2,200 Strong – 10 of America’s Top HBCU Marching Bands Harness the ‘Power of Dreams’ At the 2009 Honda Battle of the Bands
January 25, 2009
As the curtain dramatically closed on the seventh annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase, 10 of America’s top Historically Black College and University [HBCU] marching bands brought the house down, leaving themselves completely spent of energy, but their souls fulfilled. They brought their all, but left every bit of it on the field of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, as the widely acknowledged “Super Bowl of Black College Marching Bands” concluded.
The 2009 Invitational Showcase, aptly themed “The Power of Dreams,” had special significance as the nation inaugurated its first African-American president. With one renowned HBOB band—the Florida A&M University “Marching 100”—just returning from having marched in the presidential inauguration parade in Washington, D.C., this year has already proven a dream come true for many HBCU student musicians.
January 23, 2009
The band will take the field during the pre-game show Feb. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Marching Wildcats will perform eight to 10 songs at approximately 6 p.m., with kickoff set for 6:28 p.m.
“For a marching band, there’s no bigger stage to play on than the Super Bowl playing field,” B-CU band director Donovan Wells said. “We’re working hard to put on a great show for all the fans.”
The band has 320 musicians, not counting members of the Sophisticat Flag Corps and the 14KT Gold Dancers.
The Marching Wildcats have performed at halftime shows for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at the pre-race show of the Daytona 500 and on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”
January 23, 2009
As the Marching 100 made its presence known down Pennsylvania Avenue, there were the many spectators….and of course, the president.
But one thing was missing.
FAMU Drum Player Dante Martin says, “We were originally supposed to stop for President Obama and do like a dance routine salute for him.”
But Senator Ted Kennedy’s seizure caused a delay in the parade, so once the parade finally began, it had to be rushed, meaning there was no time to stop and dance.
FAMU Saxophone Player Joshua Green says, “I was a little disappointed, I mean we practiced on it day after day after day, and it was freezing and my fingers almost fell off.” Read more
January 23, 2009
David “Fathead Newman
Versatile Reed Man Played with a Who’s Who of Jazz, Blues
Tenor saxophone giant David ‘Fathead’ Newman has succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Tuesday in Kingston, NY. He was 75.
Newman was a key member of Ray Charles’ band for a dozen years and can be heard on many of Charles’ hits, including “I Got a Woman,” “What’d I Say” and “Lonely Avenue.” He was also a high-profile session player.
Born in Texas on February 24, 1933, Newman grew up in Dallas, where he first studied piano before taking up the saxophone. He earned the name “Fathead” from his high school band teacher because he stubbornly refused to learn to read music, preferring to play by ear.
He attended Jarvis Christian College on a scholarship but after three years he returned to music, playing mostly jazz and blues with musicians including Buster Smith, Lloyd Glenn, Lowell Fulson and T-Bone Walker. Read more