Florida A & M University
They might be called the “Marching 100,” but FAMU’s marching band is one the biggest in the country - 400 members strong. According to the Miami Herald, FAMU’s band is “the marchinest, playingest, band in the land.” Just like Howard U, FAMU also performed for President Obama, as well as former President Bill Clinton.
“The Human Jukebox” may have lost their beloved composer, Carnell Knighten last year, but rest assured his work has inspired many students over the years and will continue to do so. Besides being featured in several films by Spike Lee, SU is consistently asked to play at NFL games, most recently at the Superdome for the Superbowl.
Clark Atlanta University
Speaking of Drumline, Clark is where that movie was set. “The Mighty Marching Panther” band have participated in the Honda Battle of the Bands for all four years it has run.
North Carolina Central University
In 2011, “the Marching Sound Machine” were asked to participate in Pasadena, California’s Rose Bowl Parade and are known for the NCCU Fight Song, the Fighting Eagles.
Prairie View A & M University
Despite their football team suffering for 11 years between 1989–1998, losing 80 games straight, “the Marching Storm and Prairie’s cheerleaders, the Black Foxes proudly did all they could to ignite a fire for their Panthers. The squad has played for Bush II, as well alongside the Blackeyed Peas and Usher for the Superbowl 45 halftime show.
“We are the Marching Crimson Piper…and we are the best band in the land,” cries the Tuskegee University band at every game and battle of the bands they take part in. It’s hard to deny them their claim when they have played at many events at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Georgia Dome, the Mardi Gras parade in Alabama, not to mention being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
About 170 students spread across the various aspects of a marching band comprise Virginia State’s “Trojan Explosion” – the Essence of Troy Dancers, Satin Diva Flag Corps, the Troy Elegance Majorettes, and the Woo Woo cheerleaders join the many instrumentalists in rooting on the various Trojan sports teams.
Grambling State University
The Grambling Tigers Marching Band has as much of an illustrious history as any other marching band on this list. Sports Illustrated magazine voted their performance at the very first Superbowl halftime show as one of the top ten halftime performances. Years later in 1999, then–President Clinton broke out his trusty sax and joined the Tigers for their own halftime show.
The Pride of the Marching Wildcats are 325 members strong and like many other HBCU marching bands, have performed for presidential inaugurations and at Super Bowls, most recently in 2009.