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The Marching Maroon & White Band


AAMUBand (2)Currently directed by alumnus Carlton Wright, the Alabama A&M University Band program has been in existence since 1890. The progress of the program has been maintained by an outstanding team of notable musicians and teachers. Among these are: William Grant Still, Sr., father of the renowned American composer; William C. (W.C.) Handy, known as the “Father of the Blues”; Wade Hammonds, the first African American to be appointed as Chief Musician (Band Master in the United States Army); Thomas Dawson, retired band director; James Wilson, band director, Wilmington, Del.; Barney Smart, Sr., director of bands, Hampton University (Va.); and Arthur B. Wesley.
The Band Program includes the Alabama A&M University “Marching Maroon & White” Band, Concert Band, Wind Symphony, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble and the Brass Ensemble.  The “Marching Maroon & White” Band is a musical show unit that is organized during the fall football season. Membership is open to all qualified students enrolled at the University, regardless of their major field.
The “Marching Maroon & White” Band has revived an outstanding sense of pride in the University through the student body, faculty, community, alumni and general public. This outstanding musical aggregation on November 27, 1983, provided the half-time entertainment at Fulton County Stadium for the Atlanta Falcons and Greenbay Packers game, which was televised nationally by CBS.
On January 15, 1990, in Atlanta, Ga., the Alabama A&M University “Marching Maroon & White” Band was the lead organization for the Parade and “March of Celebration” that saluted the 61st Anniversary and Fifth National Holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was the first time that the birthday anniversary of Dr. King and the National Holiday occurred on the same date, which made the 61st birthday celebration a very special day. The parade was televised live by the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), and was viewed by 1.8 million people.
Commendations for the “Marching Maroon & White” continued throughout the banner year of 1991. A poll conducted by Sports Illustrated magazine concluded that the “Marching Maroon & White” Band was one of the Top Ten marching bands in the United States among African American Colleges and Universities. The Band also participated in the Atlanta “Bronze Classic” Collegiate Band Competition and was declared the winner for “Best Drill Design.”
During 1996, the “Marching Maroon & White” Band was the opening act for the Olympic Soccer Games in Birmingham, Ala.
The Band was invited to represent the state of Alabama in the National Independence Day Parade sponsored by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service on July 4, 1998, in Washington, D.C.  The “Marching Maroon & White” Band can be heard on the CD by Lucy Pearl (“Lucy Pearl Tells”), the remix of their big hit “Dance Tonight,” #15). The Band has also starred in a documentary film called “Take the Field” directed by Robert Dawson (2000).
In January 2006, the Band led the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.