Fall 2013 marks the 15th(!!!!) Season I have been following HBCU marching bands through my online community, The 5th Quarter, better known as 5Q…. well, technically The Ranks. It all started in Fall 1998 after the Prairie View/Southern band fight when I got fed up with TV reporters dismissing “those band geeks” and decided to create a website to discuss about HBCU bands, because although I didn’t condone the fight, to quote Chris Rock “I understand”. 15 years, many friends, even more arguments, and HUNDREDS of games later we are in 2013.
But this technically isn’t the 15th year I have been following HBCU bands – I’ve been around them as long as I can remember. I am the product of a HBCU band relationship turned 40 year marriage. My parents were part of a group that established an alumni band when I was 13 MONTHS old. I remember going to games at Hampton Institute (yes, Institute) and sitting with my Big Mama when I was 5 years old and being amazed at halftime shows. I remember old school Battle of the Bays….the Bayou Classic….mid 80’s Norfolk State…..a Sarge led South Carolina State College (yes, College)…when BET showed not only HBCU football games but the ENTIRE halftime……and of course going to games with my parents at North Carolina A&T. Lots and lots of A&T games and lots of A&T performances…..
So if I count up the time I have been following HBCU bands, at least old enough so that I could remember specific parts of shows, we are talking close to 30 years. I am blown even typing that.
I don’t claim to know EVERYTHING about HBCU bands, but I’ve got 25+ years of knowledge, observations, and personal experience. I’m not a director or a staff member, but I’ve marched, I’ve traveled, and most importantly, I’ve learned. I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen it most.
I have quite a few opinions on the state of HBCU bands, our history, where it’s going in the future, so I decided to document them here. Hopefully some will agree with me and hopefully some will learn. Some may disagree but that’s ok.
These are the opinions of me, and only me. I do not speak for the The 5th Quarter, North Carolina A&T, the Blue and Gold Marching Machine, or anybody else.
Don’t worry, it’s not gonna get too preachy in here, I plan on posting clips too. That’s what it’s all about, right?