The movie Drumline brought to the forefront the reality of collegiate level marching bands. One of the famous quotes from the movie was, “One band. One Sound.” This past Saturday the yearly awaited, rites of passage, marching band showcase took place in Atlanta.
The 11th Annual, Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase gathered eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) into the Georgia Dome to put on stellar performances that will not soon be forgotten. The Battle of the Bands is an exciting event that displays the talents of music composition, band choreography and school spirit creativity. The Georgia Dome was the focal point of area high school and college students, music lovers, HBCU alumni, educators, and marching band enthusiast. Event goers were given a chance to participate in dance competitions, rallied for crowd participation, entertained by top-selling recording artists, and even afforded an opportunity to win a brand new 2013 Honda Accord.
This year’s marching bands included: Albany State University, Alcorn State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Jackson State University, North Carolina A&T University, Tennessee State University and Winston-Salem State University. Each band took the field for 12 minutes to prove their talent and to uphold HBCU distinct traditions. Not only were they displaying their uniqueness but they also earned funding for their schools. Honda awarded over $205,000 to participating bands. “As we continue into our eleventh year, Honda is happy to support these music education programs and looks forward to another amazing Invitational Showcase.” said Marc Burt, assistant vice president, Office of Inclusion and Diversity, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
The 11th Honda Battle of the Bands commenced with all eight bands on the Georgia Dome field playing the National Black Anthem and the United State National Anthem. It was a great reminder of the struggles once seen by black colleges and a reminder that history would be on that day in the Georgia Dome.
The crowd roared as V103’s radio personality Ryan Cameron drove a 2013 Honda onto the field while being introduced with the musical genius DJ Baby Yu. Cameron then introduced the special guest recording artist Crystal Water. Crystal Waters provided a blast from the past for HBCU alumnus by performing her greatest hits, “La Da Dee, La Dee Da” and “100% Pure Love”.
Marching band after marching band followed each bringing the crowd to their feet. Several performances had particular pieces that stood out. The introduction of Purple Thunder, the plus-sized dancers for Edward-Waters College created a stir in the crowd as all of the girls dropped down into a split then one of the girls executed a perfect triple summersault. Albany State University got a huge reaction from the crowd when Phillip Hudson (@Phillinmyself) took to the field and the crowd sang along. Albany State was the most experienced band to take the field as it was their sixth time attending Battle of the Bands. Tennessee State University and Jackson State University displayed mastery formations and convergence in their choreography but it was Bethune-Cookman University that stole the show. They formed a diamond ring to Rihanna’s hit song, “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” and formed the signature A for Atlanta.
The 2013 Honda Battle of the Bands closed with a performance from Grammy Award winning R&B singer Brandy who riveted the crowd as she sang her current hits, “Wildest Dreams”, “Put It Down” and past hit “Full Moon”.
The event was sponsored by American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Verizon Wireless and SunTrust Banks.
Photos credit: Carl Semien Photography for Tastemaker Magazine