Bethune-Cookman University to perform in HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands

Event is Feb. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta

The Wildcat Band of Bethune Cookman University performs at a 2012 Jaguars game.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University’s band, the Marching Wildcats, will join five other college marching bands to participate in the HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, according to a news release.

The six bands – all from historically black colleges and universities – will compete on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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The college bands performing are:

  • Alabama State University – Mighty Marching Hornets
  • North Carolina A&T – Blue and Gold Marching Machine
  • Bethune-Cookman University – Marching Wildcats
  • South Carolina State University – Marching 101
  • Norfolk State University – Spartan Legion Band
  • Tennessee State University – Aristocrat of Bands

The release, which said the event has showcased more than 35,000 student musicians over the last 17 years, will also feature two Atlanta high school marching bands—Pebblebrook High School’s Mighty Marching Machine and Westlake High School’s Mighty Marching Lions.

“The HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands is all about legacy – the legacy of this event and the legacy of HBCU culture. For the 18th year in a row, we’re bringing together the top HBCUs for a weekend viewers will never forget. The electric feeling from each performance is a moment you’ll never forget,” Tom Grabowski, founder of the HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, said in a statement.

The event that welcomes 60,000 attendees, will also host a college fair and a community-centered event at the College Football Hall of Fame.

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According to the release, 45 different HBCUs from around the country will waive student application fees, accept applications on-site and even offer opportunities for scholarships. High school students and recent graduates are invited to attend the college fair, averaging 7,000 attendees in past years, prior to the band performances from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Students put their hearts and souls into their schools’ band performances, and when they take center stage in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, all the hours poured into perfecting their craft will have been worth it,” Grabowski said.

The HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands will be hosted by actor and television personality Rashan Ali and radio broadcaster KD Bowe.

“To me, HBCU culture means Black legacy. It means Black excellence,” KD Bowe said. “It means a culture of Black youth who are committed to either changing the narrative of negativity associated with their last name or living up to the expectations of a family who has already changed that narrative and will not let them fail. I love us! There’s no culture like us anywhere in the world.”

Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster starting at $24 each.

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About the Author:

Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.