TSU 2012

Nisha (MY SISSIE!), George, (Char)Maine, Cricket. Hey Now!
This would be TSU Homecoming 2012.

I started goin’ to my sissie’s Tennesee State homecomings back when she was a student.
And kept goin’ back because DAMN. That’s how you get live, y’all.
I enjoyed it so much that I insisted our cousin who went to ‘SC go because, sorry USC, THAT is not a homecoming.

TO BE FAIR, I suppose. At USC you go for the football.
And at HBCUs, it’s all about the Band.
I mean, yeah..all Colleges/Universities have bands, but HBCU GOT BANDS THAT MAKE YOU DANCE
(I promise that’s not Oscar winner, Juicy J guys. It’s safe to click)

ANYWAYS. Since we’re talking about HBCU bands, and we are, let’s talk about sommore black history. ‘Cause it’s still February.
In the US, black marching bands formed as part of the military with the earliest musicians being fifers, drummers, trumpeters and pipers in Colonial-era militias.
Historians believe that nearly 5,000 Blacks were integrated in the pre-revolutionary war military as musicians, because most units banned black, mulattos, or native Americans in the military from bearing arms.
(AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….*deep breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *cough*…. I wonder why?)

By the end of the Civil War, there were 185,000 black men inducted into the army as “United States Colored Troops”. Many would stay on after the war to form the first black units, while others went on to play in civilian bands.
Marching Bands had become integrated into the American Society by the late 19th century, including the first permanent black Minstrel troupes with one led by W.C. Handy.
These black Minstrel groups helped disseminate African-American styles of music and dance across the country.

Between 1880-1910 there were about 10,000 bands in the US, with many of them being Marching Bands. This was also the case in the African-American Community, especially in New Orleans, where black bands helped to raise money for numerous causes. Additionally, there was a rise in rural, self-taught bands that were strongly rooted in gospel and secular music- they basically replaced the voice using their instruments. Much of the music of these bands was characterized by offbeat phasing, polyrhythms, melodies and countermelody, syncopation and call-and-response patterns; all of which are hallmarks of other forms of African-American vernacular music. By the turn of the century, these bands were firmly established in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz and the blues.

During World War I, many black military units again had military bands. Upon their return to the US in 1919, many of these musicians went on to join the faculty of the budding music departments of black college and universities.
These bands were initially formed at these historically black colleges to help raise money. Traditionally, many of these marching bands were linked to the ROTC and supported by the athletic department. The first marching band to deviate the military drill type formations was the University of Illinois band, who formed letters, words and intricate patterns on the field while playing in 1905. Their band director, Albert Austin Harding is considered a pioneer of the modern marching band.

Likewise at HBCUs numerous faculty set up the foundation for the modern black marching bands, including Major Nathaniel Clark Smith, the first officially titled Band Director at an HBCU. AND. W.C Handy, who joined the faculty at Alabama A&M leading to the adoption of the minstrel band style into HBCU bands. By the 1960’s, HBCU marching bands had developed a distinctive performance style and tradition which will have folks who didn’t even GO to an HBCU harassing you to find out when is your next homecoming so they can be down there boogying with the band. And also drinking. Because it’s time to GET GEEKED Y’ALL, IT’S HOMECOMING WEEK, which means the Alpha Day party right after you leave the Battle of the Bands, WHICH ALSO MEANS DAY DRINKING. And football. I’m pretty sure there’s also a football game or something too.

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