Our Top HBCU Bands poll has returned. That’s right, we are thrilled to relaunch the only HBCU Top Bands poll that actually surveys the
Our Top HBCU Bands poll returned for the fifth year. This year, we partnered with MARCH, a docu series on the CW, that showcases the dedicated and talented band and staff members including musicians, drum majors, dancers, flag team and faculty advisors as they navigate performing while maintaining academic excellence. The series chronicles Prairie View A&M University’s pressure-filled journey to become the top-ranked HBCU band.
For 30 days, we surveyed the public. The poll remained open throughout Black History Month and the first week of HBCU Month. Thousands voted. In fact, this year, we collected more than 52% more votes than the Top HBCU Bands poll we ran in 2018. We are pleased to share the people’s choice, and announce the 2022 Top HBCU Bands.
5. Texas Southern University – Ocean of Soul Marching Band
With more than 5% of the poll, Texas Southern University’s Ocean of Soul Marching Bands claims the fifth spot, on a list of more than 30 historically-Black marching bands. TSU’s Ocean of Soul was founded at Houston College for Negroes during the 1945 – 1946 school year. Led by Director Brian Simmons, the band is dubbed the “9th wonder of the world.” Ocean of Soul has performed at games for every major sports team in Houston, including Super Bowl XXXVIII, NBA All-Star Pregame Concert, 2014 NFL Hall of Fame Induction Parade and the 2017 Houston Astros World Series Victory Parade
4. Four – North Carolina A&T State University – Blue & Gold Marching Machine
Hailing from North Carolina A$T State University in Greensboro, NC, the Blue and Gold Marching Machine (BGMM) is ranked Top HBCU Band No. 4, sweeping over 7% of the vote by itself. The band was founded in 1918, with a 50-piece band and is under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Ruth. When this marching band lists its resume, they have an extensive list of performance and an extensive list of public service activities. Congratulations to the NCA&T Aggies.
3. Three – Florida A&M University – The Marching 100
Congratulations to Top HBCU Band, Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) The Marching 100. With more than 18% of the total poll, the FAMU Rattlers are unquestionably, a fan favorite. Founded in 1892 under the tutelage of P.A. Van Weller. From a meager store of 16 instruments, the Marching “100” has grown to over 420 members. The massive band doesn’t let its size subtract from its precision. Under the leadership of Dr. Sylvester Young, “The 100” are known as “The Most Imitated Marching Band in America.”
2. Prairie View A&M University – The Marching Storm
With a whopping 22% of the entire 2022 Top HBCU Bands poll on its own, we celebrate Prairie View A&M University’s (PVAMU) The Marching Storm Band for the true force of nature that it is. Dr. Timmey T. Zachery is the director of the historically-renowned marching band that was founded during World War II. Over the years, the purple and gold team of precision has had several impressive performances including a Presidential Inauguration Parade and several NFL Halftime Shows inclusive of Super Bowl XLV and one alongside Destiny’s Child.
This academic year, PVAMU’s Band program was the subject of a new hit docu series on The CW, entitled “MARCH.” In fact, after a 3-year hiatus, we relaunched our Top HBCU Bands poll, in celebration of the series. The PVAMU Panthers show the world just how hard they hustle in the stands and as students. Make sure you catch MARCH on The CW, in the CW app, or watch online.
1. Tennessee State University – Aristocrat of Bands
In the last Top HBCU Bands competition, the winner collected 26% of the vote, and it was unprecedented. This year, our winner has increased the gap between itself and the other bands, setting itself apart even more.
We are pleased to announce Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) as the No. 1, 2022 Top HBCU Band, after receiving nearly ⅓ of the entire voting poll, a whopping 32.2%. This means, out of thousands of votes we collected, just 1 of every 3 votes was made for Tennessee State. We aren’t surprised, TSU has never played small. From the time of its inception in 1946, when it debuted as a 100-piece band —to more recent times, like when Tennessee State’s AOB was selected and invited to The White House by our nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama, the Nashville band has been making impressive moves. The marching band is also making history. In 1961, at the invitation of President John F. Kennedy, TSU became the first HBCU to march in a Presidential Inauguration. One of the students who marched in that parade was Edward L. Graves, who is the present director of “The Aristocrat of Bands,” and has been the director since 1979, 43 years! Congratulations are certainly in order.