2017 HONDA BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Breakdown & Analysis

screenshot_2017-01-30-11-42-39-1.jpgSo here we are… 8 of the “best” black college bands from around the nation have converged on Atlanta Georgia for two big reasons: 1. A $20,000.00 check from The Honda Corporation. (Yeah, that’s important) and 2. The highly coveted “In your face!” moment that only one band will get to ascend to and experience. Yes, that coveted moment in time when every other band bows down to “The Kings of the Craft” as deemed by the Georgia Dome audience, a celebrity DJ, and a Japanese car maker… I don’t know why the band Gods made Atlanta, Georgia the epicentre of black college bands (well, yes I do, but that’s another topic…) but here we are sitting snugly in our tightly arranged seats for what is sure to be the last Honda Battle Of The Bands in the Georgia Dome…*tear*.

In this post, my goal is to help you gather some insight and clarity from each performance so that you can make your own decisions about each band, however, I will be sharing my opinion as well. My opinions are not incontestable and yours aren’t either. Through my comments, which are mostly fact based observations, it is my hope that the average fan will develop an “ear” for great musicianship and an “eye” for precision which will raise the bar across the band world. No longer will the fan be relegated to comments like “So & So University was the best cause they were cranking!” or “This College came out on top because they got the most “house” when that big girl did that skateboard trick!”. Our readers will be informed commentators, critics, and reviewers of band performances. They will come to understand fundamental music standards and how to apply them to varying styles and approaches to music. With that being said… Let’s get it!…

RANKINGS – Click links below for in depth analysis of each band’s performance!

SCORING RUBRIC: ( 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0)

MUSIC EFFECTIVENESS [tone, intonation, attacks & releases, dynamic contrast ] (4pts)

MARCHING [military bearing, intervals, horn angles, drill difficulty] (3pts)

GENERAL EFFECT – [creativity, usage of auxilaries, crowd response] (3pts)

1st – BETHUNE-COOKMAN UNIV. SCORE = 9.5 (out of 10)

2nd – ALABAMA A&M UNIV. SCORE = 9.0 (out of 10)

3rd – ALCORN STATE UNIV. SCORE = 8.5 (out of 10)

4th – NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIV. SCORE = 8.0 (out of 10)

5th – TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIV. SCORE = 7.0 (out of 10)

6th – BENEDICT COLLEGE SCORE = 6.5 (out of 10)

7th – ALABAMA STATE UNIV. SCORE = 5.5 (out of 10)

8th –  WINSTON SALEM STATE UNIV. SCORE = 4.0 (out of 10)

Published by Ernest Stackhouse

-Music Educator -Marching Band Show Design -Musical Arranger -Adjudicator -Fine Arts Administrator -Band Director -Writer

25 thoughts on “2017 HONDA BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Breakdown & Analysis

  1. Stackhouse I concur with your assessment of each band. BCU always has a solid performance all around that does not rely on gimmicks like A and T. I would love for Honda to host the clash of the Titans which would include Jackson State, BCU, FAMU, & SU this battle would be epic

  2. I didn’t go but my band went. I was on the way back from family vacation. They were the most impressed with ‘Ocean’ lol. That’s all they could remember. So far I’ve seen videos of BC, BCU, A&T, and AAMU. I can’t agree with your GE score. A&T should be higher than BCU and I’m an Aggie-Pride died guy. I’m from JCSU and work with NCCU lol. Yes they do the most but they take time in planning a well executed show.

    1. Thanks for the follow and the comment! A&T’s GE score wasn’t what placed them in 4th… However the GE was a contributing factor along with a combination of small things that added up (performance based issues I noted in the detailed analysis) from other captions. You watched it and came to your conclusion. I along with many in the dome that day, came to a different conclusion. The theme within a theme was too much for Atl and resulted in confusion (from an audience member’s perspective) throughout their performance. I think that A&M and Alcorn had a better (and more consistent) sound throughout their performance.

  3. Loved your rubric breakdown on the bands. I’ve been a music Instructor for over 20 years and I always hear these comments about a band’s performance that had nothing to do with the the musicality or even showmanship but about some gimmick. It’s good to see someone who appreciates a band’s performance for musicianship.

