Alabama State band director James Oliver discusses MEAC/SWAC experience

James Oliver is the band director for Alabama State University
Alabama State band director James Oliver discusses MEAC/SWAC experience
Alabama State University band director James Oliver

Everybody loves a good football matchup between two HBCUs, but what gets the people going is the band performances during halftime. On Aug. 27, Alabama State University and Howard University played the longest MEAC/SWAC Challenge in series history, starting at 7:38 p.m. and ending at 1:18 a.m., which included three weather delays totaling two hours, but it was the battle of both bands that everyone was interested in.

Alabama State University band director James Oliver spoke with rolling out about the preparation for their performance at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.


Tell us about your MEAC/SWAC experience. 

When we found out that we were in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, it was a challenge for us because our season doesn’t start until the next week, so we had to sort of push things and put things in place, especially with the freshmen coming in and [still] learning [the routine]. We knew how big this game was, so we put the time in. We trained four hours a day and we did pre-drill camp, which was all day and half the night to get this together. That’s why we felt good about the show we did because we put the time in.


What was the best part about the experience?

The best thing about this experience is being exposed and getting the opportunity to let the world know who we are because of the platform ESPN gave us, so people can see who we are and what we do. That’s why we worked so hard to get everything together.

How can people support Alabama State University?

You can support [us] by donating on our website www.alabamastateuniversity.com. We use it for scholarships to get these kids in, so anytime you want to donate or give, that’s where you can go.

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