Battle of the Bands

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The LaFayette High School band became the spectators during a trip to the State Farm Arena in Atlanta to watch a college battle of the bands on Jan. 15. 

Eight HBCU (Historically black colleges and universities) college marching bands, including Alabama State University, faced off against each other to the entertainment of the LaFayette Marching Bulldogs. LaFayette High School Band Director Jared Willis wanted to show his students what college-level band looked like. 

“I wanted to give the kids an experience of you know, just seeing college bands in action because I wasn’t able to take them to see a college band this past year’s football season,” Willis said. 

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The HBCU Culture Legacy Foundation hosted the weekend kickoff as the nonprofit’s annual $10 million HBCU support campaign. The HBCU Culture Battle Of The Bands at the State Farm Arena featured Talladega College, Fort Valley State University, Texas Southern University, Alabama State University, Benedict College and Alabama A&M University. 

Willis said he was glad for the opportunity to get the kids out of LaFayette for a relaxing day after all their hard work practicing during the season. 

Some former LaFayette High band members now attend Alabama State University. LaFayette alumni Darshunna Seroyer, Delarric Holloway and Anquavion Presley performed with their college band.

When he saw that Alabama State would be in the battle, Willis hoped to encourage more students to pursue music after high school. 

“It was kind of a breathtaking, fresh atmosphere,” Willis said.

The HBCU Culture Legacy Foundation provides resources to HBCU colleges and students. The goal is to “keep HBCUs open, students enrolled and alleviate dropout rates due to financial hardship.”

The 2023 participants were Southern University versus Alabama State, Jackson State University versus Miles College and Talladega versus Alabama A&M. The event included a drumline battle and a mass band performance.