Battle of the Bands, part two

There are two things that I try to accomplish with this blog – provide an interesting topic for readers and provoke interesting, passionate conversation (without going over the top).

Think I hit the jackpot big-time Thursday.

For those who might have missed it, I put the following question on the worldwide web yesterday – Who has the best band among HBCU schools? – and threw out a list and poll to go along with it. As I mentioned in the blog, it was just a list (not my personal rankings) used to ‘get the ball rolling’ – and did it roll or what?

My thoughts don’t matter, I created this to get the conversation going. And for those who didn’t follow it yesterday, you can look back on it by clicking here.

Here’s a sampling of what was said ….

“No discussion needed. FAMU shows up and shows out every time!”

“This pole is TOTALLY invalid since you do NOT have the World Famous Grambling State University Marching Band on the list!!! No contest, hands down, the VERY BEST EVER!”

“I have to say Jackson State’s Sonic Boom then SU’s human jukebox. It’s about musicianship, precision, entertainment, and aesthetics. Why does everybody think FAMU? All FAMU has is alot of people with loud country uniforms that can not form straight lines.”

“Alabama State University has the best, hands down!! I have to give love to the SWAC as a whole, though…the SWAC doesn’t field any weak bands!”


“Come on bruh…how do you have any discussion of best HBCU bands and leave off SC State? That is just unexcusable.”

“It is really impossible to say there is one band that is truly the best but in terms of the top ones, here is my list:
NC A&T (nobody is touching the Blue Steel drumline) Blue & Gold Marching Machine

S.C. State

Southern Univ
Bethune Cookman
Jackson State
Tennessee State
NC Central
Howard Univ.

Talk about some passion? Hey, it’s out there and it’s definitely good to see. Also, I’d like to give a shout out to everyone for keeping it clean (and keeping it real). There’s a tendency to go overboard when there’s a passionate subject on the table, but everyone has been cool. Thanks.

And let’s keep the discussion rolling ……

26 comments Add your comment

Decatur 4 Life

October 2nd, 2009
12:03 pm

That’s a no-brainer, it’s got to be the Human Jukbox at THE Southern University. We set the standard for excellence as it relates to marching bands, we made it popular to be in a marching band. Dr. Greggs, best band director in history.


October 2nd, 2009
12:32 pm

Morehouse “The House of Funk”. We’re not big band as far as band members, but we sound better then most bands that are twice our size. Plus, our music is very clear!

T. A. Hutchies

October 2nd, 2009
4:24 pm

Enter your comments here Beloved brethren I am rpoud to shout out the Marching Tigers of Savannah State University. i had the priviledge of holding down the drumline in the year of Our Lord 19 and 66 God Bless You


October 2nd, 2009
5:00 pm

Historically, FAMU, Southern and Jackson State are 1st tier and stay consistent Bethune is underrated. Locally Mo’Brown was tight back in the day until they ran into problems. NC A&T? SC State ? -suspect. Morehouse?- WTF.


October 2nd, 2009
11:06 pm

o.k…..even though i live in seoul, i attended HBCU in Atlanta…an oh yes, i`m from decatur so i know all about the band competition…hands down, FAMU is one of the `best`..i just wish that I could see more `live` performances from Seoul….
peace out


October 3rd, 2009
3:10 am

Norfolk State is the best overall package and combination of fun, musicianship, tradition and innovation. FAMU and Bethune are a close second.

ATL Life

October 4th, 2009
10:45 am

In the SIAC – the Ft. Valley State University Marching Showband however, I love Grambling State University, Southern University, and Jackson State. FAMU is a huge band…that is it…And what makes a band complete? Dancing dolls of course…which FAMU does not have!!!


October 4th, 2009
5:53 pm

BEHOLD THE GREEN AND THE GOLD!!! The Spartan Legion has one of the most precise, cleanest sounding bands in the land. We lack a little showmanship these days though… But Grambling, FAMU, and Southern, puts on some of the best overall shows. The sounds may not be as precise…

Mceachren connection

October 4th, 2009
7:50 pm

Savannah state, is the most prolific and dynamic band in the south, the
coastal connection is head and shoulders above the rest of the HBC’s
also rans, it’s a battle for second of which everyone else is striving
for. Year in and year out excellence, in showmanship and musical talent
is evident. This musicians are of extraordinary madnitude, they indeed
have our gratitude.


October 5th, 2009
10:48 am

Come on! We all know you have heard of the Marching Pipers of the Glooooooorious Tuskegee University….Jaaaammm Pipers Jam. Jaaaammm Pipers Jam

"On The Hill"

October 5th, 2009
10:55 am

Alabama A.& M. University marching “Maroon and White”!!!

