HBCUs band together to celebrate talent, raise scholarship funds

HBCUs band together to celebrate talent, raise scholarship funds

As Charlotte-based Webber Marketing and Consulting, LLC. (WMC) and Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) finalize updates surrounding the 2020 Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands, WMC officially launches its HBCUs Band Together scholarship initiative in an effort to continue supporting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) during the global pandemic. 

The event’s mission is to enhance the exposure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their marching bands and the roles they play in educating aspiring musicians and developing our future leaders. Event organizers have generated more than $500,000 in scholarships for the participating colleges and universities. www.nationalbattleofthebands.com

The scholarship initiative will include a fundraising campaign directly benefiting HBCU bands and students and will launch an NBOTB Virtual Battles Series this fall to provide support.

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HBCUs Band Together is an evergreen scholarship initiative designed to bring together those who love and seek to support HBCUs, HBCU marching bands and their band members during the COVID-19 crisis, while celebrating the talent, contribution and cultural impact of HBCU marching bands and the roles they play in educating aspiring musicians and developing future leaders. 

“With the impact of COVID-19 changing the landscape of sporting events and other major public gatherings where HBCU bands would be invited to perform and showcase their talents – HBCUs Band Together will focus on its immediate goals of raising aid for 250,000 COVID-19 test kits for all HBCU students for Fall 2020 and creating another source of funding to assist HBCU bands with scholarship dollars for its students and programs,” said Derek Webber, CEO of Webber Marketing & Consulting, LLC and creator of the National Battle of the Bands.  

Featuring images, performance clips, virtual conversations and PSAs from participating bands and avid supporters, the HBCUs Band Together scholarship initiative will call on all who celebrate the showmanship, hard work and dedication these students pour into being band members to make a donation, spread awareness and provide support to HBCU bands as they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and await signs that indicate a safe return to campus.

“A few months ago, it would have been impossible for anyone to foresee the challenges that HBCU band members along with their classmates will be facing when they return to school this fall. COVID-19 has thrown just about everyone for a loop, and our goal is to make an otherwise challenging situation a bit safer and a little less stressful for these kids,” said Chris Massey, vice president of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority. “We want these students to focus on what’s important; we want them focused on their education and their music.”

Fans and alumni can show their support by making a donation at www.HBCUsBandTogether.org

In the fall, the NBOTB team will be rolling out their Virtual Battles Series, which will feature matchups between HBCU marching bands in an effort to bring the spirit and energy of those band programs into the homes of their fans, followers and supporters while social distancing measures are still in place due to the threat of COVID-19.

“With everything going on, including many of the HBCU homecomings being canceled, we wanted to create a virtual atmosphere that generates the feelings of homecoming in the homes of those who love and support these bands and the talented band members,” said Webber.

The NBOTB Virtual Battles will be offered online, allowing alumni and fans to watch and interact with their favorite bands' performances right from their laptop, tablet or mobile device. The series will be hosted on the NationalBattleoftheBands.com website.

“We’re pleased to once again serve as the title sponsor of the National Battle of the Bands for the second consecutive year,” said Jeff Sigel, vice president of marketing for Cracker Barrel. “We’re proud to be involved in the NBOTB for the past four years and remain deeply committed to participating HBCUs and the talented musicians and emerging leaders they produce. We look forward to seeing the Virtual Battle Series play out with all of the participating colleges and universities and appreciate the continued partnership with Webber Marketing and Harris County Houston Sports Authority.”

For more information about the NBOTB and its Virtual Battles Series, follow us on social media at @NationalBattleOfTheBands (Facebook/Instagram) / @NationalBOTB (Twitter) or visit the official home of the National Battle of the Bands at www.nationalbattleofthebands.com

For more information about HBCUs Band Together and how to make a donation, visit www.hbcusbandtogether.org and follow them on social media at @HBCUsBandTogether (Facebook/Instagram) / @HBCUsBand (Twitter).

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.