There Will Now Be a HBCU Marching Band National Championship Competition

The first-ever historically Black college and university marching band national championships will take place in Atlanta in December prior to the Celebration Bowl football game that will crown the HBCU national football champion. The band championships will be operated in partnership with ESPN Events. HBCU marching bands from Division I and Division II will compete throughout the season to earn the right to showcase their talent in Atlanta and vie for the coveted title, ‘Band of the Year.’

John T. Grant, executive director of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and Celebration Bowl, explained that “starting at the top of the season, bands will be evaluated by a committee of band experts, similar to the College Football Playoff model. Each week, there is an evaluation of their performances. A ranking will come out twice a month. We’re going to be looking at things like precision, musicality, originality, your drumline, drum majors, and dance lines.” The rankings list will be on ESPN, and the four top-ranked bands, the top two from each division, will compete in Atlanta for the national championship.

For many years the Honda Battle of the Bands showcase has taken place. Typically eight HBCU bands were selected to perform together on one field but no champion was crowned.

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