Nov 16, 2022 - News

TSU's historic Grammy moment

Album art for the TSU marching band. Photo: Garrett Morris/courtesy of TSU

Tennessee State University made history Tuesday when its famed marching band secured its first-ever Grammy nomination.

  • "The Urban Hymnal" from the TSU Aristocrat of Bands was one of five nominees in the best roots gospel album category.

Why it matters: The recognition elevates one of Nashville's most cherished musical institutions.

What they're saying: "This is a tremendous day in the history of our beloved Tennessee State University," TSU band director Reginald McDonald said in a statement.

  • "This is not just a band accolade, but a university-wide accomplishment," McDonald added. He praised TSU president Glenda Glover, in particular, for her vision.

State of play: The AOB's live performances have become a mainstay at parades and halftime shows. They blend high energy and theatricality with impeccable musicianship to electric effect.

  • Band leaders hoped capturing that essence in an album would boost fundraising and open a new level of possibilities for the student musicians.

Zoom in: The album celebrates two prongs of African American musical tradition: gospel and marching bands at historically Black colleges and universities.

  • Each track finds the band adapting to different styles, as guest artists deliver stunning vocals and spoken word passages.

🔊 Listen: The album has a celebratory mood that seems tailor-made for this triumphant Grammy moment.

  • Check out "Dance Revival" and "FLY" for a preview of the joyful, genre-bending project.

Flashback: TSU isn't the first Nashville university recognized in this category. Fisk University's Jubilee Singers won best roots gospel album in 2021.

What's next: The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 7pm CT.


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