The Florida A&M "Marching 100," which consists of almost 400 members, will be part of the Fifth Third Bank Battle of the Bands Showcase at halftime of the Detroit Football Classic. - Andre Smith photo
No, this isn’t the story of summer college football camp. It’s close, however. It is the routine of thousands of band members from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as they prepare for the upcoming football season, in which they will represent their schools at halftime during football games. Often referred to as the “real show,” these bands put on a high energy, foot stomping, crowd-pleasing show that keeps the crowd in their seats for what is usually called the intermission.
During Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 1 p.m., the Detroit Football Classic will bring together two historically Black universities – Florida A&M University and Delaware State University – to clash on the gridiron in the most-anticipated event of the college football season. No, not the football game, but the Fifth Third Bank Battle of the Bands Showcase halftime show. This year, the Florida A&M Rattlers will march against the Delaware State Hornets at Ford Field in one of the most compelling competitions in sport.
Like the universities themselves, marching bands from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are steeped in a tradition that includes high stepping, double-time marching and stylized showmanship to compliment the artistic talent of the young musicians. The precision and energy of the shows are a spectacle and a sight that won’t soon wash from the memory bank.
To add to the experience, fans can be involved by voting for their favorite performance by holding up Fifth Third Bank judges cards following the performances. The Fifth Third Bank Battle of the Bands Showcase at the Detroit Football Classic is an extraordinary afternoon of entertainment, tradition and community. New this year is a post-game concert with Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly.
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