There is a universal sentiment among marching bands, and that is an overwhelming love for the art and craft of music, stage, sound, and pageantry. Few schools embody this spirit as well as Jackson State University’s marching band, the Sonic Boom of the South. Established in the 1940s, this venerable cadre of musicians and performers continues to push the boundaries of the craft into further realms of excellence year in, year out. But, as far as they’re concerned, the best is yet to come and they’re only just getting started.
The first thing that might strike the outside observer is just how busy the Sonic Boom of the South is! To start, they’re not just a collegiate marching band – though their halftime shows are second to none and a crowd-pleasing favorite every single time – but also the Sonic Boom is an NFL favorite in addition to television superstars. Performing for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, and Cincinnati Bengals, the Sonic Boom also put in a spectacular appearance at the Motown 30th Anniversary as well as the NAACP’s Image Awards. Joined by none other than Cedric the Entertainer, the Jackson State University marching band gilded the night with golden sound and energetic performance.
And now the venerable Sonic Boom is echoing out all across the nation, calling to high school marching bands far and wide to come to join a battle of the bands on their venerable field. The Inaugural High School Battle of the Bands promises to be a competition unlike any other and sure to meet all of the high and exacting standards established by the hosting Sonic Boom of the South.
While all marching bands are encouraged to apply to the first-ever competition of this type held by the Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, only eight bands will be selected as final competitors. Given how wide the net is, but how selective the judging will be, audiences can expect nothing less than the best, and applicants better be prepared to offer that much and then some. Application is encouraged on their website and band directors should submit relevant materials prior to the deadline of July 15.
To keep the mix competitive, diverse, and inclusive, the Jackson State University marching band will select a set number of performing bands from one of three tiers corresponding to the size of the band. Two bands will be chosen between the 1-50 range, while three will come from the 51-80 range and the other three from the 80 plus bracket.
There will be awards for each size bracket as well as the opportunity to perform in the stands and to a full crowd at Jackson State University’s stadium and a wealth of exposure for promoting the arts and band performance in the bands’ respective communities. While the pressure will no doubt be intense for those bands officially selected to compete, there’s little doubt that those chosen will represent the best of the best that marching bands have to offer and the honor of recognition by none other than the Sonic Boom of the South will only underscore that notion.