HBCU bands are known for their style, showmanship, and amazing music. With classic instruments and modern moves, each college incorporates the best musical traditions from America’s rich history. From the Marching 100 to the Sonic Boom of the South, this complete list of the HBCU marching bands examines the history, music, and the moves that have defined their legacy.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN ALABAMA
Marching Crimson Pipers
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
As the oldest HBCU marching band, the Marching Crimson Pipers have inspired musicians in the African-American community for over a century. The TU Marching Band has performed at the Mardi Gras Parade, Stagg Bowl, and made multiple appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands.
Marching Maroon and White
Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Since 1890, the Marching Maroon & White has performed at football games and parades across the country. The band’s music and signature style was refined by music icons like William Grant Still, William C. Handy, and Wade Hammonds. When band members are not playing at Louis Crews Stadium, they’re recording with other artists. Their music can be heard on Lucy Pearl’s album and in the documentary Take The Field.
Marching Tornado Band
Talladega College, Talladega, AL
They may be newcomers, but the Marching Tornado Band has proven that it can stand toe to toe with some of the finest marching bands in the country. Since 2012, the Talladega College Marching Band has performed at the Queen City Battle Of The Bands and the 2015 Honda Battle Of The Bands.
Mighty Marching Hornets
Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
The Mighty Marching Hornets moved from the New ASU Stadium to the big screen! Since 2010, the ASU Marching Band has starred in multiple music videos and TV shows. Their latest project, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, will be released in movie theaters in November of 2016.
Purple Marching Machine
Miles College, Fairfield, AL
The Purple Marching Machine is known for its show-stopping performances and electric sound. In addition to college football games, the Miles College Marching Band has played at President Bill Clinton’s campaign rally, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and at the Inaugural Pioneer Bowl.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN ARKANSAS
Musical Machine of the Mid-South
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR
The Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) has made a name for itself as an elite show band. The UAPB Marching Band has performed at the Gateway Classic and Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN DELAWARE
Delaware State University, Dover, DE
From Philidelphia Eagles games to London’s New Years Eve Parade, the Approaching Storm has performed for fans across the globe. The DSU Marching Band has traveled to Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands to play for international audiences. When they aren’t performing abroad, the Approaching Storm can be seen at NFL games throughout the United States.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA/ WASHINGTON, DC
Howard University, Washington, D.C.
With superior musicians, dancers, and drills, the Showtime Band has left its mark on HBCU marching band history. The Howard University Marching Band has performed at NFL football games and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Most recently, the Showtime Band appeared at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN FLORIDA
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
“Since 1892, the Marching 100 have raised the bar for bands across the country. The FAMU Marching Band is known for its unique style and original techniques and many of the university’s steps, scores, and performance standards have been adapted for high schools and colleges throughout the United States.”
Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona, FL
“With their innovative drills and impeccable music, the Marching Wildcats have redefined performance standards for an entire generation. Known throughout the United States as “The Pride”, the B-CU Marching Band has performed at the Super Bowl and in the blockbuster movie Drumline.”
Triple Threat Marching Band
Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, FL
In less than 20 years, the Triple Threat Marching Band has become one of the most popular marching bands in Florida. The Edward Water College Marching Band has performed at the 2009 and 2013 Honda Battle Of The Bands and a Jacksonville Jaguars halftime show.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN GEORGIA
Blue Machine Marching Band
Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA
The Blue Machine Marching Band has been entertaining Wildcat fans for decades. The FVSU Marching Band has played for audiences at the 2012 SAIC Battle Of The Bands and the 2016 Honda Battle Of The Bands.
Coastal Empire Sound Explosion
Savannah State University, Savannah, GA
The Coastal Empire Sound Explosion has led the Tigers into battle for decades. When they are not playing at football games, the Marching Tigers perform in parades, classics, and auditoriums across the country. The SSU Marching Band has also performed at the 2004 and 2005 Honda Battle Of The Bands.
Marching Rams Showband
Albany State University, Albany, GA
The Marching Rams Showband is known for its powerful arrangements and showstopping performances. The Albany State University Marching Band has performed at seven of the Honda Battle Of The Bands and earned a place at the 2016 Tournament of Roses.
