(MMOT50) – This spring season has been anything but ordinary. Spring and football still sounds odd, as does Spring Marching Band. Thank you COVID.

This January, SWAC leadership announced their decision to permit bands to perform at home games only. This meant no visiting bands, no Battle of the Band events (a major fund raising vehicle for HBCU bands), and lastly the prohibition of attending Classic/Rivalry games(other than the home band). The latter, breaking tradition, yet borrowing the namesake as the Jackson State vs Southern game this spring was still dubbed, the “BoomBox” Classic, a moniker that combines the Sonic Boom of the South and the Human Jukebox. The game was still advertised as such, but Southern’s Human Jukebox again was prohibited from attending.

Photo Cred: MMW Instagram

On April 22nd, SWAC Commissioner Charles McClelland and other SWAC leadership contacted University leadership from Alabama A&M and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Both schools were informed that their respective bands were to attend the upcoming championship game scheduled for Saturday, May 1st 2021. Optional, no. Mandatory, yes.

Alabama A&M’s Marching Maroon and White had one performance this spring season. UAPB’s Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South also had one performance.

The rules were laid out before the season. Bands were forced to adapt and abide by these decisions. Bands marked their calendars and prepared for the select few home games on their schedules. And bands redirected their scope and focus on Fall 2021. As they should have. What reason would they have to place their resources, time or energy on this Spring? Again, the rules were already set.

Photo Cred: M4 Instagram

To those reading this editorial with fresh eyes and ears, and little to no understanding of band culture, especially HBCU band culture and more specifically SWAC band culture, I want you to walk away with an understanding that show style band isn’t a product that can be summoned in a week. Band is a Sport. Band takes hours, days, weeks, months of time, focus, energy and use of resources to put forth the product you see on Saturday afternoons. To those that made this decision last minute to have these bands perform, you likely fall within the group with little to no understanding.

This time, we’ll charge this to your mind, and not to your hearts… this one time.

To the Marching Maroon and White and the Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South, go out there and kick some ass this Saturday.

#PushTheCulture #PutSomeRespectOnTheCulture

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