    1. Thank you. It is my goal to comment in this way in hopes it will educate our audiences which will then raise the bar for our bands…. baby steps… Lol Thanks for the follow and thank you for your 20 years of service in music education!

      1. When we look at the Facts everyone that was there knows that A&T was the most Creative, Entertaining, Excellent tone and dynamics. At that the end of the Battle they were the most talked about. A winner is not decided by who can be the most robotic or who can keep playing the same ballad over and over until its perfect. Its about who gave the crowd what they wanted. I appreciate your analysis but it is skewed, I see you have a few things listed.. But your scores dont add up … especially when you consider Creativity, Originality, and Drill Difficulty (which doesn’t really count when your playing the same songs and repeating a previous drill.) The multiple components in their such as the drum feature that got Major response … The ballad touched multiple souls as the stood people stood after. Those who attended know who was really the most Outstanding!

      2. Thanks for the follow and comments!
        A few things: 1. Music was the most weighted caption. If you read my full analysis (I assume you have) I cited the musical errors that I observed. I won’t go into detail here, but re-read if necessary. 2. Yes, their presentation was “creative” but I touched on why I thought the “General Effect” of it all was lost and how song selection did not positively contribute to the overall presentation. 3. The ballad was the high point of the show! I loved it! Arrangement was good and the band played it well…for the most part. However there were other selections that were not written as well and were executed poorly.

        For years we judge our bands just as you describe. What people are talking about as they leave. My analysis is an informal step in the direction of actually judging our bands based off of national performance standards. You are right in your assessment as a fan. But so was I, as an educator.

      3. Musical errors? I was there I didn’t witness a mass bricking of notes and if your were totally honest … there’s was also a Clear difference in the level of difficultly in A&Ts arrangements versus some bands you have listed above A&T that’s if you really want want to get technical about your Musical Effectiveness score… the video’s will prove that . Their presentation wasn’t just “creative”it was the MOST creative and original which is all why General Effect was Not Lost at all. This isn’t coming from just a fan of bands this is also coming from a Musician.

      4. I thought their show was creative in the sense of: usage of props and that there was actually a theme. (Although I liked TXSU’s theme better….) Alabama A&M had a MUCH higher level of difficulty in music and sounded better. If this was a judged event. A&T would have gotten Best Auxiliary hands down. Best horn line (highest music score) would have went to BCU or A&M. Do you agree?

      5. The creativity went beyond props and theme, from auxilary, to drumline, tonal dynamics. And Honestly the Bad Boy theme makes more since MUSICALLY than the theme of a Show A Different World. If it had not been said by their announcer no one would have known, besides the singer who overpowered the band in the Ballad. A&M sounded good on the field, however The song selection wasn’t better … and when it comes to the level of technicality … PYT has been played since high school… in my your analysis thats not difficult.. Of course BCU also sounded good on the field, I’ve either heard or seen that show before… which is why I cant give them best horn line. You should be bringing something different by now.

        Based on
        Best Musical Selection (including technicality, dynamics, originality) 8 points
        Precision (Marching Formations, Transitions) 7 points
        Field Presence (WOW Factor, Auxilary, Drumline) 6 points

        The Rankings
        1 NC A&T
        2 BCU
        4. AAMU
        3. Alcorn
        5. TXSU
        5. ASU
        7. BENEDICT
        8. WSSU

  4. Yea …. I certainly disagree. A&T was the best band there by far. Hell there entertainment value all by itself puts them on a different level. I have yet to see one band entertain like them. I know that In my section where I was seated they just got a lot of students interested in that program now. Everyone said “damnnnnnn” didn’t know they would smash everyone that hard.

    1. Thanks for the follow and comment!… I think A&T was definitely entertaining. Probably one of the most entertaining of the day. However, I didn’t like a few things in their show mainly song selection and some of the arrangements were uncharacteristically “questionable”. I LOVED the ballad which was the high light in my opinion.

Leave a Reply to JayCancel reply

%d bloggers like this: