NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — We all have heard the saying “one band, one sound,” but once you hear this album, you’ll understand how one university is hoping to make history.
This weekend marks the end of a long road to the Grammys.
“The journey was tough but very very fulfilling in one of the most powerful moments I think that we all could have ever shared,” said Larry Jenkins, assistant director for the Tennessee State University (TSU) Aristocrat of Bands.
The TSU Aristocrat of Bands was the first collegiate band to receive a Grammy nomination for their ground-breaking gospel album, “The Urban Hymnal”.
“A timestamp that documents our roots in gospel music and culture as well, because gospel music goes beyond religion,” Jenkins said about the album. “A masterpiece, and I really think it touches a lot of people because it really just takes you through this span of time.”
Gospel music has had a history rooted in uniting communities and inspiring change. The university’s album features 10 tracks filled with the sounds created on TSU’s campus.
“It further sheds light on the type of educational experience we open up for our students,” said Derrick Greene, assistant director for the TSU Aristocrat of Bands, as he described the importance of this album originating from a Historically Black University.
It’s no secret that the sounds of TSU Aristocrat of Bands have become accustomed in Nashville, but now, the world gets a peek at something new.
“There’s a purpose behind every song, every note that was played. Everything was intentional. It will live far beyond us,” said Jenkins.
The nomination comes full circle during the celebration of Black History Month. This is a moment to share their culture.
“This represents the culture when I say solidify that we all can be proud of because this represents all of us. Look how many families are represented, how many families are proud of their students,” explained Jenkins. “So many people who look like us, who care about the culture that is a part of this album. So, forever this will be a Black History moment, just because it happened.”
The band celebrated its historic accomplishment on Sunday after their album, “The Urban Hymnal”, won Best Roots Gospel Album during the Grammy Awards.
Not only was the TSU Aristocrat of Bands the first college marching band to be nominated in this category, but also the first to win a Grammy, school officials said.
In addition, according to the university, TSU Aristocrat of Bands also won the Best Spoken Word Poetry Album category for “The Poet Who Sat By the Door”, which was a collaboration with spoken word artist J. Ivy.