Weeks 1-3: Winners and Losers

WINNERS:

Periscope – The band world has been changed. Get ahead or get left behind. Really, you are doing a disservice to yourself as a bandhead if you don’t have it by now.

Verizon and AT&T – If you stream at a game, these are the only carriers that will get you somewhere.

Portable Chargers and Unlimited Data Plans – If you know like I know, you will have a portable charger for all the streaming. And unlmited data plans are a periscope life-saver.

Young(er) Band Directors – Let me tell yall, these younger HBCU band directors (and assistant directors) are really doing their thing. I am not knocking the older directors, but it is a new era for HBCU bands, and I’m here for it. They are breathing new life and energy into the craft.  Hampton, Morehouse, Southern, AAMU, Tennessee State initially come to mind.

Small(er) bands with BIG sounds – Elizabeth City, Virginia Union, and NCCU just to name a few. And ECSU and VUU have FEMALE band directors — I see you!!! You ladies are making me proud.

FAMU – This may be controversial, but I consider FAMU to be a ‘sleeper band’ this year. Do yall notice nobody (in a large sense) is really “checking” for FAMU outside of alumni? I never thought I would see the day when FAMU was considered a sleeper band. But I think they will be sneaking up on some folks.
See yall at the Honda, because I know they will be there this year. That’s just how Honda rolls.

Piccolos – It feels like for the first time, my beloved woodwind brethren gets some shine.  Even in brass-heavy bands like Southern and Talladega, they are making an impact.

LOSERS:

Periscope – Yeah, they are winners AND losers. Losers, because now that everybody wants to stream in the same area, it impacts the quality of the sound and picture. I’m still here for Periscope, though.

Sprint, T-mobile, Virgin, Cricket, US Cellular, RayRay’s wireless, et al. – If you have one of these providers, just go ahead and give it up. Just stop.  See, I know I have Sprint, I know I’m losing. That’s why instead of streaming, I just share streams of other bandheads. I stay in my lane, and you should too.

Shrinking bands – Now, I will take a powerful block 96 band over a messy 128 any day.  I am definitely NOT against small bands. But what is going on with Virginia State, Howard, Clark Atlanta, JCSU, Lincoln, just to name a few? They used to have decent numbers but have declined in recent years. Shoddy administration, shrinking budgets, lack of alumni support, dried up scholarship funds….I can’t even.

ESPN3 – I’m so over them and their false promises of showing halftime. Hello!!! Halftime consists of showing more than a song, which oh-so-coincidentally is the one song where the band forms ESPN on the field (what a surprise).

Talladega – Once a sleeper band, now they underwhelm me. Every time I have seen them this year, I have been let down. They are loud though.

Small bands with small sounds – Interpret that as you wish. There are too many of these groups out there, many because of circumstances beyond their control.

Trumpets – Why are so many trumpet sections getting buried by low brass this year? Southern, Jackson, Dega, Bama State, etc… Used to be trumpets came a dime a dozen, but now you can barely hear them. Jackson State’s version of Jupiter without a strong trumpet line hurt my soul.

Musical chairs of HBCU band directors – I have noticed that certain schools have a certain group of band directors that rotate few years. At least it seems that way. How is your program supposed to get some stability with these director musical chairs? I’m not mad at the directors, they gotta pay bills. But dayum.

What an interesting 3 weeks. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.

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