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HBCU Bands

Your chance to experience HBCU bands beyond football season

Here’s a few places to enjoy the sounds of HBCU bands throughout the year

As the 2017-18 college football season comes to a close, fans of historically black college and university (HBCU) sports all wonder: “Where will we get our band fix now?”

Although the HBCU halftime show experience cannot be matched outside of the football field (check out the ESPN/The Undefeated HBCU Band Rankings from this season), there’s no need to worry. Bands across the nation are preparing for events throughout the next year.

That’s the kind of excitement all HBCU band lovers can get behind. Any exposure is a good thing for bands, and even better for fans looking to get their fix outside of the football field.

Here are a few events those impatient band lovers can enjoy or have enjoyed recently:

Honda Battle of the Bands

The 16th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase will offer the football halftime experience without the football. On Jan. 27, eight HBCU bands will take their places on the field of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta to battle for bragging rights. Two of the participating bands, the Bethune-Cookman University Marching Wildcats and the North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine, consistently topped the ESPN/The Undefeated HBCU Band Rankings throughout the season. Tickets to the Battle of the Bands are on sale now.

The eight bands are:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Alabama State University
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • Hampton University
  • Miles College
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Tennessee State University

Mardi Gras

A trip to New Orleans and a chance to see your favorite bands? Who would pass up this opportunity? If you missed the World Famed Grambling State Tiger Marching Band and the Human Jukebox of Southern University and A&M College go head-to-head at the 44th annual Bayou Classic, the Louisiana favorites will be back to parade down the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The parades will ramp up on Feb. 9 and continue throughout Fat Tuesday on Feb. 13.

2019 Rose Parade

For more than 100 years, the Tournament of Roses has allowed fans to ring in the New Year with the internationally recognized Rose Parade. If you’re looking to build excitement in advance — some 13 months in advance — take pride in knowing that the Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets and the Blue and Gold Marching Machine have already claimed spots in the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2019, in Pasadena, California.


Recording artist and New Orleans native PJ Morton is giving fans a chance to take the Human Jukebox with them wherever they go through his latest single, “True Southern Girl,” featuring rapper and fellow New Orleanian Mia X. The band’s distinct sound is the true star of the record, which is available for purchase through iTunes and is also streaming on Apple Music.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm Band got the party started last month during the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. After 18 months of practicing and raising money to make the 25-hour trek from Texas to New York, the band performed for more than 1 million paradegoers (and millions who watched at home) during the 2.5-mile parade.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase our band and represent the state of Texas at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2017,” Prairie View band director Timmey Zachery said in May. “Our students and band staff are excited that we will get to perform for a national — even international — audience. They have worked hard all year, and this is certainly a culminating event to a great year for our program.”

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.