“Battle of the Bands” crowns the first-ever HBCU week at Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The anticipation alone had fans dancing as they entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

“It’s really all about the culture,” explained Ashley Springs, whose son is a member of the North Carolina A&T band.

Anyone who knows HBCU bands knows they are the real show on game day.

As HBCU fan Felicia Smith describes, halftime is not the time for fans to leave their seats at an HBCU football game.

“They’re in the stands,” Smith said. “They watch. They cheer. They roar!”

So what happened Sunday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was an HBCU band fan’s dream come true.

SEE ALSO: Dream Come True: Onsite Scholarships Offered During HBCU Week at Walt Disney World

The marching bands of Delaware State University, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State University competed in a Battle of the Bands.

“I’m so happy Disney opened it up to HBCUs to get the attention,” said parent Cardona Lewis.

It was a memorable moment when Disney hosted HBCU Week for the first time. The event, which began in Wilmington, Delaware in 2017, included a careers fair, a parade down Main Street and a Battle of the Bands.

“I’m so grateful to see Disney embracing culture,” Rachel Wesley said as she got ready to head to the stadium.

As good as the music was at Battle of the Bands, it wasn’t just about the show.

For some kids, HBCU week has been a life-changing experience.

“I’ve decided I want to go to an HBCU,” said high school senior Kemauri Young.

SEE ALSO: HBCU Week Disney 2022: Bands bring the bass to Magic Kingdom

Felicia Smith brought several of her students to Friday’s careers fair, which featured on-site admissions and scholarships. It had 8,657 student participants.

“This was their first experience with HBCUs, it was amazing. Four of them got admitted to Alcorn State,” Smith said.

Tracee Davis founded a dance school focused on teaching girls HBCU dance styles. Some of their students are now attending HBCUs as well. Some were even on the field for Sunday’s Battle of the Bands.

Her choice of school isn’t just for the academics, but for the culture—with HBCUs offering an atmosphere like no other.

“Historically, black colleges and universities have really provided a supportive culture, a supportive environment to ensure students thrive,” said Tunisia Agramonte, who is vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for Disney’s DPEP program.

With that in mind, it doesn’t matter who wins the Battle of the Bands…does it?

“It doesn’t, but it kind of comes for the bands,” said a Howard University graduate in the stands.

After all, what’s an HBCU band without a good fight?

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https://abc13.com/hbcu-week-historically-black-college-and-university-walt-disney-world-resort-espn-wide-of-sports-complex/12309119/ “Battle of the Bands” crowns the first-ever HBCU week at Walt Disney World Resort

Russell Falcon

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