Houston Tx (June 23rd, 2020) — You can smell it in the air … that time of the year is getting close and Wednesday’s announcement shows just how close we are. Band season is literally right around the corner and now, we know who’s going to be battling it out in Houston’s NRG Stadium to set the tone for the “Post-Pandemic” season. And let’s just say, some of these matchups can get really interesting. Three bands from the east are coming down south for a “heat check” against some of the nation’s premiere HBCU programs. Of course the south is well represented, but here’s the thing, of the schools coming from the south, there’ll be some legendary programs all under one roof. Including one who just got a new band director, that’ll be going up against his alma mater…

These are the eight schools that’ll be going at it on the field and in the stands:

Norfolk State University (Marching Spartan Legion): This is probably the most unique band in the competition. The legion is known for their precision, musicality and unique military style. Their theme “Behold/Bescared” will be echoed throughout the stadium to announce their arrival/departure and can actually be heard in their other arrangements. They have a sound a lot of the bands in attendance are not used to hearing.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (Blue & Gold Marching Machine): Another band coming from the east. The Blue and Gold Marching Machine prides themselves on halftime. This band is known for putting on a show full of creativity when they’re on that field. With this band you’re getting more than the usual at halftime. Don’t sleep on their wall of sound either, they’re known for blowing on bands that sleep on them in the stands.

Bethune-Cookman University (Marching Wildcats): This band from the Florida coast is known for not only their consistency but mastery of ballads. Their symphonic sound gives them a very full sound. One mistake any band can make against the Marching Wildcats is slowing it down. They thrive on those type of arrangements.

Langston University (Marching Pride): The Marching Pride is an upcoming HBCU band from Oklahoma. They’ve been turning heads for the last 3-4 years and now they plan on putting the band world on notice. The Marching Pride is going to have something to prove in Houston, so expect them to come out the gate SWINGING.

Texas Southern University (Ocean of Soul):The Ocean of Soul is always known to bring a wave of sound no matter how big they are. The hire this program just made was the talk of the band world on Wednesday and all eyes will be on him when the Ocean of Soul march in NRG Stadium. Brian K. Simmons, now the former Assistant Band Director from the Southern University Human Jukebox, has a band of his own now and a lot of people in the band world are ready to see the product he puts out there.

Southern University and A&M College (The Human Jukebox): Another band known for their consistency. They’re nickname is very appropriate … the Jukebox is known for their power and extensive book. This band’s book is very long and like a radio on the jukebox, always up to date with today’s current songs. They have constantly been a top five band for years and come August they’re going to show everyone why.

Jackson State University (Sonic Boom of the South): The Sonic Boom of the South is known for putting on a show from the minute they enter the stadium to the moment they kick down before getting on the bus. From the front of the parade block with the drum majors, to the back with “War & Thunder” (JSU Drumline) everybody is always full of energy. They’ll also always generate crowd engagement. The Boom likes to be outside of the box. They have a book with unique, dark sounding arrangements and song selections like “Scar” and “Circle of Life”.

Tennessee State University (Aristocrat of Bands): This band from Tennessee is known for their musicality. They’re often very balanced when it comes to their sound, they always sounds like one. Their arrangements almost always match the original songs on the radio. Expect to hear every section, from the woodwinds to the tubas. This is a band that’s often slept on and they’re going to make sure everybody’s awake and paying attention in Houston.

The stage is set for the 2021 National Battle of the Bands. Which program will make the best impression? That’s for you to decide, but either way with these eight bands you can expect it to be a memorable night for the band world.

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