Marching to the Rhythm of Black Excellence: HBCU Band Directors Gear Up for a New Season on 6 Minutes To Glory
Mr. Carlton Wright, Alabama A&M University Band Director
What influences your song selections?
We have a committee of students who come with some of the songs for our band. In particular, they pick the music for the stands and dance routines. Generally, the band staff selects music for drills, dance, and flag feature for the field shows.
Why do you believe HBCU bands are having an increase in visibility?
I think that the Black Lives Matter Movement, starting with the George Floyd murder played a huge role in the increase of HBCUs in general. With HBCU band being the greatest ambassadors to our institutions, most of the attention came to our band programs. Also, Deion Sanders success at Jackson State helped with this visibility as more HBCU games got more air time.
When starting a song, is there a certain section you pay attention to?
Our arrangers try to match our songs with the voice of the original music. For instance, if we are playing a Whitney Houston song, we try to use soprano voiced instrument to match her voice. If we’re playing a song by Barry White, the music will be written for low brass and darker voice.
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