Noa Cadet | Staff Writer
Hampton University is known as the “Standard of Excellence.” With the start of the New Year, one program in particular has been given a special opportunity. Hampton University’s marching band has been presented with the chance to travel to Rome, Italy, to participate in the city’s 2020 New Year’s Day Parade.
So how did this happen? Dr. Thomas Jones, Hampton’s marching band director, sent in an application, requesting a spot in Rome’s New Year’s Day Parade. But this opportunity isn’t just for anyone.
According to Jones, the application process involved sharing the band’s resume with the parade officials in charge of this event; it was important for the resume to detail noteworthy past performances and to make a case as to why the HU band deserves to perform in the parade.
If one looks at what the band has been up to these past few years, it’s easy to see why the Marching Force was ultimately chosen for Rome’s parade.
From performing in President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade in 2009, to performing in Honda’s “Battle of the Bands” event in 2018, the Marching Force has proven time and time again that they have outstanding talent.
According to Jones, this trip exemplifies the entire mission of Hampton; it not only reflects the excellence of the band, but of the school itself and of every individual student who attends.
With such a rare opportunity swiftly approaching, it’s no surprise that band students across the university are excited and can’t wait for this chance to show true HBCU pride.
“Being in an HBCU band already has so many benefits,” said band member Robert Jacobs, a Hampton University freshman. “Going to Rome is a positive thing for the community, and it shines a spotlight on the university. Having such an opportunity, especially after freshly coming into band, it’s exciting.”
Jeremiah Dario Encarnacion, another band member and freshman, added, “The most exciting part is being a part of something greater than myself. Being in this band has been a phenomenal experience…. I can’t wait to uphold the standard of excellence in Rome.”
The Marching Force is currently accepting donations for its fundraisers on the band website, Humarchingforce.com/donate.