Alcorn State Band Marches In Tupelo

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – One of the most storied university bands in the nation paraded in downtown Tupelo on Saturday.

WCBI’s Chad Groening was there and has more on the story.

Two buses pulled up to the parking lot of Tupelo’s historic Milam Elementary School and members of the Alcorn State University Dyn-O-Mite Band unloaded their instruments.

They gathered in the parking lot to practice before their march through Tupelo.

Tupelo Councilwoman Nettie Davis’s late husband was an alumni of Alcorn State.

“I’m a strong supporter. I’m a member of the local alumni chapter, as an associate member, and I work hard to give support and help them in any way kind of way that I can. I worked hard this year extra hard because I know that’s what my husband wanted to do. He loved Alcorn and if he was living, I’d be right there by him helping him. ”

Milton Harvey is an assistant director of the Dyn-o-Mite band.

He says its unique sound has attracted audiences all around the country.

“You know we’ve done performances in New Orleans. We’ve gone to Indianapolis. We’ve been all over the nation and it’s all a team effort. It’s a family effort, you know, the kids work hard, the staff works hard, and once you have everyone on the same page, it’s magic.”

Sophomore Morgan Suggs of Tupelo, plays the clarinet and is the only band member who comes from northeast Mississippi.

He wanted to attend a historic black college.

“Being from Tupelo, we don’t know anything Alcorn State University, so we know about Mississippi State and Ole Miss and all that stuff, so it’s a good experience to, you know, branch out and learn about HBC and the black culture.”

Suggs says the ASU band is unique.

“The special is the tradition, like its loud. We do dance, we play all drummers of music.”

And with the ASU Alumni Convention in town, there was plenty of purple and gold lined up on Main Street to watch the band make its way through downtown.

It was very special for Suggs.

“Yes it is, because like I said before, we never had a HBCU band to come down here, so I’m proud to come back to my hometown and march.”

Davis hopes that more Tupelo students will choose Alcorn.

“By us being so far away, a lot of the Historical Black Colleges, I guess it’s of expensive and hard for them to come up in this area and by them having the alumni meeting here, the band director made a decision to allow them to come to expose them to the community and it’s really kind of a recruitment tool.”

“We’re a smaller school, so your class sizes are smaller, so you have a better relationship with the instructor. You’re not a number. You’re known by name and who you are.”

Alcorn is the nation’s first public Historically Black Land Grant Institution.



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