LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — HBCU Week brought a new main event to Main Street as some of the best HBCU bands in the country paraded their stuff at the Magic Kingdom.
Sarah Banner made sure to get a front row look.
“I got a 6 a.m. flight this morning,” said Banner, who is from North Carolina.
It was important to be there so she could witness something she never thought she would see: her daughter marching down Main Street as part of the band with North Carolina A&T University.
“For her to perform in a parade here, she was so overwhelmed,” Banner said.
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Other band parents reveled in the moment.
“We always bring it with us. Every time, on every stage, everywhere, on every field,” said Trina Mays-Barton, whose son is in the band.
North Carolina A&T performed with Winston-Salem State University on Saturday afternoon.
Marching bands from Delaware State University and Alcorn State University performed in the evening. It is part of the celebration of the first time that Walt Disney World Resort has hosted HBCU week.
The original event started in Delaware in 2017. This year, Disney welcomed the event, which includes a college fair, as part of its Disney on the Yard initiative.
“We’ve never had as much recognition as we do now, so it’s a great opportunity to be here,” said Ariah Pendleton, member of the Alcorn State University Marching Band.
It’s not the first time HBCU bands have performed at Disney World, but the partnership with HBCU Week helps usher in a new era of presenting HBCUs.
“Most African Americans who graduate from college have an HBCU degree,” said Avis Lewis, vice president of Disney on The Yard and an HBCU alumnus.
Jarius Martin had already planned a trip to Disney World with his family. Finding out it wasn’t HBCU week was a pleasant surprise.
“He sees Black Excellence,” Martin said of his son witnessing the HBCU bands.
April Williams brought her two great-nieces to see the performance.
“I just wanted them to come and see how important it is to join an HBCU,” she said.
The performance was a treat for all Disney visitors, including those not affiliated with an HBCU.
“I love the unity of all the schools that come here and celebrate with the Disney magic,” said Hugo SanMartin after watching the parade with his family.
With Drum Major Mickey at the helm, the kids in the crowd watching the bands were allowed to dream big.
“Seeing that makes me want to try harder,” said Kelia Cannon, who plays trumpet in her high school band.
“Do you think you’ll perform here one day?” we asked.
She simply replied with a confident smile and a “Yes Ma’am!”
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https://abc13.com/hbcu-week-disney-2022-magic-kingdom-college-marching-bands/12306425/ HBCU Week Disney 2022: Bands bring the bass to Magic Kingdom