VSU Marching Band named top divisional band by ESPN
Free Press staff report | 12/1/2023, 3:15 a.m.
Virginia State University’s Trojan Explosion Marching Band has been named the top Division II HBCU band in the country in 2023, according to ESPN the university has announced.
The band next will compete against Florida Memorial for the title of HBCU Band of the Year in the Division II/NAIA category on Dec. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The performance will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus at 6 p.m.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as one of the best HBCU bands in the country,” said Dr. Taylor Whitehead, VSU director of marching and pep bands. “The band has worked incredibly hard and has had some amazing performances over the past year. When we take the stage at ESPN’s first Band of the Year competition, it will be a great opportunity for our students to show the whole country that ‘Greater Happens at VSU.’”
The Trojan Explosion Marching Band was selected after finishing in the top two of ESPN’s Band of the Year rankings.
VSU ranked third on the first list released in September and then climbed to the No. 2 spot on the final list released in November.
Only the top two bands in the Division I and Division II/NAIA categories were invited to the competition.
Important band components such as auxiliaries, drum majors, musicality, percussion, and drill/marching/maneuvering were used to select the finalists. Judges scored individual performances based on these specified areas.
At different points, VSU ranked first in the nation in drum majors, auxiliary, and percussion.
“We could not be prouder of our band and our Department of Music for this outstanding achievement,” said Dr. Tia A. Minnis, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “These students have continued to show off their remarkable talent, not just as musicians but as academic scholars as well. They will have the support of the entire Trojan community when they take the stage in Atlanta.”