HBCU marching bands are a vital part of not only HBCU culture but of college culture in general. These bands have altered the landscape of music and have been integral in creating community and connection among Black people.
Many people travel far and wide to witness the performances of some of the most talented young Black musicians in the country working together to create a masterpiece.
Today, we are going to look at some of the best HBCU band programs in the country. These programs have been able to consistently produce excellence and still hold the attention of many in the HBCU community.
Known as The Mighty Marching Hornets, the Alabama State Marching Band holds a significant place in HBCU Band culture. Hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, the Band is known for its unique sound and the talented efforts of the Stingettes and the Honey Beez that are known for stealing the show.
The group out of Nashville, Tennessee has one of the most unique names in the HBCU band community. Many in HBCU circles don’t get the chance to hear “The Aristocrat of Bands” during the season because Tennessee State doesn’t play in a traditional HBCU conference. However, their performances in showcases like Battle of the Bands show that they are a Band that should not be slept on.
Grambling State has one of the most successful HBCU football programs in history and their band has traditionally brought a level of excellence that rivals the performance on the gridiron. Known as the “World Famed Tiger Marching Band” the crew from Grambling, Louisiana has definitely established a legacy of showing up and showing out.
Another band that holds one of the most unique sounds in the HBCU community is located a little further north than many would expect. The “Spartan Legion” from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia has been known for how loud they play. The size of this band and the power that they can play with could intimidate many other performers.
Known as the “Sonic Boom of the South”, Jackson State’s Band has one of the most iconic names in the HBCU Band community and their performance backs that name up. Many people will be glued to Jackson State over the next few years because of what Head Football Coach Deion Sanders has done in Jackson, Mississippi. But don’t overlook Jackson State’s Marching Band because they have been building something special themselves.
Prairie View A&M
The Prairie View A&M Marching Band is affectionately known as the “Marching Storm.” The group from Prairie View Texas gained recognition for their powerful percussion work. SWAC band competition can be fierce but Prairie View A&M has carved out a special place for its program and was featured in CW’s March.
Bethune Cookman’s Marching Band is no stranger to being in the spotlight. The group from Daytona Beach, Florida is known as the “Marching Wildcats” and they have been featured on Netflix’s Marching Orders in 2018. The “Marching Wildcats” have a lot of versatility and have cemented their place as one of the best HBCU bands in the land.
North Carolina A&T
The Aggies at North Carolina A&T bring a one-of-a-kind feel to their performances. Known as “The Blue and Gold Marching Machine” the unique combination of flair, style and precision has quickly put this band in the conversation for the best HBCU band in the nation. For many HBCU band traditionalists, the SWAC bands have always had a perceived advantage over other HBCU bands but North Carolina A&T is starting to change that narrative.
Florida A&M’s marching band has built a legendary program over the last few decades. The squad from Tallahassee, Florida is known as “The Marching 100.” Strong precision and ingenuity have allowed this band to stay hovering amongst the top ranks in the HBCU community for years.
Known as the “Human Jukebox” the Southern Marching Band is one of the most recognizable HBCU bands in the country. The crew from Baton Rouge, Louisiana has hours of footage showing their fascinating halftime performances and electric showcase performances. The excitement and energy that the “Human Jukebox” brings to everyone watching them is nearly indescribable.