Battle of the Bands

by Nadia Reese
Donovan Wells photo from stage13.com
Donovan Wells photo from stage13.com

   For the first time in more than a decade, the Marching Wildcatsband will not be taking part in the

annual Honda Battle of the Bands showcase next year in Atlanta.

The Bethune-Cookman University band, which is knownnationally and internationally,

apparently did not garner enough votes this year. Honda invited all HBCU marching bands to

participate in this year's program. The "final eight" bands were selected from among 38 bands

that chose to participate through a voting process that included fans, band directors, HBCU

school presidents and Honda representatives.

The four bands that received the highest number of votes automatically secured their spots in the lineup while the other four bands were selected by the HBOB committee.

Each of the eight bands will receive a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music

education program, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to the Invitational Showcase in

January 2020.

"Marching bands are the cornerstone of HBCU culture, and through Honda Battle of the

Bands, we are able to bring together students, alumni, fans and supporters in celebration of

their incredible talents," said Steve Morikawa, vice president of corporate relations and

social responsibility for American Honda in a release.

For 16 years the Honda Battle of the Bands had been invitingbands from all Historically

Black Colleges and Universities. "The Marching Wildcats havebeen there for 13 of the 16

years," B-CU band director Donovan Wells said. "I'm not upset byit and my students are not

upset by it."

The Marching Wildcats have been the only band to play at theHonda Battle of the Bands

for 13 years, which is more than what any other band has achieved. The next closest

bands to play for many years are the Jackson State University'sSonic Boom of the South

Marching Band, Prairie View A&M University's Marching Stormand Tennessee State

University's Aristocrats of Bands, which played for nine years.

"We've done so many things on the national and internationallevel," Wells said, noting

the band's appearance in the film "Drumline" starring Nick Cannonand Zoe Saldana, among

others. The Marching Wildcats also have appeared on television on the "Ellen" daytime show and in a

commercial for Cadillac.