DRUMLINE LIVE is this weekend! Click HERE for ticket info.
The HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Marching Band has easily become, in my opinion, a true art form. Sometimes referred to as “show bands,” this spin-off of more traditional marching band styles began to take shape post-Civil War during the Reformation period. During this time, philanthropists, freed slaves, religious organizations, and even federal legislation, were establishing institutions of higher learning, for African-Americans, across the nation.
Between the 1940’s and 1960’s, flourishing band programs were established at institutions like Tuskegee University, Florida A&M University, and Tennessee State University, just to name a few. These Marching Bands performed extremely entertaining and creative shows that incorporated musical influences of African-American culture such as gospel, Rhythm and Blues, and jazz, while still maintaining the traditional repertoire and aspects of Marches. These bands also began to integrate dance routines and choreography to their performances, which further related to, and appealed to, the culture of its members and audiences and beyond.
Now that the history lesson is over, I can tell you what really made me understand the appeal of what we do. Drumline Live! has performed throughout the United States, and has been well received all over the country, but I must say that the international tour, in which the cast traveled to Japan and South Korea, really opened my eyes as to how special our craft is world-wide. Don’t get me wrong, our fans in the States are wonderful and we feel the appreciation and love night after night, but overseas is on a whole different level! To say we’re treated like Rockstars would be and understatement. The energy, excitement, and appreciation from foreign audiences is like nothing I’ve ever experienced! I’ve seen fans ask for autographs, trembling with tears in their eyes because they were so excited about our show and seeing us up close!
The most amazing thing to me is that people on the opposite side of the planet, could enjoy and appreciate what I’ve taken for granted for most of my life as just “Marching Band.” This is when I realized that no one else in the world does what we do! Drumline Live! takes the steps to demonstrate an art that is completely unique to the HBCU culture and the United States, and brings it to audiences worldwide. If that isn’t an aspect of a true art form, I don’t know what is.