Arts and Entertainment
|High-stepping bands play on at inaugural Big HBCU Classic|
|Showcase includes college, high school programs|
|Published Monday, November 12, 2018 5:33 pm|
If you had to choose between HBCU band or football, you would probably chose the band.
HBCU Halftime’s inaugural Big HBCU Classic Battle of the Bands kicked off at Johnson C. Smith University’s Irwin Belk Complex on Nov. 11. While the stadium’s official capacity is 4,500, the place was packed. It included a high school band competition, which the Magnificent Marching Machine of Fayetteville’s E.E. Smith High School won, beating three other schools.
Featured collegiate participants included North Carolina A&T State University’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine, North Carolina Central University’s Sound Machine, Winston-Salem State University’s Red Sea of Sound, South Carolina State University’s Marching 101, Benedict College’s Band of Distinction and JCSU’s International Institution of Sound. A portion of ticket sales as well as event sponsorship, provide scholarship money to the six colleges. A&T’s band boasts the state’s oldest HBCU program, which began in 1918 with 50 musicians.
“The Big HBCU Classic is important, because it not only fills a void for marching band fans, but it is an event that provides education and career opportunities to communities, acknowledge our brave veterans, all while bringing a new safe and fun family-oriented signature event that will positively impact the city of Charlotte,” HBCU Halftime CEO Frank Johnson said.
The Big HBCU Classic also included a free fan fest as well as a college fair, which were open to the public before the collegiate portion of Battle of the Bands. Fan fest performances ranged from the Christian School of Dance and Jason Jet, to Young Citizen and Talysha Jomiya Jones, and Patrick Love and Company.
HBCU Halftime filled the void after a five-year run by the Queen City Battle of the Bands at American Legion Memorial Stadium ended last year. That showcase has rebranded as the National Battle of the Bands in preparation for its move to Houston in 2019.
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