Aristocrat of Bands
- 1 History
- 2 Historical Accomplishments
- 3 List of Accomplishments
- 4 Band Staff
- 5 Marching Style
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The band emerged from the Jazz Collegians of Tennessee State University, and was requested by Tennessee State University's president Walter Davis as support for athletics. In 1946, J.D. Chavis started the organization with 100 pieces after some weeks of practices. Originally titled as "the Marching 100" the name "Aristocrat of Bands" was given by a sportscaster at an NFL game.
In 1955, the band was the first historically black college or university band to appear on national television with their performance at the Chicago Bears versus Los Angeles Rams NFL game. In 1961, they performed for the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy making them the first historically black college or university to perform at a presidential inauguration. The band has been invited and performed in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. The band was featured in the inaugural Honda Battle of the Bands, held in Atlanta. The band was also named in 2002 the official band of the Tennessee Titans, making them the first HBCU to be named as an official band for an NFL team.
List of Accomplishments
Nationally televised professional football half-time shows performed (parital list)
1955-NBC: Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams in Chicago
1956-CBS: Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants in Cleveland
1960-CBS/NBC: Baltimore Colts vs. Green Bay Packers in Baltimore
1963-NBC: NFL Championship Game - Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants in Chicago
1968-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland Raiders in Cincinnati
1969-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets in Cincinnati
1970-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns in Cincinnati
1971-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns in Cincinnati
1973-CBS: Atlanta Falcons vs. St. Louis Cardinals in Atlanta
1978-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots in Cincinnati
1993-NBC: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns in Cincinnati
1998-CBS: Tennessee Oilers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers in Nashville
2000-CBS: Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants in Nashville
2001-ESPN: Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins in Nashville
2002-FOX: Tennessee Titans vs. Washington Redskins in Nashville
2003: Tennessee Titans
2004: Tennessee Titans
2005: Tennessee Titans
2006: Tennessee Titans
2007: Tennessee Titans
2008: Tennessee Titans
2009: Tennessee Titans
Chronicle of notable performances (partial list)
1955: First HBCU band to appear on national television.
1961: First HBCU band to march in a presidential inaugural parade.
1961: Performed in the Presidential Inaugural Parade of John F. Kennedy.
1981: Appeared in the CBS television movie The Concrete Cowboy.
1982: Appeared in a Hello Nashville Commercial for NBC affiliate WSMV.
1982: Featured ensemble at the College Band Directors’ National Association Regional Conference in Nashville.
1983: Featured ensemble at the College Band Directors’ National Association national meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
1983: Featured in WSMV Nashville Channel 4 News Special Report
1984: Mirage Bowl Football Game, Tokyo, Japan.
1984: Featured ensemble at the Music Educators’ National Conference, national meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
1984: Invited to tour Nigeria by the United States Information Agency.
1992: Featured at the Memphis In May Tattoo Festival
1993: Performed in the Presidential Inaugural Parade of Bill Clinton.
1993: Appeared on CBS television The Morning Show from Washington, DC
1993: Appeared on Good Morning Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
1993: Featured in WSMV Nashville Channel 4 News Special Report
1994: Public television special “Rain Doesn’t Fall on the Aristocrat of Bands”
1996: Appeared in Marty Stuart music video Magic Town
1997: Performed in the Presidential Inaugural Parade of Bill Clinton.
1997: Appeared on ABC television Good Morning America
1997: Featured in Nashville News Channel 5 Special Report
2000: Performed for the CBS All American Happy Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2002: Featured performer at the 58th National Biennial In-Service Conference of the Music Educators National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
2003: Selected to represent Tennessee at the American Celebration of Music in China.
2003: Invited as one of ten bands to perform at the Inaugural Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia.
2003: Named official spirit band of the Tennessee Titans NFL franchise.
2004: Invited to perform and named top vote getter at the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia.
2005: Invited as one of ten bands to perform at the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia.
2005: Performed with country music artists Big and Rich on the CMT Music Awards.
2006: Performed with the Nashville Symphony in Porgy & Bess.
2006: Featured performer at the 2nd HBCU National Band Directors Consortium Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
2006: Appeared on ABC television Good Morning America. 
2016: Played on the lawn of the White House for the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. While at the event, the band had a meet and greet session with President Obama 
Director of Bands
The Aristocrat of Bands full-time bandmasters to hold the title "Director of Bands":
Prof. Jordan D. Chavis 1946-1951
Prof. Frank T. Greer 1951-1972
Prof. Clifford Watkins 1972-1979
Prof. Edward L. Graves 1979–2014
Dr. Reginald A. McDonald (Acting Director of Bands) 2012–2014
Dr. Reginald A. McDonald 2014–present
Associate Directors of Band
Prof. Benjamin I. Kirk 1982-1997
Dr. Kevin Davenport 1997-2001
Dr. Reginald A. McDonald 2001–2014
Assistant Directors of Band
Prof. Thomas L. Davis
Prof. James L. Sexton (Current Arranger and Director of the Jazz Collegians)
Dr. Sean Daniels
Prof. Larry Jenkins
Proper Titles of Directors
All Band Directors are addressed with a title. Members of the band may use "Prof", short for Professor, and their last name (e.g. "Prof" Graves or "Prof" Sexton) or if they hold a terminal degree, by the title of "Doc" informally or Doctor and their last name formally (e.g. Doctor Prof Mac). Just like the United States Military, every response to a band director or anyone in charge is ended with "sir" or "ma'am".
Auxiliary and Office Staff
Ms. Laverne Brown- Sophisticated Ladies Coordinator
Ms. Michelle Allen- Office Manager / Royal Elegance Flag Corp Coordinator
Mrs. Melva Townsend- Secretary
Mr. James Pitts- Instrument Technician
The band marches in the traditional high-stepping style incorporating Classical, Jazz, Contemporary, and Popular repertoire in its performances. The band is led by four drum majors known as the "Fantastic Four" and is accompanied by The Sophisticated Ladies dance team.
- "Happenings: Drumline 2006 At Finley Stadium Is Oct. 1". The Chattanoogan. Chattanooga, TN. 2006-09-18.
The list of assistant band directors contains a major error. The very first assistant band director was Mr. Anceo Melvino Francisco, a Masters Degree graduate of the University of Michigan. Prior to Mr. Francisco's appointment the band director Prof. Greer used graduate students as his assistants. The last one was Calvin Jones, a fantastic trombonist from Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Francisco changed the band's marching style from the six to five military strides that were quite popular with the majority of southern bands to the eight to five short high steps that were characteristic of the University of Michigan and other Big Ten marching bands. This change provided the more visually exciting marching style that helped establish the reputation of the country's HBCU's as the "Show Bands" of the Gridiron.
How do I know all this? I was a sophomore band student when Mr. Francisco was employed as the Tennessee State assistant band director. Surely such an important contribution to the HBCU culture deserves at least a mention somewhere on that band director's list. I will be looking for you to "do the right thing."