students, but to shape and mold students so that they are academically proficient and have high moral character,” band director Dr. Thomas Jones said in a statement released by the university. “This trip validates what we’re doing. The strength of the program is growing. Traveling is a great incentive for new and current students and we are really looking forward to this exciting journey.”
Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey echoed his sentiments, adding that the band continues to “uphold the standard of excellence as being one of the best marching bands in the nation.” News about the band performing in Italy comes on the heels of their performance in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.
The HBCU has had a few firsts over the past few months. In November, Hampton University made history by becoming the first historically Black college and university to add a women’s varsity triathlon team to their list of sports programs.