J Lew

October 5th, 2009
11:09 am

Hands down it has to be The Marching 101 of South Carolina State University… Next question please…


October 5th, 2009
11:20 am

You cannot leave out Alabama State University, one of the best by far and perform with Dr. Oliver at the helm CONSISTENTLY. I think Black schools will always be competitive in the music arena b/c we just love music and bands.


October 5th, 2009
11:23 am

The real GSU…Grambling State University. I thought you knew!

Add Seymour

October 5th, 2009
11:35 am

A lot of people get biggest and best mixed up (especially since a lot of bands are playing the same stuff these days — no more Michael Jackson tributes PLEASE!!). FAMU will always have a great sound and look good on the field as they have ten million members.
But the TSU Aristocrat of Bands ALWAYS plays better than they do. Sit in the stands during a game, especially in the third and fourth quarter. FAMU band is straight boring. The Crat? Listen sometime to how they play The Show by Doug E. Fresh and you’ll see what I’m talking about…..

GA Girl

October 5th, 2009
11:35 am

That depends on who has the best grades, highest percentage of graduation and obtaining jobs in reputable fields. Also, who can say this or that, rather than dis or dat! You see what I’m sayin’?


October 5th, 2009
11:41 am

SC State Marching 101 is the best. A lot of people who comment don’t even know what HBCU stands for and the schools that are HBCU’s.


October 5th, 2009
12:05 pm

@Leo- You stirring the pot again. Let me Help you out
Forget LAMU Rattlers, forget the Sonic Boon, forget the SU Laguars



October 5th, 2009
12:25 pm

Clark Atlanta University without a doubt

Funny Comments

October 5th, 2009
6:08 pm

I love the dancing girls but look at the pool….

Any Questions?

Take away half the votes….Still #1 LOL

Funny Comments

October 5th, 2009
6:09 pm

I love the dancing girls but look at the poll….

Any Questions?

Take away half the votes….Still #1 LOL


October 7th, 2009
2:30 pm

For thirty years I have roamed the sidelines, sat in the stands and filmed halftimes from the press box. I am at someone’s game (sometimes two) each and every Saturday. I marched in bands (high school and college) and understand and appreciate what it takes to put together a halftime show. I have seen them all, heard them all and recorded all. I can say, without question, that despite all the accolades lauded upon FAMU and Grambling, your bands are living off reputations. Florida A&M’s field show is a complete joke, although their concert formation piece is excellent. Grambling, people are watching you and laughing. Jackson State is consistent and always entertaining. Tennessee State will never be embarrassed by anyone. Bethune-Cookman, Prarie View A&M and South Carolina State are all good bands. Now, with all that said, I’m not going into a long-drawn out explanation about the best band around. I didn’t attend this school, so I’m not a blind loyalist like most of you. If you truly know anything about musicianship, showmanship and without question, the most daring music arrangements around, simply stated….it’s Southern.

An Observation

October 8th, 2009
11:23 am

Some people commenting here and throwing out names are seriously confusing BIG AND LOUD with quality and musicianship. BEST does not equate to being BIG AND LOUD!!!!


October 9th, 2009
10:27 am

Seymour, it’s obvious you hear less. TSU sounds like a transister radio on the field and in the stands at the GA Dome. FAMU Band blew you guys at the dome and anywhere else. TSU needs some serious help on the field. Its bad to not hear your band when they turn their back, but at least increase your sound when facing. The Aristocraps of Band is true.


October 18th, 2009
11:00 am

Is this really up for discussion? FAMU. Now, pose a serious question.


October 21st, 2009
11:57 pm

My opinion is different than most of the peeps who have made their comments. I could be bias since I grew up in SW Georgia and lived within 5 hours geographically of 15 HBCU’s ranging from BC down in Daytona to A&M in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s very east to say a band with over 300+ members who is very loud is the baddest band alive, but unless you have actually played music and appreciate it, a group of 100 will always beat a group of 400 blaring their lungs out!!

That said this Battle of the Bands is really not up for discussion unless you can get all of the HBCU Bands in one area and everyone goes for it!! Then and only then will this saga end!!

I have my favorites but then I would be bias as well!

Also I think that is what’s being lost in this discussion: Are we talking about good music that gets the 74 yr ole grandpa up on his feet or the current state of music of 3 or 4 notes and ladies dressing in short and skimpy(probably misspelled this, but in a rush: military compputer)outfits?

Lots of rambling, but we have to have ALL HBCU’S in 1 place to decide it all!!

Stay strong my people and GOD Bless each and everyone of you!

Add your comment