“Marching Maroon and White”
Alabama A&M University band program has been in existence since 1890. The progress of the program has been maintained by an outstanding team of musicians and teachers. Among these are William Grant Still, Sr. (The father of the renowned American composer William Grant Still, Jr.), William C. Handy, (universally known as the “Father of the Blues”), Wade Hammonds, (the first black to be appointed as Chief Musician Band Master in the United Stated Army), Thomas Dawson, James Wilson, Barney Smart, Sr., Arthur B. Wesley II, Interim Director of Bands Derrick K. Yates, and currently Professor Carlton J. Wright.
The “Marching Maroon and White” Band has revived an astounding sense of pride in the University through the student body, faculty, community, alumni, and the general public. This renewed sense of musical showmanship has prompted the Birmingham Grid Forecasters to select Alabama A&M University’s Band as “Band of the Year” for the following years: 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. This outstanding musical aggregation on November 27, 1983 provided the half-time entertainment of the Fulton County stadium for the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers game, which was televised nationally by CBS.
On January 15, 1990 in Atlanta, GA, the Alabama A&M University’s “Marching Maroon and White” Band was the lead organization for the Parade and “March of Celebration” that saluted the 61st anniversary and the fifth national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was the first time that the birthday anniversary of Dr. King and the national holiday occurred on the same date. The parade was televised live by the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), and was viewed by over one million people.
1991 was a banner year of commendations for the “Marching Maroon and White” Band. Request from a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated magazine concluded that the “Marching Maroon and White” Band was one of the Top Ten Marching Bands in the United States among Black Colleges and Universities. The Band also participated in the Atlanta “Bronze Classic” Collegiate Band Competition and was declared the winner for Best Drill Design. In 1996, the “Marching Maroon and White” Band was the opening act for the Olympic Soccer Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
On July 4, 1998 in Washington, D.C., The “Marching Maroon and White” Band was invited to represent the state of Alabama in the national Independence Day Parade sponsored by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.
During the year of 2000, the “Marching Maroon and White” Band was presented in a music documentary film called “Take the Field”. The Band can currently be heard playing on the CD by Lucy Pearl called “Dance Tonight” (the remix #5 “Lucy Pearls Tells”). The Wind Symphony conducted by Arthur B. Wesley, II and the Concert Band conducted by Derrick K. Yates can be heard on the CD entitled “In Spring Concert, 2002”.
By the votes of university presidents, athletic conference directors and the general public, the “Marching Maroon and White” Band was selected to perform in the “Honda Battle of the Bands” in the Georgia Dome on January 30, 2005.
The “Marching Maroon and White” Band marched at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on December 31, 2005.
On January 2, 2006, the “Marching Maroon and White” Band was the lead band for the Annual 117th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
The “Marching Maroon and White” Band was one of the featured bands, along with the Florida A&M University “Marching 100” Band for halftime during the United States Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamo Dome on January 7, 2006.
During the 2009 and 2010 Football season, the “Marching Maroon and White” band won the “Magic City Classic” halftime “Battle of the Bands” in Birmingham, AL.
In 2011, the “Marching Maroon and White” Band marched in the 2011 Inaugural Parade for newly elected Governor Robert Bentley. The Band was also selected to lead the 2011 nationally televised “Krewe of Endymion” Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans, LA. The “Marching Maroon & White” Band is an annual participant in the MLK Mardi Gras Parade in Mobile, AL.
The “Marching Maroon and White” was invited back to Honda Battle Of the Bands in 2014 with an awesome dedication to Grammy nominated group Outkast on their 20th reunion at the Georgia dome.
In 2015, the Marching Maroon and White was one of two bands selected to perform at the National Championship battle of the bands in Memphis, TN. The Marching Maroon and White was then invited and voted for the 2016 Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, GA. The performance gave a tribute to some of the artist greatest hits like Luther Vandross “A House is not a Home”, Natalie Cole “This will be” and a flag feature of Whitney Houston’s song “I’m your baby tonight” all while showcasing their high-stepping drill.