As High School Day continued at our school, the atmosphere remained electric, with over 650 high school students immersing themselves in the vibrant culture of our campus. However, on this day, the show’s true stars were not athletes or Greek organizations but the “Langston University Marching Pride,” our renowned marching band.
Before delving into my experience with the Langston University Marching Pride, it’s essential to understand the profound significance of HBCU bands. While larger, predominantly white institutions (PWIs) often focus on sports like football at HBCUs, the heartbeat of the campus often thrives behind the rhythmic beats of the marching band. For Black college enthusiasts, having a thriving band is not just a source of pride; it’s a bragging right.
The modern HBCU marching band as we know it today traces its origins back to June 1, 1946, with the creation of the Marching “100” at Florida A&M College (FAMU). While other HBCUs had field bands before, such as Tuskegee Institute in the early 1900s, the Marching “100” marked the beginning of the modern HBCU marching band era. Today’s youth remember the movie “Drumline,” which celebrates black bands. The roots are profound for the role of bands in black colleges.
Now, back to the High School Day at Langston University, where I encountered the “Langston University Marching Pride” for the first time. I had never heard of this band before. However, as the band took the stage and began to play, memories from my undergraduate days flooded back. It was an emotional experience that transcended time and space.
Songs like “When the Saints Come Marching On” and “Talking with the Side of Your Neck” took me down memory lane. With their infectious melodies, these tunes have been a part of the HBCU band tradition for generations.
What truly surprised me was the sound of the Langston University Marching Pride. With solid horns and an unmistakable SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) sound, they brought a unique energy to the campus. It was no wonder the crowd was captivated, enthusiastically reacting to every note, especially during the drum line performances.
Watching the band and observing the crowd’s reactions, I knew I was immersed in the black college experience. The passion, the history, and the sense of unity that HBCU bands evoke are unlike anything else. They are a testament to these institutions’ rich cultural heritage and enduring legacy.
And as this remarkable weekends, I can’t help but share an additional highlight. On Friday, my family attended HBCU Night at the Thunder basketball game. To our delight, the Langston Band graced the halftime performance. My wife Estraletta and granddaughter Zeal joined the festivities, proudly donning their Lion apparel. During this memorable evening, I enjoyed running into IT Director Ayana Talley. It has been a grand week filled with the joy of music and the warmth of togetherness!
As we continue to celebrate the significance of HBCU bands, let us remember that they are not just a source of entertainment but a symbol of our pride, resilience, and the power of our collective spirit. The Langston University Marching Pride has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on our campus, reinforcing the undeniable significance of HBCU bands in shaping our cultural identity and the memories they create. ???????????? #HBCUBands #CulturalHeritage #LangstonPride