VSU Marching Band Named Best Division II HBCU Band In The Country
The Trojan Explosion Marching Band will compete against Florida Memorial for ESPN’s HBCU Band of the Year in the Division II/NAIA category.
Virginia State University is proud to announce that the Trojan Explosion Marching Band has been named the top Division II HBCU band in the country in 2023, according to ESPN. The band will now compete in ESPN’s inaugural HBCU Band of The Year competition, which will take place on December 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. They will compete against Florida Memorial, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), to take home the distinguished title of HBCU Band of the Year in the Division II/NAIA category.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as one of the best HBCU bands in the country,” said VSU Director of Marching and Pep Bands, Dr. Taylor Whitehead. “The band has worked incredibly hard and has had some amazing performances over the past year. When we take the stage at ESPN’s first Band of the Year competition, it will be a great opportunity for our students to show the whole country that Greater Happens at VSU.”
The Trojan Explosion Marching Band was selected after finishing in the top two of ESPN’s Band of the Year rankings. VSU ranked third on the first list released in September and then climbed to the number two spot on the final list released in November. Only the top two bands in the Division I and Division II/NAIA categories were invited to the competition.
Important band components such as auxiliaries, drum majors, musicality, percussion, and drill/marching/maneuvering were used to select the finalists. Judges scored individual performances based on these specified areas.
At different points, VSU ranked first in the nation in drum majors, auxiliary, and percussion.
“We could not be prouder of our band and our Department of Music for this outstanding achievement,” said Dr. Tia A. Minnis, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “These students have continued to show off their remarkable talent, not just as musicians but as academic scholars as well. They will have the support of the entire Trojan community when they take the stage in Atlanta.”
The ESPN HBCU Band of The Year competition will cap off an impressive year for the university’s band. In February, they were invited to perform at the White House and on The NBC Today Show. The band also performed at the National Battle of the Bands competition in Houston, Texas, in August and was featured on a Fox Sports segment highlighting the best HBCU bands in the country.
The performance will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus on December 15 at 6:00 pm.