Mighty Marching Panther Band
Clark-Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
The CAU Marching Band has led the Panthers into battle for more than 20 years. The Mighty Marching Panther Band has also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Monique Show, Good Day America and Judge Hatchett. With film credits in Drumline, Pay the Price, and Drumline II: A New Beat, the Mighty Marching Panther Band is a regular fixture in film and television.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN KENTUCKY
Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
The Thorobred Express has always raised the bar for college marching bands. The KSU Thorobred Marching Band has performed in the St. Louis Gateway Classic, Heritage Classic, Lexington Heritage Classic, and Honda Battle Of The Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN LOUISIANA
The Human Jukebox
Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA
The Southern University Marching Band is known for its jaw-dropping performances and its sensational dance team. The Human Jukebox and The Fabulous Dancing Dolls have performed with Madonna at the Super Bowl and in Beyoncé’s latest album. True to its name, the Human Jukebox can transform any song into a signature piece with flawless drills and impeccable sounds.
Tiger Marching Band
Grambling State University, Grambling, LA
The Marching Tigers have a proud legacy: their popular arrangements and talent for showmanship has been dazzling fans for nearly a century. The GSU Marching Band has performed around the world for diplomats, music buffs, and avid Tigers fans.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN MARYLAND
Magnificent Marching Machine
Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
The Magnificent Marching Machine is an internationally acclaimed marching band. The Morgan State University Band has played at presidential inaugurations, NFL half-time shows, and World Series games across the country. The Magnificent Marching Machine has also performed on The Skyshow and made an appearance in the 2003 movie Head Of State.
Symphony of Soul
Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
Whether they’re performing live or on the big screen, the Symphony of Soul wows audiences with their unquestionable talent. The BSU Marching Band appeared in Lifetime’s TV movie Earth Angels and accompanied Aretha Franklin at the 2004 NFL season opener.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN MISSISSIPPI
Mean Green Marching Machine
Mississippi Valley State University, Bena, MS
The Mississippi Valley State University Marching Band has a proud history of defying expectations. The Mean Green Marching Machine was the first African-American band to play at the Tournament Of Roses. After their 1965 performance in Pasadena, the Mississippi Valley State University Marching Band has been invited to presidential inaugurations, midwest classics, and the Indianapolis 500.
Sonic Boom of the South
Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
No one can forget the Sonic Boom of the South! With its iconic dance team, drills, and drumline, the JSU Marching Band has captured the attention of football fans across the country. The band has also made a name for itself in Hollywood, gaining fans through popular movies and video games. In 2003, the Sonic Boom of the South took its rightful place in the NCAA Hall of Champions.
Sounds Of Dyn-O-mite Marching Band
Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS
Alcorn State University’s Sounds of Dyn-O-mite (SOD) has more than 190 members and was founded in the 1960s. The band has performed all over the world. The “Golden Girls” (GGs) is an established dance squad that has performed with the marching band since its inception. More recently, voters selected Alcorn’s band to perform in the 2016 Honda Battle of the Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN MISSOURI
Marching Musical Storm
Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO
The Marching Musical Storm has been inspiring Blue Tigers fans since 1948. The Lincoln University Marching Band uses popular arrangements and a unique sound to captivate audiences throughout the Midwest.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Blue and Gold Marching Machine
North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC
The Blue and Gold Marching Machine has had many notable performances, including four appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands and the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The NCAT Marching Band is always accompanied by the Golden Delight, an auxiliary unit of dancers, batton twirlers, and color guard members.
International Institution of Sound
Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
The International Institution of Sound has a proud history of showmanship. Since 1900, the JCSU Marching Band has impressed audiences across the country with its sound, style, and signature moves. The International Institution of Sound has performed at the Microsoft launch party for Windows 8 and at the 2012 National High Stepping Marching Band Championships.
Marching Bronco Express
Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC
The FSU Marching Band has performed for audiences across the country. In addition to playing at football games, parades, and concerts, the Marching Bronco Express has performed at the 2009 Honda Battle Of The Bands.
North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
The Marching Sound Machine is a premier show band from Durham, NC. The NCCU Marching Band has made six appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands in addition to performances at the Rose Bowl and Yankee Stadium.
Superior Sound Marching Band
Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC
The Superior Sound Marching Band is known for transforming popular music into show stopping arrangements. The SAU Marching Band has performed in stadiums and parades throughout the south, including the 2014 HBCU Experience.
