400 Strong

With 400-plus members, 10 drum majors and more than 100 years of zigzag formations and booty-shakin' tunes, Florida A&M University's Marching 100 continues to strut its excellence on the field. Watch here as the band performs K.P. and Envyi's "Swing My Way" and Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" at 2010's Honda Battle of the Bands. At President Obama's 2009 inauguration parade, the band members tooted their horns and strutted their stuff to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder.


 Captions by Erin E. Evans

Hide Yo' Flutes, Hide Yo' Cymbals

Antoine Dodson was one of the biggest media stories of 2010. He was on TV, the Web and, with help from the Gregory Brothers, even the radio. And thanks to North Carolina A&T State University's Blue and Gold Marching Machine, we have a musical arrangement with a few tubas, trumpets and saxophones blasting the melody on the gridiron.

Postracial Performances


Nothing sums up this video better than the commentary on the clip itself: "Are you serious? Justin Bieber in the SWAC, y'all!" The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band embraces the swoop-bang-coiffed teen heartthrob as it plays the Biebs' "Baby."

Howard at Howard


Remember on Drumline when J. Anthony Brown's band had Petey Pablo come out and perform? It seemed pretty cool to have a celebrity perform with a marching band in a football stadium, right? Well, that concept didn't fare so well for Howard in 2008. We're not talking about the Howard University Showtime Marching Band as much as we are Terrence Howard and his performance on the field. Maybe he should stick to playing guitars over his shoulder in smaller venues?

Head of the Band


What is a band without its high-kicking, back-bending, tall-fur-hat-wearing drum majors? Check out these videos of some of the most talented HBCU drum majors across the nation: a trailer for a documentary on the lives of FAMU's 10 drum majors, and this clip of Jackson State University's Sonic Boom of the South exiting the field in 2004 behind its high-steppin' drum majors.

Gridiron Breakdown


At the Battle of the Bands last fall in Columbia, S.C., South Carolina State University's Marching 101 Band played Ne-Yo's "Champagne Life," then slowed it down to the Jackson 5/Troop's "All I Do Is Think of You." Next, the band ups the tempo quite a bit to Juvenile's "Back That Thang Up." And yes, the whole band gets loose. Booty-shakin' interlude? A must-have on the 50-yard line.

Battle of the HUs


Which is the real HU? Howard University? Hampton University? Watch out, because this debate can get real ugly real fast. So here, we pit band against band: the Howard University Showtime Marching Band playing "All I Do Is Think of You" versus the Hampton University Marching Force playing DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win." Who does it better?

Southern Musicality


There's something special about marching bands in the South. They're big, they're loud and they'll never leave the field without taking a few beats to put down their instruments and break it all the way down to the Astroturf. At the 2009 Bayou Classic in Houston, in front of a full stadium, Southern University's Human Jukebox marched in some intricate formations before getting down to Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love." Halftime is, indeed, game time.

Boom Dynamite


There's nothing like a band performing your favorite throwback hit. So when the Sonic Boom of the South from Jackson State belted out Ghost Town DJ's "My Boo," we can only imagine the vibe in the stadium. But this video also stands out for two other reasons: the band's jazzy formations and the Prancing J-Settes' dance routine to Beyoncé's "Why Don't You Love Me."

Let Me Hold That Beat


Some folks might call the drum line the most important part of the band. If the conductor and the drum line aren't in sync, well, there goes the rest of the band. In this clip, Prairie View A&M University's Marching Storm gives its drum line a chance to shine. (Who would have thought you could dance and do flips over bass drums?) But where the real fun begins is often off the field. Watch as Southern University and Tennessee State University duke it out in a drum-line battle reminiscent of 2002's Drumline with Nick Cannon.

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