The resounding blare of the brass and the beat of the drum signal an adrenaline rush and a rapid beating heart. Halftime is game time. There is nothing in the world like an HBCU marching band.
All movement in the stadium stops and eyes and ears are focused on the field. Whether it be the latest R&B hit or soul standard, the crowd will rock and sway as they sing to the top of their lungs. When the bass drum drops the beat of our newest rap favorite, look for the spectators to jump from their seat and dance.
In 1946, the HBCU bands we revere found their stride when Dr. William P. Foster of Florida A&M University transformed the collegiate marching band. The military style was forgotten as Dr. Foster incorporated current music and dances into the halftime routine. His deviation birthed the fifth quarter HBCU students, alumni and friends hold so dear.
Check out some of our favorite clips from Edward Waters’ Triple Threat, Alabama State’s Marching Hornets, North Carolina A&T’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine and Southern University’s Human Jukebox, respectively. And always remember, halftime matters most.
E. Clare Stewart is graduate of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, School of Graduate Studies and Research. She currently serves as a Technical Consultant for the Fisk-MMC HBCU Wellness Project. Follow her on twitter at @EClareStewart.