The Marching Sound of Class
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC
The Marching Sound Of Class is known for their drills, arangements, and powerfull drumline. The ECSU P.O.I.S.O.N. Drumline took first place at the 2013 Big Apple Classic HBCU Drumline Competition, and the Marching Sound Of Class has performed at the HBCU Experience Battle Of The Bands and the Honda Battle Of The Bands.
The Red Sea of Sound
Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
The Red Sea of Sound is known for its showstopping performances and unique arrangements. The WSSU Marching Band has performed at the Circle City Classic, Cleveland Classic, and the New York City Urban Classic in addition to five appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN OHIO
Invincible Marching Marauders
Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Since 1896, the Invincible Marching Marauders have played for football fans throughout the United States. Most recently, the CSU Marching Band has performed at the Honda Battle Of The Bands and has been featured in the movie Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN OKLAHOMA
Langston University, Langston, OK
The Marching Pride is one of the most distinguished marching bands in the country! The Langston University Marching Band has performed at the D.I.S.D. Band Showcase and made multiple appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN PENNSYLVANIA
Orange Crush Roaring Lions
Lincoln University, Lincoln University, PA
Lincoln University was the first degree-granting HBCU in America, and the Orange Crush Roaring Lions continue to break barriers for African-American students across the country. Since 2007, The LU Marching Band has performed for audiences in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida and accepted an invitiation to perform at the Honda Battle Of The Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC
For nearly 100 years, the Marching 101 has been the pride of South Carolina State University. Their commitment to innovation, discipline, and musicianship has led them to stadiums across the country. Most recently, the SCSU Marching Band has played at the 2015 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Disney Parade and the 2016 Honda Battle Of The Bands.
Marching Tiger Band of Distinction
Benedict College, Columbia, SC
The Marching Tiger Band Of Distinction has been inspiring football fans and aspiring musicians since 1960. After a thirty year break, the Benedict College Marching Band came back to South Carolina to lead the Tigers into battle and perform at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN TENNESSEE
Aristocrat of Bands
Tennessee State University, Aristocrat of Bands
Since 1946, the Aristocrat of Bands has broken barriers for African-American marching bands across the country. The TSU Marching Band was the first HBCU band to perform on television, and in 1961 it set a precedent as the first HBCU to perform at a presidential inauguration. The Aristocrat of Bands has also performed at the inaugurations of President Bill Clinton and President George Bush.
Marching Quiet Storm
Lane College, Jackson, TN
Since 1951, the Mythical Sounds Of Fire has performed on radio and television for national audiences. When they’re not playing for football fans in Jackson, TN, the Lane College Marching Band travels across the country to perform in classics and college football games.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN TEXAS
Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX
Since World War II, the Prairie View A&M University Marching Band has performed for audiences across the country. From its early days as an all female ensemble to its historic appearances at the 2009 Tournament of Roses, 2014 Dallas Cowboys Opening Game, and the George W. Bush Inaugural Parade, the Marching Storm has distinguished itself as a premier HBCU marching band.
Ocean of Soul
Texas Southern University, Houston, TX
The Ocean of Soul has earned its reputation as one of the premier marching bands in the southwest. The TSU Marching Band has played for the Houston Oilers, Houston Texans, and Dallas Mavericks. In 2004, the Ocean of Soul performed at the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show in Houston, TX.
HBCU MARCHING BANDS IN VIRGINIA
Ambassadors of Sound Marching Band
Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA
The Ambassadors of Sound Marching Band performs for Panthers fans throughout the United States. Most recently, the VUU Marching Band has performed at the 2015 and 2016 Freedom Classic.
Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
The Spartan Legion is known for its fierce performances and powerful drills. The Norfolk State University Marching Band brings military precision to every event, which is why President Barak Obama invited them to perform at his campaign rally. The NSU Marching Band has also played at the Honda Battle Of The Bands, Mardi Gras, and HBCU Band Battlefest.
The Marching Force
Hampton University, Hampton, VA
The Force Marching Band has appeared in several notable performances, including the Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration parade in Washington, DC. “The Force” was chosen out of a large pool of applicants to participate in the parade as the representative for the state of Virginia. “The Force” is complemented by the “Ebony Fire” dance team.
Trojan Explosion Marching Band
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA
The Trojan Explosion Marching Band continues to raise the bar for HBCU marching bands across the country. The VSU Marching Band has made nine appearances at the Honda Battle Of The Bands and performed at the White House for President Barack Obama.