Blue and Gold Marching Machine Wins Division I HBCU Band of the Year

By Jackie Torok / 12/16/2023 Students

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 18, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Blue and Gold Marching Machine (BGMM) has claimed the 2023 Division I HBCU (historically Black college or university) Band of the Year title.

Division I HBCU Band of the Year trophy for 2023BGMM faced off against Jackson State University’s Sonic Boom of the South on Friday, Dec. 15, in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta. The competition, presented by ESPN Events, was simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN+.

Watch the winning performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHT1UEcC5Dc

Throughout the season, a panel of experts in marching bands provided rankings of HBCU band performances based on musicianship, accuracy, drum line, drum majors, dance corps and other relevant criteria.

The top two ranked bands from Division I and Division II conferences earned the right to compete for the national championship and the title of Band of the Year ahead of the Cricket Celebration Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16.

BGMM was to perform again Sunday, Dec. 17, in Charlotte, North Carolina, during halftime of the NFL matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons as part of the home team’s Inspire Change game with the theme “Representation Matters: Celebrating Black Culture,” presented by Daimler Truck North America.

Both events were a prelude to BGMM’s performance in the 135th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2024. The event in Pasadena, California, is expected to be viewed by 46 million people worldwide. Presented in 2024 by Honda, the theme is “Celebrating a World of Music.” 

Tournament of Roses President Alex Aghajanian said BGMM was among the 20 exceptional bands selected to participate based on its “musicianship, showmanship and amazing talent.”

BGMM will join other bands hailing from diverse corners of the world, including Costa Rica, Japan and Sweden, to march five miles down Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards for the iconic event.

“These events are great opportunities to not only showcase the excellence of our students to national audiences, but also to expand our students’ horizons,” said Kenneth Ruff, Ed.D., A&T director of bands.

BGMM consists of about 200 students from diverse majors and concentrations, making it the largest student organization on the A&T campus. It performs different genres of music, incorporating all styles of marching and maneuvering, at a variety of school and community functions throughout the year.

An enduring source of Aggie Pride, BGMM’s path to the Tournament of Roses Parade served as the theme for the university’s 97th annual Greatest Homecoming on Earth this year.

The fundraising effort for BGMM’s Pasadena performance continues. Supporters can donate quickly and securely by texting BGMM to 41444 or visiting https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/28065/donations/new and selecting “University Marching Band” in the designation line.

Checks made payable to North Carolina A&T State University – noting Tournament of Roses Parade in the memo – also can be mailed to North Carolina A&T State University, Division of University Advancement, 1601 E. Market St., Greensboro, NC 27411.

 All donations will assist the band with complete travel expenses.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

College News, Headlines, All News