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 drum major Ja’Vonta Price spoke with rolling out about the preparation leading up to and performing at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
What was the preparation like leading up to this performance?
It’s been hectic. We knew what we had to do coming in, and we have to follow up. People know we’re going to have a good show, so we have to make sure we live up to the expectations. It’s been a lot of hard work. It’s been long days, and it’s been frustrating as well. Overall, we got the job done, and now the band members see how important it is to successfully prepare.
The best part was seeing the band load the bus, knowing what we had to do coming down to Atlanta. Just to see the faces of them loading their bags and instruments, and them knowing that we had to come here and put in some work was probably one of the biggest moments that I’ve had.
What’s special about attending an HBCU?
There are so many special moments I can choose from, but I think the band is the most special. I feel like I’m a celebrity when I come into stadiums. It’s a blessing for me to be here. I think that’s probably the biggest part of being in the band. That’s the best part about being on stage. Often times our band director says we’re the ambassadors of the university, so people look up to us, and when they hear Alabama State University, they think of the band. That’s probably the best part. I’m making lifelong friendships that I know when I turn 50, I’ll still have. You make connections being in the band or if it’s football, basketball or soccer, you’re always going to have this group of people that you can consider reliable.