The marching band sponsored by a historically black college or university is a historically black college and university marching band (also called an HBCU band). In the American South in the 1940s, a distinctive “HBCU-style” marching band emerged from the blending of earlier military music styles and minstrel shows with a common song-based performance repertoire. Black college bands have always been famous for their enthusiastic routines and as one of the most enthralling experiences as band members. Within the campus cultures of their universities, the spectator popularity of HBCU bands has traditionally eclipsed that of conventional athletics. More and more students are now attracted to be a part of the marching bands.
If you are a student interested in being a member of the top marching bands, we have curated the perfect list for you. These marching bands are renowned for their talented members and directors. They are world-famous performers. Getting to be a part of these marching bands will be a ticket to endless success and opportunities. Hope you get the chance you have been looking for! Good luck!
Bethune Cookman University- Marching Wildcats
A 325 member unit comprising instrumentalists, the Sophisticat Flag Corp, and the 14 Karat Gold Dancers is the Marching Wildcats of Bethune Cookman University. The band, known as “The PRIDE”, aims to deliver the best half-time shows to viewing audiences. The 14 Karat Gold dancers, who are nationally popular, are made up of select young ladies who exemplify excellent danceability, poise, and class. The Marching Wildcats have redefined performance standards for an entire generation with their inventive drills and impeccable songs. The B-CU Marching Band played at the Super Bowl and in the blockbuster movie Drumline, as well.
Founded In: 1904
Location: Dayton Beach, Florida
Contact: (386) 481-2743
Florida A&M University- The Marching 100
The widely praised Marching “100” Band is ranked high among the many proud traditions of Florida A&M University. The marching band of FAMU has been credited with no fewer than 30 groundbreaking methods that have become standard operating processes around the country for many high school and college marching band programs. In 1892, under the tutelage of P.A. Van Weller, the first band at the university, formerly called A&M College, was organized. The Marching ‘100’ has expanded to over 420 members from a small store of 16 instruments.
Founded In: 1892
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Grambling State University- Tiger Marching Band
Grambling State University’s marching band is the GSU Tiger Marching Band, also known as the Tiger Marching Band. The band is often billed as the “World Famed Tiger Marching Band”. The band has an average of 160 students per year, with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher. The Marching Tigers have a proud legacy. They have been dazzling fans for almost a century with their famous arrangements and talent for showmanship. For ambassadors, music lovers, and ardent Tigers fans, the GSU Marching Band has performed across the globe.
Founded In: 1926
Location: Grambling, Los Angeles
Contact: (318) 274-2682
Jackson State University- Sonic Boom of the South
The Sonic Boom of the South is the Jackson State University (JSU) marching band based in Jackson, Mississippi. The marching band started at what was then Jackson State College in the 1940s, under the directorship of Frederick D. Hall, who, in addition to the chorus and orchestra, had led a band at the college as early as the 1920s. Initially, it was made up of Jackson College and Lanier High School students. Founded as the Marching Band of Jackson State University, director Harold J. Haughton Sr. adopted the name “Sonic Boom of the South” in 1971, having been suggested by band members. The JSU Marching Band has attracted the attention of football fans around the country with its famous dance squad, drills, and drumline. In Hollywood, the band has also made a name for itself, gaining fans through famous films and video games.
Founded In: 1940s
Location: Jackson, MS
Norfolk State University- Spartan Legion
The Spartan Legion is the college’s premier marching band. The Legion’s presence is still felt and seen at different activities on the Norfolk State University campus and throughout the city. The marching band is renowned for its strong drills and fierce performances. Every event brings military precision to the Norfolk State University Marching Band, which is why President Barak Obama invited them to perform at his campaign rally. At the Honda Battle Of The Bands, Mardi Gras, and HBCU Band Battlefest, the NSU Marching Band also performed.
Founded In: 1935
Location: Norfolk, Virginia
North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine
The Blue and Gold Marching Machine is associated with high-stepping shows, accurate drills, strong but melodic sounds, and vitality as one of the nation’s premier bands. The Blue & Gold Marching Machine of NC A&T State University is a force to be reckoned with, as the premier band of North Carolina and ranked high among the top HBCU Marching Bands. The band plays at a number of events in the school and community and consists of around 200 members from very varying majors and concentrations. The band is an auditioned group. The audition is available to all university students wanting to join.
Founded In: 1918
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
South Carolina State University- The Marching 101
Marching 101 is the official name of South Carolina State University’s marching band in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The ensemble has been delivering on its pledge to overcome, conquer, and leave little to be desired for nearly 100 years. The community prides itself on never giving their fans anything less than excellence and representing their profound educational institution. The band’s new director is Mr. Patrick Moore. In 1918, the Band began humbly, a basic regimental band conducting military drills and assisting in Sunday schools with music and anywhere else it was required. As the directors in charge of the program foresaw a greater picture for the program, the band grew slowly but gradually from a service band to a member of the Department of Music of the school, to a famous band whose name rings from coast to coast. The band unveiled its new name, The SC State Marching 101 Band, in the fall of 1964.
Founded In: 1918
Location: Orangeburg, South Carolina
Tuskegee University- The Marching Crimson Pipers
A long tradition of excellence has been witnessed by the Tuskegee University Marching Crimson Piper Band. The Tuskegee Institute could boast of a well-organized 35-piece band and an 18-piece orchestra at the young age of 25 years (1906). The band was part of the Military Department organizationally, an institutional arrangement lasting for many years. The Marching Crimson Pipers have been inspiring musicians in the African-American culture as the oldest HBCU marching band for over a century. The TU Marching Band played at the Honda Battle Of The Bands at the Mardi Gras Parade, Stagg Bowl, and made numerous appearances.
Founded In: 1881
Location: Tuskegee, Alabama
Southern University and A&M College Marching Band- The Human Jukebox
The Southern University Marching Band is unquestionably a magnificent force, from performing high-volume rhythm and blues to playing flawless, show-stopping classics, from famous hip hop dance moves to precision drill steps. Redefining the college band form, the performance of the SU band is measured by the enthusiasm of its broad and varied audiences. Dubbed the “Human Jukebox” years ago, the SU band has gained iconic status as one of the nation’s top college bands. Dedicated to the art of music and offering an artistic flair to new and exclusive entertainment, the 215 member band boasts a long list of awards and honors and has a resume of appearances on local, national, and international stages.
Founded In: 1947
Location: Baton Rouge, Los Angeles
Texas Southern University- Ocean of Soul
Benjamin J. Butler II founded Texas Southern University in 1969. Ocean of Soul performs at all university home football, SWAC home basketball games, numerous parades and university-sponsored activities, on national television, and at professional athletic games before crowds. Its soulful music, strong rhythm, precision drills, and complex dance routines have won The Ocean a reputation. As one of the premier marching bands in the southwest, the Ocean of Soul has gained its prestige. The TSU Marching Band performed for the Houston Oilers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Texans. Ocean of Soul also played in 2004, at the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show in Houston, Texas.
Founded In: 1969
Location: Houston, Texas